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The Censor's HandThe Misregulation of Human-Subject Research$
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Carl E. Schneider

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028912

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028912.001.0001

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Research Risk and Regulationist Stereotypes

Research Risk and Regulationist Stereotypes

(p.3) 1 Research Risk and Regulationist Stereotypes
The Censor's Hand

Carl E. Schneider

The MIT Press

How much good IRB regulation can do depends on how much risk research subjects run. Biomedical research can harm subjects, but much of it needs no physical contact with patients, and most contact cannot cause serious injury. Even truly ill patients are, if anything, safer in than out of research. Social-science research cannot injure people physically, and its risks are trivial compared with the chances free people take daily In short, research harm “has been far less than the harm arising from many entirely ordinary activities” like walking. So the IRB system has less scope to do good than its severity suggests because research is safer than its rhetoric implies.

Keywords:   Research regulation, Research risks, Research subjects, Biomedical research, Social-science research, Research benefits, IRBs

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