Research Article

The Ethics Police?: IRBs' Views Concerning Their Power

  • Robert Klitzman mail

    Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States of America

  • Published: December 13, 2011
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028773
  • Published in PLOS ONE

Reader Comments (1)

Post a new comment on this article

Appeal from IRB decision

Posted by IRBChatter on 18 Feb 2012 at 22:41 GMT

First I am new to PlosOne and am fascinated that there are no other comments responding to this interesting article. I had lots of thoughts about it but here is one.

The question of how to fashion an appeal process when the IRB is supposed to be the final authority has been a part of our world since its inception. I propose one suggestion.

Many years ago a friend at an academic IRB asked if we (at IRC, an independent IRB) would review a study. That IRB and the PI had reached an impasse. They both agreed that if another totally separate IRB reviewed it, they would re-think their positions. So it came in and our IRB reviewed it fresh without any knowledge of the earlier issues. As was agreed, our response went to both the IRB and the PI. I was told later that we had not only supported that IRB's concerns but identified several new ones.

Why can't institutions make arrangements to obtain advisory IRB opinions from another IRB acceptable to both parties? Yes, it might only be advisory but if, as its implied in this article, the IRB is unaware of the nature of its power, having an external confirmation - or lack of confirmation - would certainly wake either it or the PI up.

No competing interests declared.