An institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC), ethical review board (ERB), or research ethics board (REB), is a committee used in research in the United States that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans. They often conduct some form of risk-benefit analysis in an attempt to determine whether or not to give green light to research.
The purpose of the IRB is to assure that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in a research study, in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines.
According to Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, Cornell University, there are certain functions, as listed below, expected to be performed by IRBs:
1. To determine what activities constitute human participant research.
2. To review, approve, modify (to secure approval or disapprove) all research activities covered by this policy prior to the commencement of the research.
3. To ensure that information given to participants as part of informed consent is in accordance with appropriate laws, regulations, and international standards, for the protection of the rights and welfare of participants.
4. To maintain documentation of informed consent or waive documentation in accordance with federal and New York State laws and regulations. When research activities are being proposed to be conducted in other states and/or countries by faculty, staff, and/or students, the research activities will be approved in compliance with the regulations for those specific research locations.
5. To notify investigators and the institution in writing of its decision to approve or disapprove the proposed research activity, or of modifications required to secure IRB approval of the research activity. If the IRB decides to disapprove a research activity, it shall include in its written notification a...