Committee on Human Research (CHR): 2013 Annual Report

Members

  • Chair: Barbara Stanley
  • James DuBois
  • Janine Jennings
  • Cheryl King
  • Daniel Marson
  • Vivian Ota Wang
  • Frank Wong
  • Sangeeta Panicker
    APA staff liaison

In keeping with its mission to facilitate the conduct of and training in scientifically and ethically responsible research involving humans, in 2013 the Committee on Human Research (CHR) focused its efforts on education, outreach, and regulatory issues.

Education and Outreach Initiatives

  • Research Ethics Columns: CHR members discussed ways the Committee might be able to effectively disseminate information on a range of contemporary research ethics issues while at the same time raising its profile within the field of psychology. The Committee decided that one way to achieve this goal would be to have a regular column in the APA Monitor on Psychology on research ethics. This initiative received support from the Science Directorate as well as the editor of the Monitor on Psychology. Committee members identified several important topics that could be highlighted in the columns including research misconduct, the use of digital technology in behavioral and psychological research, incidental findings, team science, and data sharing. CHR decided that the columns should be authored by a Committee member or an invited expert in the respective topic. The columns are slated to begin in January 2014 with a column authored by CHR member James DuBois on research misconduct, and are scheduled to appear every other month thereafter for the continuation of 2014.
  • Bibliography of Research Ethics Materials: During a retreat that CHR held with the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) in 2012, the groups discussed the current lack of resources for instructors teaching research ethics courses. Specifically, it was stated that there is no real guide for how to effectively teach research ethics, scientific integrity, and protecting human research participants. Subsequently, in 2013, CHR discussed how the Committee might be able to contribute resources on research ethics. Committee members decided to direct their efforts toward creating an annotated bibliography of research ethics resources and materials including textbooks, websites, and journal articles. The Committee envisions this bibliography as a web-based resource that would be periodically updated to reflect the most up-to-date materials. CHR believes that a resource such as this could be utilized by a variety of audiences including faculty, researchers, and students.
  • CHR Convention Program: In its effort to keep the APA membership and the psychological science community at large informed about current issues in research ethics and the responsible conduct of research, CHR organized a session in conjunction with the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) on scientific ethics and team science at the 2013 APA Convention. Current CHR member Janine Jennings and former Committee member Thomas Eissenberg participated in the session.

Regulations

Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making: The Committee is continuing to monitor the status of the proposal to revise the federal regulations for the protection of human research participants. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) published the proposal as an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) in the July 26, 2011 edition of the Federal Register. APA officially responded to the ANPRM, with substantive input from CHR.

Future plans and development of new initiatives

CHR generated a list of potential initiatives for the Committee and began to prioritize them. The short list includes:

  • Webinar series on the responsible conduct of research — Noting the importance of continuing education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) for a wide range of individuals including principal investigators, research mentors, students, collaborative partners, and other individuals on the research team, CHR discussed potential ways for disseminating RCR information to such groups. CHR decided that hosting a series of webinars on various RCR topics would be one way to reach a broad audience. The Committee intends to continue discussing topics and come up with a plan for moving forward on this initiative.
  • Raising awareness among APA members of research ethics issues — The Committee discussed the importance of the APA membership being cognizant of continuing and emerging issues in research ethics, such as data sharing, scientific misconduct, the use of digital technologies in behavioral and psychological research, team science, and incidental findings. CHR plans to continue to discuss ways in which the Committee might effectively inform APA members about such topics.

Membership Changes

Daniel Marson, Vivian Ota Wang, Barbara Stanley and Frank Wong continued to serve on the Committee during 2013. James DuBois, Janine Jennings and Cheryl King joined the Committee in 2013. The Committee elected Janine Jennings to serve as Chair in 2014. Drs. Marson and Wong rotated off the Committee at the end of 2013, and were replaced by Barton Palmer and Michael Ross in 2014.