IRB Launches Prereview Process

IRB Launches Prereview Process

Institutional Review Board (IRB) News IRB Launches Prereview Process

IRB Launches Prereview Process

In an effort to better serve our research community here at UAB, the Office of the IRB (OIRB) will modify its procedures for new protocol submissions that require full board review.  After the December 5, 2013 deadline, all new protocols submitted for full board review will undergo an administrative pre-review by an OIRB staff member. The outcome of this administrative review will be e-mailed to the PI and contact person. After all required revisions are complete, the protocol will be scheduled for formal review at the next available convened IRB meeting.
By addressing these items before the board's review, the protocol will be in better shape for discussion at the convened meeting, reducing the number of deferred protocols that subsequently must go back to the convened board for review.
The current submission deadline system and review process will remain unchanged for renewals. 
The OIRB always welcomes feedback and suggestions. Please feel free to send any comments to
Why is this change being made? 
Under the previous system, almost 25% of initial submissions that went to a board meeting were deferred or deferred for response and had to be scheduled for review at another meeting.  Conducting a pre-review will allow IRB staff to facilitate revisions before a meeting that would otherwise cause deferral.
Doesn’t a member of the IRB staff already review my protocols before the meeting?
In the past, an IRB staff person conducted a very high level review to ensure protocols submitted for full board review actually required full board review.  However, the protocol was then directly distributed to board members for review.  The IRB staff person supporting the board meeting received the protocols the same time the board members received them, which did not allow issues to be addressed prior to the meeting.
Will the pre-review process slow down my approval?
It is hoped the pre-review process will actually speed up your approvals.  Addressing issues prior to the meeting will allow board members to focus on substantive issues during the board meeting, rather than missing forms and contradictions in the submission.  As such, there should be fewer revisions needed after a meeting since the majority of those will have been handled prior to the meeting.  It will be easier for IRB staff to get the results of the board meeting review to the investigator, easier for the investigator to respond, and easier for the IRB staff or chair to review the response.
How soon can I expect to receive a response after submitting a protocol for full board review?
                Investigators will receive results of the pre-review within 10 business days of submission.
What if I don’t want to make a revision suggested during the pre-review process?
Protocols will not be scheduled for review at a full board meeting until all items noted during the pre-review have been addressed.  However, if there is a justifiable reason not to  make a change suggested by the IRB staff person conducting the pre-review, the investigator should just reply with such reasoning and the protocol will be scheduled for review by the board.  It may be advisable to have a conversation with the IRB staff person in this regard so that information can be conveyed to the board.  The IRB staff can advise an investigator on the regulatory criteria that apply to a research study and can be a resource for navigating potentially challenging areas.
There may also be times when an item is not yet available, but the board can proceed with the review so as not to otherwise hold up approval once the missing item is available.  Again, communication with the IRB staff person reviewing the protocol can help in this regard.
May I choose which IRB staff person will review my protocol?
In order to equally distribute submissions, it will not be possible to select a specific staff person to initially review your protocol.  However, the staff person who conducts the pre-review will work with you and be your contact until the revisions are complete.
Will I have to submit all of my revisions in hard copy?
Unless noted in the pre-review, revisions may be sent via e-mail reply directly to the IRB staff member who reviewed your protocol.
May I submit my initial submission electronically?
At this time, the IRB doesn’t offer electronic submission.  However, future implementation of the Human Subjects module in IRAP will allow electronic submission.  Please continue to submit original submissions in hard copy.

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