On April 13, I noted that the preliminary faculty list for this week's "Social, Behavioral, Educational Research Conference" included only one social researcher among twenty faculty. One of the conference's organizers, Jeffrey Cohen, replied that "the final list will have more social scientists." Well, the final list includes one more researcher: Steven Pennell, Survey Director, University of Michigan. Since the total list has been expanded to 33 faculty, this brings the representation of social researchers from five percent up to six percent. Many of the panels will feature no such representation at all.
The conference announcement asks, "Why is it often so difficult for IRBs and investigators to work together effectively when reviewing sophisticated, socially sensitive social/behavioral/educational research?" One answer might be PRIM&R's apparent belief that IRB administrators can learn to regulate research without hearing from researchers.