IRB: Ethics & Human Research

Disclosure of Information to Potential Subjects on Research Recruitment Web Sites

Despite the developing influence of the Internet as a tool for reaching potential subjects, little empirical information exits on how individuals are recruited to participate in clinical research via the Internet or on what type of information clinical trial Web sites provide. This study revealed that roughly half of the sites failed to mention study risks or specific details about what the study required on the part of participants, while nearly three-quarters described incentives to participate. Moreover, for-profit entities were more likely to be the sponsors of Web sites that did not appear to provide balanced information. These data suggest that policy-makers and IRBs should increase oversight of current online recruitment practices.

Key words/concepts: recruitment, Internet, incentives, compensation, research subjects, risks, advertisement