Thursday, October 30, 2014

University of Washington IRB Demanded Dangerous Consent Form

The recent Nature story on ethics consultancies includes an example of counterproductive interference by an intransigent IRB.

[Dolgin, Elie. “Human-Subjects Research: The Ethics Squad.” Nature 514, no. 7523 (October 21, 2014): 418–20. doi:10.1038/514418a.]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ethics Consultancies—A Non-Coercive Alternative to IRBs?

For some time, I've thought that the real problem with IRBs may be the coercive power granted to them. This relieves them of the need to make arguments strong enough to persuade researchers, and in some cases leads them instead to make demands based weak or even wrongheaded thinking.

This week, Nature reports on an alternative (or supplementary) model, the ethics consultancy.

[Dolgin, Elie. “Human-Subjects Research: The Ethics Squad.” Nature 514, no. 7523 (October 21, 2014): 418–20. doi:10.1038/514418a.]

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Briefly Noted: Whitney, Bell, Elliott

Lacking time for full comment, I briefly note the publication of these two important, critical essays. Citations omitted from the quoted passages.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Can't Ask That

The Washington Monthly's fall college issue features my essay on IRBs. Nothing that will surprise regular readers of this blog, but perhaps this will reach new readers.

[Schrag, Zachary M. “You Can’t Ask That.” Washington Monthly, September/October 2014.]

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bell: Ethnography Shouldn't Be Like Victorian Sex

Writing in American Anthropologist, Kirsten Bell argues that ethnography should not be seen as a violation to which an informant must consent, and "although the concept of informed consent has now been enshrined in the AAA Code of Ethics for more than 15 years, the reality is that it is not an appropriate standard with which to judge ethnographic fieldwork."

[Bell, Kirsten. "Resisting Commensurability: Against Informed Consent as an Anthropological Virtue." American Anthropologist, July 21, 2014, doi:10.1111/aman.12122.]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Most IRB Chairs Can't Recognize Exempt Research or Non-Research

A study of criminal justice researchers' knowledge of IRB rules has found that IRB chairs can't agree on what makes a project exempt from review and think that IRB review is needed for public records. The authors of the study, one of whom is an IRB chair, seem not to realize the significance of these findings.

[Tartaro, Christine, and Marissa P. Levy. "Criminal Justice Professionals' Knowledge of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and Compliance with IRB Protocol." Journal of Criminal Justice Education 25, no. 3 (2014): 321–41. doi:10.1080/10511253.2014.902982.]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

UCSD Frees Oral History and Journalism

The University of California, San Diego, has determined that most projects by historians and journalists need not be submitted to the IRB.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Book on Human Subjects Research Regulation

MIT Press has published Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future, eds. I. Glenn Cohen and Holly Fernandez Lynch.

The volume emerges from the May 2012 conference, "The Future of Human Subjects Regulation," sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. (See Against Armchair Ethics: Some Reflections from Petrie-Flom.)

My own contribution is a chapter entitled, "What Is This Thing Called Research?" I have a preliminary version online at SSRN.

Though published three years after the ANPRM, the book has hit print before an NPRM. Pity.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Reply to Maxine Robertson

In an essay in Research Ethics, Maxine Robertson, Professor of Innovation and Organisation at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), responds to my essay, "The case against ethics review in the social sciences," published in the same journal in 2011. I wish she had responded to more of the broader ethics-review critique and offered more details about ethics review at her own institution.

[Robertson, Maxine. “The Case for Ethics Review in the Social Sciences: Drawing from Practice at Queen Mary University of London.” Research Ethics 10, no. 2 (June 2014): 69–76. doi:10.1177/1747016113511177]