Posted by Dr. Bob on January 25, 2001, at 3:33:27
It's interesting, the question of whether this board should be considered a research project. The way I've looked at it is, as I mentioned before:
> [This board] is *not* an experiment in which I'm
manipulating anyone or anything...
> The IRB approves research, not publication...
However: my view may not be shared by my IRB. :-(
Their view (actually, that of the Department of Health and Human Services) is that research is "systematic investigation ... designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Hmm...
OTOH, one type of research that can be exempt from full IRB review is "the collection or study of existing data ... if these sources are publicly available." However, only the IRB may determine whether research qualifies as exempt (from *full* review).
So I'll submit this to them, and we'll see what they say. I apologize for not having been more aware of these policies, and I certainly do hope no one is harmed by the publication of this paper.
Hopefully, feedback from you (and my IRB) will lead to clarifications and improvements, which would of course be a good thing all around. Thanks for your understanding,