Inconsistency and Institutional Review Boards

Jerry Goldman*, Martin D. Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


To assess the adequacy of peer review for research on human subjects, identical research protocols in oncology and anesthesiology were submitted to 32 institutional review boards (IRBs) at major universities with medical colleges. Each of the protocols posed serious ethical issues, contained flaws in scientific design, and provided an incomplete consent form. Twenty-two IRBs participated in the investigation, which revealed (1) consistency in the nonapproval of the three protocols, (2) substantial inconsistency among IRBs in the reasons offered in support of similar decisions, and (3) substantial inconsistency in the application of ethical, methodological, and informed-consent standards for individual review boards. This evidence suggests that revision of the protocols to satisfy particular objections would result in approval of flawed investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 9 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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