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28 August 2013

A Guiding IRB Principle

Just a quick post today. This IRB chairship is really dominating what passed for discretionary time in previous semesters.

The sole and primary purpose of the IRB is to protect human subjects. Full stop.

An important secondary concern, though, should always be for the IRB to ensure the legitimacy of its own authority within the university by not inflicting undue burdens on researchers that slow the review process unnecessarily. If researchers perceive the IRB as a bureaucratic roadblock instead of as an ethical champion, they are less likely to abide the IRB and its policies, and this has the potential to directly constrain that sole, primary purpose: to protect human subjects.

I don't pretend yet to have an answer to this conundrum, but I think it's a place to begin any discussion.

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