Thursday, July 30, 2015

Botkin Expects NPRM by October

At the tail end of the July SACHRP meeting (5 hours, 35 minutes into the video) chair Jeffrey Botkin stated, “We’re all anticipating the NPRM will be out before October. What that means is our business in October is likely to be the NPRM.”

Clear your calendars, folks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

IRBs Ignore South Africans' Concerns

Leslie London and Helen Macdonald, both of the University of Cape Town, complain that funding institutions in North America and Europe solicited their advice but then showed “little regard for local ethical practices in South Africa.”

[Leslie London and Helen Macdonald, “Transnational Excursions: The Ethics of Northern Anthropological Investigations Going South," ResearchGate, 2014.]

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Community Researchers: IRBs Reinforce Power Differentials

Practitioners of community-based participatory research (CPBR) warn that standard IRB review can reinforce the power inequalities that CPBR hopes to mitigate.

[J. Cross, K. Pickering, and M. Hickey, “Community-Based Participatory Research, Ethics, and Institutional Review Boards: Untying a Gordian Knot,” Critical Sociology, June 3, 2014, doi:10.1177/0896920513512696; Bruce Pietrykowski, “Participatory Economic Research: Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Participatory Research into Social Economics,” Review of Social Economy, July 7, 2015, 1–21, doi:10.1080/00346764.2015.1044841.]

Monday, July 27, 2015

British Universities See Ethics Committees as "Easy and Convenient" Censors

Adam Hedgecoe reports on two cases in which British university administrators turned to their university research ethics committees (URECs) not to protect the subjects of research, but to block controversial research they feared would tarnish the universities’ reputations.

[Adam Hedgecoe, “Reputational Risk, Academic Freedom and Research Ethics Review,” Sociology, June 25, 2015, doi:10.1177/0038038515590756.]

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Exemption by the Numbers?

Two computer researchers describe a system at Microsoft Research designed to provide automatic approval for low-risk studies. Rather than follow the Common Rule’s exemption model of requiring IRB review if any of a series of conditions is met, the Microsoft system assigns numerical values to aspects of a proposal that bear some risk to participants. Proposals with a low total get immediate approval from an Excel spreadsheet.

[Bowser, Anne, and Janice Y. Tsai. “Supporting Ethical Web Research: A New Research Ethics Review.” In Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web, 151–61. WWW ’15. Republic and Canton of Geneva, Switzerland: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, 2015. doi:10.1145/2736277.2741654.]