I Review Stark, Behind Closed Doors

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.’

Breech of Protocol

XKCD takes on U.S. history. Generally accurate, I think, but it refers to James Monroe as wearing “pants instead of breeches.” Linda Thrift of the National Portrait Gallery notes that Monroe “wore small-clothes until his death. Monroe’s wife enforced dress etiquette at presidential receptions, refusing admission to anyone not in breeches and silk hose.”

Can Professors Use Private E-Mail for Most Communications?

In an interview marking his ascendancy to the AHA presidency, William Cronon tells the Chronicle of Higher Education, “I now use my university e-mail address only for communicating with students and for doing administrative work for the university.”

Sarah Palin was criticized for allegedly conducing public business on a private, Yahoo! account. Could Cronon face similar challenges? And how often are Bill Cronon and Sarah Palin mentioned in the same paragraph?

Often is heard a discouraging word

Larry Cebula has posted an “Open Letter to My Students: No, You Cannot be a Professor,” explaining that “The reason you are not going to be a professor is because that job is going away, and yet doctoral programs continue to produce as many new Ph.D.s as ever. It is a simple calculation of odds–you are not going to win the lottery, you are not going to be struck by a meteorite, you are not going to be a professor. All of these things will happen to someone, somewhere, but none of them will happen to you.”

(h/t Dan Cohen)
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Guest Blogging at the Aporetic

My colleague Mike O’Malley graciously gave me the chance to argue with him on his own blog, the Aporetic. My post, “More Babies in That Bathwater,” appeared on Monday, and Mike’s reply, “There Can Be More Than One,” appeared yesterday. To sum things up, Mike thinks that the questions facing scholarly publication are whether they will be print or digital, and whether peer review will by anonymous or signed. I think the real issue is whether editors will be paid or unpaid.