Published: “Ethical Pluralism: Scholarly Societies and the Regulation of Research Ethics,” in The Ethics Rupture: Exploring Alternatives to Formal Research-Ethics Review, edited by Will C. van den Hoonaard and Ann Hamilton. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.
“Will the Federal Government Finally Deregulate Oral History?,” American Historian, November 2015, 20-22.
On September 8, 2015, sixteen federal departments and agencies jointly released a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the federal regulations (known as the Common Rule) that govern IRBs. Among many other reforms the new rules would, the notice explains, “explicitly exclude oral history, journalism, biography, and historical scholar- ship activities that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information . . . is collected.” If enacted as written, the proposal would resolve the longstanding acrimony between IRBs and historians.
Published: “You Can’t Ask That.” Washington Monthly, September/October 2014
Enacted a generation ago in response to real abuses by some notorious medical researchers, so-called institutional review boards have morphed into entities that are stifling and distorting important research throughout academia.
Cross-posted from Institutional Review Blog:
The American Journal of Sociology has published my review of Laura Stark’s Behind Closed Doors. I describe it as an “illuminating account of how ethics review really works,” but note that “Stark’s reluctance to condemn [IRB] behavior sets her apart from other observers of IRBs in action” and that it is “a stretch for Stark to claim that today’s IRBs use ‘a decision-making model that stabilized in the 1950s and 1960s.'”
[Zachary M. Schrag, Review of Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research by Laura Stark. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Pp. Viii+229. $85.00 (cloth); $27.50 (paper).” American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 2 (September 2012): 494–496. www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/664671]
For my comments on Stark’s dissertation, on which the book is based, see “How IRBs Decide–Badly: A Comment on Laura Stark’s ‘Morality in Science.’“
On November 21 I had the pleasure of joining Jerry Menikoff of OHRP and Kathy Hudson of NIH on an episode of the Kojo Nnamdi Show entitled, “Rethinking the “Common Rule”: The Ethics of Research with Human Subjects.” We received many thoughtful, informed comments and questions.
I am quoted in Patricia Cohen, “Questioning Privacy Protections in Research,” New York Times, 24 October 2011.
I am quoted in Ryan Brown, “Historians Welcome Contemplated Changes in Human-Research Guidelines,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 August 2011.
Inside Higher Ed quotes me on proposed changes to human subjects regulations:
Doug Lederman, “Updating the Common Rule,” Inside Higher Ed, 3 August 2011.
Published: “Board oversight is no safeguard” (letter to the editor), Boston Globe, 31 May 2011.