Ethical and Practical Concerns About IRB Restrictions on the Use of Research Data
Judith Carrithers, JD, Vice President of IRB Review, co-authored the article Ethical and Practical Concerns About IRB Restrictions on the Use of Research Data in Ethics & Human Research.
In response to researcher noncompliance with ethical and regulatory provisions governing research with humans, protocol deviations, and unanticipated problems with research, institutional review boards (IRBs) or institutions sometimes impose restrictions on the use of research data, although specific cases in which this happens are unlikely to be known publicly. We review IRB policies at top research institutions in the United States about restrictions on the use of research data and describe potential reasons for restricting the use of such data in the context of ensuring compliance with human subjects research standards. We also discuss ethical considerations related to restricting the use of research data and argue that IRBs have limited regulatory authority to take such actions. Finally, we offer recommendations regarding decision‐making about restricting the use of research data and call for additional guidance in this area.