Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harvard Law Fellow Tweets PRIM&R SBER

Michelle Meyer, an academic fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, Harvard Law School, is live tweeting the ongoing PRIM&R SBER conference in Boston.

To read her tweets, which so far include some especially interesting comments from Ezekiel Emanuel and C. K. Gunsalus, search the hash tag #primr_sber11.

[Many thanks to Dr. Meyer for alerting me.]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

USC Frees Oral History

The University of Southern California has ruled that oral history projects are not subject to IRB review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

University of Iowa: Ask IRB Before Researching Neanderthals

Someone at the University of Iowa apparently thinks that the IRB has jurisdiction over research with dead Neanderthals.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hope College Frees Oral History

Hope College, a liberal arts college in Michigan, has posted Oral History Research Guidelines that give substantial leeway to oral history projects:'

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Perspectives on History Interviews Me

The April 2011 issue of Perspectives on History, the newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, features an interview with your humble blogger by Robert B. Townsend, the AHA’s assistant director for research and publications.

ETA (4-14-2011): The interview is currently viewable only by members of the AHA, but I understand it will become open to all on May 1.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Princeton Offers PhD Students Serious Training in Historians' Ethics

Google alerted me to an innovative effort to train historians in the responsible conduct of research.

[Angela Creager and John Haldon, "Responsible Conduct of Research Workshop, June 14-15, 2010," Princeton University.]

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Law Professor Sees Broad Role for IRBs in Virtual Worlds

Professor Joshua A. T. Fairfield of the Washington & Lee University School of Law explores the law of research in virtual worlds.

[Joshua Fairfield, "Avatar Experimentation: Human Subjects Research in Virtual Worlds." (November 29, 2010). U.C. Irvine Law Review, Symposium Issue, 2011; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2010-14. Available at SSRN:]

Fairfield makes some important points about how researchers interested in these environments might apply ethical guidelines developed for older forms of research. But the article pays insufficient attention to the limits of ethical guidance developed to govern medical experimentation, misstates some of the provisions of current regulations, and downplays the troubles Internet researchers have faced with IRBs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beauchamp Derides Federal Definition of Research

Along with Whitney and Schneider's article on the cost in lives of ethics board review of biomedical research, the "ethics symposium" in April 2011 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine features an intriguing essay by Tom Beauchamp, Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.

[T. L. Beauchamp, "Why Our Conceptions of Research and Practice May Not Serve the Best Interest of Patients and Subjects, Journal of Internal Medicine 269, no. 4, (April 2011): 383-387, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02350_1.x]

As a staffer of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research in the 1970s, Beauchamp played a key role in the development of the Belmont Report. Yet in this essay, he disparages one of the National Commission's most enduring legacies: the definition of research encoded in today's federal regulations.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Costs of Ethical Review, Part II

Researchers on both sides of the Atantic are trying to measure how the delay due to ethics review in medical research can harm or kill those who would benefit from innovative therapy.

[Ian Roberts, David Prieto-Merino, Haleema Shakur, Iain Chalmers, Jon Nicholl, "Effect of Consent Rituals on Mortality in Emergency Care Research," Lancet 377, no. 9771 (26 March 2011): 1071-1072, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60317-6; S. N. Whitney and C. E. Schneider, "Viewpoint: A Method to Estimate the Cost in Lives of Ethics Board Review of Biomedical Research," Journal of Internal Medicine 269, no. 4, (April 2011): 396-402, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02351_2.x See also The Costs of Ethical Review. Hat tips to Rebecca Tushnet and Simon Whitney.]