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IRBs vs. free inquiry

Under federal regulations, most university professors and students must submit for preapproval to Institutional Research Boards (IRBs) before conducting research on human subjects -- not only medical or otherwise invasive research, but even, say, a survey of political opinions. In fact they must ask advance permission of these federally mandated bodies before embarking on inquiries that it would otherwise be within the ordinary rights of any citizen to conduct. Does this conflict with the First Amendment? Why, now that you think of it, it does sound as if it might do that. An important SSRN working paper from Chicago's Philip Hamburger explores the issue.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.