National Institutes of Health

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is "the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability."[1]

The NIH is composed of 27 institutes and centers.[2]

Extramural programs

The NIH extramural programs provide for grant support of research by investigators external to the NIH. In 2008, the amount of funding decreased.[3]


The NIH has been accused of reluctant to fund potentially impactful research such as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2 or erbB-2 receptor)[4]

Grant proposals submitted to the NIH have been found to contain inaccurate citations that may include:[5]

  • citation bias (preferentially citing positive articles over negative articles)
  • citation diversion ("citing of content but the altering of its meaning in a manner that diverts its implications")
  • citation amplification (citing of published review articles that make a relevant claim but "lack data addressing the claim"). The authors propose this can be avoided by citing only primary data when making claims which may result in "amplification minimal networks"
  • citation invention (through "mechanisms either deliberate or through scholarly negligence" cite articles that make no relevant statement).


  1. Anonymous. About NIH. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on 2008-02-05.
  2. Anonymous. Institutes, Offices & Centers. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on 2008-02-05.
  3. Dorsey ER, de Roulet J, Thompson JP, Reminick JI, Thai A, White-Stellato Z et al. (2010). "Funding of US biomedical research, 2003-2008.". JAMA 303 (2): 137-43. DOI:10.1001/jama.2009.1987. PMID 20068207. Research Blogging.
  4. Kolata G (June 27, 2009). Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe (English). New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-07-31. “One major impediment, scientists agree, is the grant system itself. It has become a sort of jobs program, a way to keep research laboratories going year after year with the understanding that the focus will be on small projects unlikely to take significant steps toward curing cancer...with too little money to finance most proposals, they are timid about taking chances on ones that might not succeed”
  5. Greenberg SA (2009). "How citation distortions create unfounded authority: analysis of a citation network". BMJ 339: b2680. PMID 19622839. Retrieved on 2009-07-31. [e]

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