Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Yesterday marked the fifth birthday of the Institutional Review Blog.

Not long after starting the Blog, I explained my intentions to Inside Higher Ed:

Schrag said that the problems with IRBs will probably remain for some time. "I think the regulations themselves are poorly drafted, with terms that are not well defined, and I anticipate problems until they are amended," he said. "Perhaps until then, I'm going to have to keep up the blog."

With the ANPRM out, I am closer to retirement as blogger than I dared to hope five years ago.


Dylan said...

I just discovered this blog the other day, and have been fascinated by several postings already. I am a staff member in a University IRB support office and a Certified IRB Professional (CIP). Because we are a primarily social/behavioral research institution, we tend to be more a more generous IRB than many of those described in this blog. Nevertheless, problems (such as delays) remain.

I've often heard historians argue that IRBs and IRB offices often do not understand the nature of historical research. While I believe this is true, I also believe that many of these same IRBs do not understand the flexibility that is built into the Regulations to accommodate this kind of research. In fact, it may be more accurate to say that there is a failure of nerve on the part of IRBs to exercise this flexibility even when they do understand it.

I often fear that any change in the Regulations will result in less flexibility.

Anyway, those are just some quick thoughts for you... I'm enjoying this blog :)

Zachary M. Schrag said...

Thanks for this comment, and welcome to the blog. I hope that it will give a different perspective from what you might get from, say, PRIM&R.

As you will read, I am skeptical of the "flexibility" argument, since it is the vagueness of the current regulations that encourages much IRB abuse. See Less Flexibility, More Freedom from 2009.