A tale of research permission

“Scott Alexander” recounts with much humor an episode in which, observing an apparent weakness in the way patients are screened for bipolar disorder, he suggested that the effectiveness of the screen be put to a study as his hospital. That meant human subjects research, which meant submitting the idea to an institutional review board, which meant a sustained encounter with the federally prescribed regulatory apparatus that empowers IRBs. [Slate Star Codex] Our earlier coverage of IRBs is here, and Philip Hamburger has a much more formal and sustained critique, with footnotes, in this 2007 Northwestern University Law Review paper (“they require the licensing of speech and the press [when directed toward] the pursuit of scientific knowledge.”) See also Zachary Schrag, “You Can’t Ask That,” Washington Monthly, 2014 and, on the recent changes in regulation, Kate Murphy/New York Times and Richard A. Shweder and Richard E. Nisbett, Chronicle of Higher Education.


  • But, but but….regulation is absolutely necessary. We can’t reduce it at ALL…..

    • Something must be done.

      This is something, therefore this must be done.