The ProofPilot Blog - Design, Launch & Participant in Research Studies

ProofPilot Announces Automatic IRB and Regulatory Review

There are many of us from all walks of life who want to run studies ourselves — and we should be able to. The internet has democratized investing, journalism, and video, so it is time the same thing happened in the world of research.

However, heavy bureaucratic roadblocks make research almost impossible outside of large research settings. Those regulatory processes are there for a reason. They protect participants. Time and time again, we have seen successful tech companies purposely sidestep regulations. However, when it is our health and wellness at play, you cannot ignore these protections.

To solidify this balance between ethical review and research democratization, we’ve partnered with Veritas IRB in Montreal to review all research studies that run on ProofPilot.

This partnership is the first of it is kind. All regulatory and ethical review of studies on ProofPilot’s digital research platform will automatically be conducted by Veritas before launching to participants.

Veritas is one of the leading ethics review companies in the world. Its standards will ensure our users, who would not otherwise have access to quality research equipment and principled protocol, are running studies that are both scientifically and ethically sound as those run at major research institutions.

If you’ve run a research study before at a big academic institution, you undoubtedly have experience with the “Institutional Review Board.” The IRB reviews the participant risks and benefits associated with a study. Is participating in the study exposing participants to unnecessary risks? Have the remaining risks been minimized? Are the risks and benefits accurately and clearly communicated to the participant? If the answers to any of those questions are no, then the IRB will require changes in the study before it is allowed to launch.

Without a review and approval by an IRB, studies are not taken as seriously. Most research journals will not publish results from a non-IRB reviewed study. The general press will not take kindly to it either. Facebook came under scrutiny in 2014 when it breached ethical guidelines conducting an emotion study on unsuspecting users.

The researcher-participant relationship is based on an understood trust. Participants deserve to know exactly what is involved in the study, including the risks and benefits. Even if only a couple out of thousands of launched studies breach that trust, the effects can ripple through the entire industry. The automatic Veritas review process ensures that the trust continues.

If you part of an institution that already has an IRB, Veritas will review your approval status to ensure it is consistent with ProofPilot requirements. Alternatively, you can transfer IRB review responsibility for any ProofPilot study within your organization to Veritas (via something called a reliance agreement), creating additional efficiencies.

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