Internet Research Ethics and IRBs

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Elizabeth A. Buchanan Associate Professor and Director, Center for Information Policy Research School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee [email protected] Support for this research comes from the National Science Foundation. OHRP Research Forum: Chicago, May 2010 Internet Research Ethics and IRBs How Does the Internet Fit In To Research? !   Internet as a TOOL FOR research or… !   Internet as a MEDIUM/LOCALE OF research !   TOOL=search engines, databases, catalogs, etc… !   MEDIUM/LOCALE=chat rooms, MUDs, MOOs, newsgroups, home pages, MMORPGs, blogs, skype, tweeting, online course software, etc Emergence of IRE Awareness… (and Some Confusion!) !   1999, Frankel and Siang report !   2002, AoIR “Ethical Decision Making…” (Watch for 2010 revision!) !   2003, Buchanan, Readings in Virtual Research Ethics; Chen and Hall, Online Social Research !   Scattered literature across disciplines !   IRBs facing new lexicon and challenges in their charge to protect human subjects !   A redefinition of what counts as a “human subject” (avatars, turks, etc) The Relationships Regulations/Regulatory Boards (Policy) Research Participants/Online Norms/ Researchers/Disciplinary Practices/ Self-Community Generated Professional Ethics Ethical Frameworks The Issues Identities/PII Anonymity/ Ownership Pseudonymity (Formal/ Informal) Security Privacy Ethics Recruitment Trolling Consent P/O Representation/ Subjectivity/ Methodology Objectivity Risk/Harm Ideology So Now What? What was missing from the literature: Empirical research on the state of internet research within IRBs: What we were reviewing and how? How were we dealing with all of those pressing issues? And—how were we preparing ourselves? Buchanan and Ess received 2006 NSF award: Internet Research Ethics: Discourse, Inquiry, Policy to survey US-based IRBs  Exploratory study to examine the state and perceptions of Internet  research reviews in US-based IRBs  Developed a comprehensive database crossing Carnegie  Classifications (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/classifications/index.asp?key=783)  Sent hard copy, mixed method surveys to 750 IRBs across the US   334 Respondents  Methods  Exploratory study to examine the state and perceptions of Internet research reviews in US-based IRBs  Developed a comprehensive database crossing Carnegie Classifications (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/classifications/index.asp?key=783)  Sent hard copy, mixed method surveys to 750 IRBs across the US  334 Respondents Institutional Types 2007-08 Data