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IRBs and Big-Data Research — A few commentaries

The use of big datasets that are just kind of Out There — and that may have been created without the intent of using them for research —¬†continues to be discussion topic. Below are links to a few articles we’ve noticed on this issue.

Wired published a piece about some of the confusion on the part of both scientists and the IRBs regarding the research use of Internet-based datasets.

Quorum Review IRB then followed up with two commentaries on the Slate piece. The first calls the Slate piece “misleading in at least one respect.” The second focuses on what the author considers to be a less-discussed harm associated with this type of research.

Please click on the links to see all three articles. What are your thoughts regarding the use of kinda-sorta publicly available datasets? How would you review a study like this?