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The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) may develop a policy guidance document to explain a September letter, in which the agency said oral histories are not considered "research" under HHS rules and thus not subject to IRB initial and continuing reviews.
Oral historians and social scientists have hailed OHRP's interpretation, arguing that IRBs have posed challenges to oral history projects because federal rules have been too broadly interpreted. They contend oral histories do not endanger those being interviewed, even in biomedical research.
However, some IRB representatives attending last month's meeting of Public Responsibility in Medicine and …