Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Robert Levine: We Should Have Done a Careful Study of Social and Behavioral Research

The June issue of the Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices features an interview with Robert Levine about his service as consultant to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Levine concedes that the commission did not sufficiently explore "sociology, anthropology, education and other vast areas of research."

[Mark Barnes, "Bob Levine on the Making of the Belmont Report," Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices 9, no. 6 (June 2013). h/t Michelle Meyer]

Trolling Isn't Human Subjects Research

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that IRBs at both NYU and the University of New Mexico are investigating the conduct of Professor Geoffrey Miller, now notorious for a June 2 tweet warning "obese PhD applicants" that "if you didn't have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won't have the willpower to do a dissertation."

According to the Chronicle, Miller "explained his action to university officials in New Mexico by saying he had sent the Twitter message as part of a research project." (In proper troll-speak, one says "social experiment.") But Miller also maintains that "IRB approval was not necessary under his own understanding of federal law."

[Basken, Paul. “In Reversal, NYU Investigates Professor Who Tweeted on Obese Ph.D. Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2013.]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SACHRP: Exempt Research May "Be Subject to IRB Review"

As reported by Erica Check Hayden in Nature, at its March meeting, SACHRP endorsed "Considerations and Recommendations Concerning Internet Research and Human Subjects Research Regulations, with Revisions," prepared by Elizabeth Buchanan and Dean Gallant. The guidance offers some common sense, but it struggles with the legacy of the poorly drafted Common Rule. And it threatens to make matters worse by suggesting that some exempt research may "be subject to IRB review."

Monday, June 3, 2013

First Circuit Denies UK Access to Most Boston College Tapes

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that Boston College need hand over only 11 of the 85 oral history interviews sought by United Kingdom investigators. The Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed see this as mostly a win for Boston College.

[Andersen, Travis. “Major Victory for BC in Court Battle over Belfast Project.” Boston Globe, June 1, 2013.]

More complete coverage can be found at Boston College Subpoena News.