Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuchman Reviews Ethical Imperialism

Gaye Tuchman, author of Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University, reviews Ethical Imperialism for Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews.

[Gaye Tuchman, "Review of Ethical Imperialism: Institutional Review Boards and the Social Sciences, 1965–2009," Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 40, no. 5 (2011): 617 -619.]

Monday, September 26, 2011

ANPRM Comments: Oral Historians Call for Exclusion from Common Rule

Of the 253 public submissions filed in response to the ANPRM as of 26 September 2011, 17 showed up in a search for the term "oral history."

One, submitted by Nancy M. P. King, JD, and Ana S. Iltis, PhD of the Wake Forest University Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society, calls for IRB jurisdiction over oral history and journalism. No First-Amendment champions they.

Another, from Julie Ozier, Assistant Director, Institutional Review Board, Vanderbilt University, briefly answers Question 25, "Yes, oral history since again the projects are ill defined (by design) and it take[s] a willing participant to provide their 'story.'"

The remaining 15 come from historians who have been burned by IRBs and want a way out. Just two of them, Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley and Alan Lessoff, see merit in the proposed Excused category; the rest want nothing at all to do with IRB regulations.

Edgerton-Tarpley wins the prize for best horror story, in which she relates how the San Diego State IRB proved more censorious than the Chinese government. Runner-ups are the reports submitted by James Williams and Kristin Hoganson about the chilling effects on student work .

Here are the comments, in order of their posting:

ANPRM Question 25: Read the Statute

It is September 26, the original comment deadline for the ANPRM, and the beginning of the final 30 days of the extended comment period. Here I offer my latest draft comments on the crucial Question 25. (This is adapted from my August 5 post.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Would ANPRM's Audits Require Massive Record-Keeping?

Part of the ANPRM's proposal for a new category of Excused research is an audit regime for projects that researchers declare eligible for Excusal. An observer asks whether this requirement would impose inappropriate burdens on researchers. I am hopeful that it would not, but commenters on the ANPRM should be aware of this possibility as they answer question 21.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Professional Geographer Focuses on IRBs

The Professional Geographer has posted a six-item special section on "Protecting Human Subjects Across the Geographic Research Process," edited by Patricia L. Price.

Do I have time to write about each of these as we enter the last stretch of the ANPRM comment period? I do not!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Circuit Court Affirms Right to Record Videos in Public

As noted by the New York Times, a recent First Circuit decision in Glik v. Cunniffe affirms the First Amendment right to make video recordings in public places.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Canadian Tortoise Beats American Hare

In the United States, human subjects regulations remained unchanged for twenty years, and almost unchanged for thirty. Then, in July, federal regulators proposed dramatic changes but gave citizens only sixty days to respond. When scholarly and professional organizations complained, that period was extended to a leisurely ninety days. Once that period closes, scholars may need to wait additional decades for such a chance to shape the regulations under which they must work.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics has released its first responses to written requests for interpretation of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2), only eight months after the release of that document. Whereas Americans must wait years for regulators to respond to their concerns, Canadians are promised contact with a policy analyst within 48 hours and, as we have seen, may get formal interpretations within months. If the past is a guide, they can expect amendments to the TCPS every few years (the first edition was amended three times) and perhaps another full revision after twelve.

The protection of research participants should be subject to constant improvement. We will not get sensible rules from decades of inaction interrupted by brief spasms of debate.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Website Covers Boston College Oral History Subpoena

An anonymous comment on my post, DOJ: "There Is No Academic Privilege", alerts me to Boston College Subpoena News, described as a "website following Boston College's motion to quash the DoJ subpoena." The site does not credit its authors, but it seems to have useful information.