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  • IRB: ETHICS & HUMAN RESEARCH

Problems with Minimal-Risk Research Oversight: A Threat to Academic Freedom?

A subcommittee of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has published a report, “Research on Human Subjects: Academic Freedom and the Institutional Review Board” (AAUP, 2006), which argues that institutional review board (IRB) oversight may pose a threat to academic freedom, and that a different oversight model based on departmental review would both maintain subject protection and eliminate the threat. But the report does not demonstrate that IRBs pose a threat to academic freedom, and using departmental oversight may not sufficiently protect human subjects of research, could introduce other problems, and would itself pose threats to academic freedom. Instead, some alternative methods of streamlining IRB oversight for certain types of research would better address the practical problems currently encountered.

Key words/concepts: academic freedom, social science research, American Association of University Professors, research oversight

Lisa M. Rasmussen, “Problems with Minimal-Risk Research Oversight: A Threat to Academic Freedom?” IRB: Ethics & Human Research 31, no. 3 (2009): 11-16.

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