Considerable work has been done on the effects of the new third party rules
by sociologists and others. A great deal of ethnographic and
epidemiological research, as well as network research, has felt the impact
of the new rules. Panel members for the proposed roundtable may perhaps be
found in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Working Group of the National
Human Research Protections Advisory Committee. They have researched the
problem and proposed some rules changes. Their report is posted at
We've already had to go through the waiver process to get our network
research approved, and from what I've heard, we were lucky to have had a
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stanley Wasserman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 9:19 AM
Subject: Proposed Roundtable at Sunbelt XXII
> Sunbelt 2002: Human Subjects Protection and Social
> Network Research. (Proposed Roundtable)
> As many of you know, there was a case fairly
> recently at the Virginia Commonwealth University in
> which the issue was raised of informed consent of
> secondary subjects in research on family pedigrees
> and human genetics.
> Botkin (Journal of the American Medical
> Association, 285, 2, Jan 10, 2001, 207-211)
> described this case and some of its implications.
> One clear implication is for research on social
> networks, in particular what seems to be a growing
> reluctance among some IRBs to approve research that
> involves collecting any individually identifiable
> data about the network associates of primary
> respondents without the informed consent of both
> former and latter.
> At one level, one can ask if this will make it
> difficult if not impossible to collect the data
> used to study networks of interconnections among
> those with 'stigmatized' diseases (AIDS, STDs, TB)
> that may be transmitted in the course of intimate
> relationships (sex, drug use, within household
> contact). At another level, one can ask whether
> much data about network associates more generally
> falls within the scope of 'private' privileged
> information, and hence cannot be sought without
> the informed consent of each network member, ie,
> primary respondents and each of those named by
> them. Many other questions arise.
> The issues involved are already being taken into
> account by IRBs and some proposed social network
> research has already been - is being - affected.
> Hence, is it worthwhile to have a session to
> discuss these issues at the coming Sunbelt
> Conference, perhaps as a roundtable session?
> Over to you ....
> Regards, al
> Alden S Klovdahl / [log in to unmask] / fax: +61 2 6125 2222
> Social Sciences / Australian National University / Canberra Australia