Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SACHRP Now Lacks Social Scientists

Anthropologist Patricia A. Marshall, the sole social scientist on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), completed her term on the committee in March, along with three other members.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Erdos: U.K. Data Protection Act May Stifle Research

David Erdos of the University of Oxford kindly alerted me to two recent publications in which he warns that the United Kingdom's Data Protection Act 1998, which implements European Union requirements, could inhibit social research in much the same way human subjects laws and regulations have done in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

David Erdos, "Systematically Handicapped? Social Research in the Data Protection Framework, Information & Communications Technology Law 20, no. 2 (2011): 83-101,
doi: 10.1080/13600834.2011.578925
David Erdos, "Stuck in the Thicket? Social Research under the First Data Protection Principle," International Journal of Law and Information Technology 19, No. 2 (2011), doi:10.1093/ijlit/ear001.]

Monday, June 20, 2011

New FWA Terms Allow Alternatives to Belmont

In September 2010, OHRP posted drafts of new FWA form and FWA Terms of Assurance. In my comments, I asked that the drafts be revised to make clear that under 45 CFR 46.103(b)(1), institutions have the right to choose any statement of principles they wish, including statements they formulate themselves. Other comments also made this point.

I also asked that the FWA terms allow institutions to conform to the current version of Canada's Tri-Council Policy Statement, rather than the 2005 version mentioned in the OHRP draft.

OHRP has now released the new version of the FWA terms. I am happy to report that both of my suggestions have been adopted.

Monday, June 13, 2011

U.S. and British Governments Subpoena Oral Histories

Last month, the United States Attorney’s office filed a subpoena for two tapes that were recorded as part of the Boston College’s Oral History Archive on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It did so at the request of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, part of the British Government. As reported by the New York Times, British authorities apparently want the tapes for an investigation into murders and kidnappings committed decades ago.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The CITI Program as Mortifyingly Stupid, Marxist Doxology

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has posted videos and transcripts of its Meeting Five, held May 18 and 19 in New York City. I earlier linked to the Commission's summary of the statement by Ronald Bayer, professor and co-chair of the Center for the History of Ethics of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Now that we have the verbatim text, it is worth quoting as well.

Overall, Bayer lamented that the IRB system has "turned itself into an object of ridicule and sometimes contempt in a way that I think is dangerous to those who believe in the ethical conduct of research."

Particularly choice is Bayer's description of the CITI Program, a widely used online training course in research ethics, which Columbia University requires researchers to complete every three years.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dingwall on Isomorphism

Will Pakistan set up ethics committees for social science regardless of whether it has had problems with social research ethics?