“The Worst of All Possible IRB Worlds”

Published on March 16, 2013 by Alice Dreger, Ph.D. in Fetishes I Don’t Get
Psychology Today
“This report from the National Council on University Research Administrators is not coming from a bunch of bitchy patient advocates like me, Ellen, Anne, or Carl. No, it’s coming from university administrators — the people who normally fear getting spanked by the OHRP. If the people who fear the spanking are telling us that mom and dad seem to have left us home alone with no signs of returning, um, Houston we have a problem.

Good social science research, notably that conducted by Laura Stark for her book Behind Closed Doors, has shown that in fact IRBs have never been primarily about protection of people who become research subjects. They’ve been primarily about liability protection for the institutions. Anyone who has had to deal with an IRB, as an applicant or as a complainant, can tell you this is true.

That said, we’re now at the point where we seem to really be dropping all pretense of protection of subjects. It’s seriously scary.”

It seems the DSM-5 would be a perfect means to catch more subjects but time will tell on that.

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