Peer Review of Highly Influential Scientific Assessments

An Information Quality Bulletin of the Office of Management and Budget, dated December 16, 2004, and published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005 (pages 2664-2677), required federal agencies to conduct a “peer review” of “influential and highly influential scientific information,” as those terms are defined in the Bulletin, prior to dissemination to the public.

The Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), may constitute “influential scientific information,” under the terms of the Bulletin.

In accordance with the previously described guidelines, PD&R asked one urban planner who is an expert in assisted housing programs and markets (Dr. Kirk McClure), one ethnographer who is an expert in assisted housing (Dr. Susan Clampet-Lundquist), and one economist who is an expert in assisted housing markets (Dr. Edgar Olsen), to review the draft of the Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation Final Report.

PD&R asked the three peer reviewers to address the following concerns when reviewing the draft final report:

  1. Provide an assessment of the data and methodology used in this program evaluation, including identification of specific deficiencies of the methodology, if any.

  2. Provide an assessment of the primary and secondary data evaluated in this study and whether data are used appropriately to support the conclusions of the study.

  3. Review the conclusions drawn from the study results and determine if these results provide support for any policy directive.

The Abt Associates team made edits to the Final Report based on these peer review comments as well as other comments provided by HUD. The three peer review comments are listed on the following pages.

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