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J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2006 Mar;1(1):67-82. doi: 10.1525/jer.2006.1.1.67.

What scientists want from their research ethics committee.

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Children's Hospital, Boston.


Whereas investigators have directed considerable criticism against Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), the desirable characteristics of IRBs have not previously been empirically determined. A sample of 886 experienced biomedical and social and behavioral scientists rated 45 descriptors of IRB actions and functions as to their importance. Predictions derived from organizational justice research findings in other work settings were generally borne out. Investigators place high value on the fairness and respectful consideration of their IRBs. Expected differences between biomedical and social behavioral researchers and other variables were unfounded. Recommendations are offered for educating IRBs to accord researchers greater respect and fair treatment.


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