I’ve just been asked to report on an application for a substantial grant from a rather wealthy grant-awarding body. “We will greatly value your expert opinion” etc. etc. Huh. I’m sure you will. Value it so much you aren’t offering a penny for what would be most of a day’s work to do properly.
I gave my usual six word response: “No proper fee, no proper report”.
Of course, if the proposal had been bang on topics that I currently am tolerably up to speed on and from someone whose work I already know well and admire, I’d no doubt have done the job (it would have been a very much quicker task, and might help keep up activity in areas I really care about). But then, if that’s other people’s policy too for selecting when they are prepared to write reports, grant awarding bodies are getting a pretty skewed set of views on proposals. I’d have thought they would have wanted reports written with a bit of distance. They should be prepared to pay decent fees to get them.