Molly Jackman & Lauri Kanerva

Molly Jackman & Lauri Kanerva, Evolving the IRB: Building Robust Review for Industry Research, 72 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 442 (2016).

June 14, 2016

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Increasingly, companies are conducting research so that they can make informed decisions about what products to build and what features to change.These data-driven insights enable companies to make responsible decisions that will improve peoples’ experiences with their products. Importantly, companies must also be responsible in how they conduct research. Existing ethical guidelines for research do not always robustly address the considerations that industry researchers face. For this reason, companies should develop principles and practices around research that are appropriate to the environments in which they operate,taking into account the values set out in law and ethics. This paper describes the research review process designed and implemented at Facebook, including the training employees receive, and the steps involved in evaluating proposed research. We emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all model of research review that can be applied across companies, and that processes should be designed to fit the contexts in which the research is taking place. However, we hope that general principles can be extracted from Facebook’s process that will inform other companies as they develop frameworks for research review that serve their needs.