a1 American Educational Research Association
In recent years, there has been increased discussion and even debate about how to reconcile a commitment to the ethical conduct of research in the social and behavioral sciences with a regulatory apparatus for the protection of human subjects that seems too often to fall short of its own aspirations and ideals. The gap between regulations and their implementation whether at the federal, state, or local levels is typically grist for the mill in political science. When, however, the issues are more in our own backyard—in our academic and research institutions—insight, interventions, and even empirical study are harder to come by. The purpose of this essay is neither to applaud what is right nor to decry what is wrong with the current system for the protection of human subjects as practiced. Our goal is to help further catalyze through this PS symposium a conversation about the need to produce system reform, illustrate some readily doable steps for doing so, and entice social science colleagues to work at their own institutions and at a national level for system change.