[visionlist] Highly cited publications on vision in which authors were also subjects?

Jonathan D Victor jdvicto at med.cornell.edu
Fri Jun 12 09:49:56 -04 2020

A few speculations about why the IRB would ask.  I have good reason to believe that they are all applicable in my institutions’ review process. These are all pre-COVID.

(a)    They might be concerned about validity of the work, in that they are charged with making judgments about risk-benefit ratio.  So, even if the study is minimal risk, they need to be assured that there is at least some benefit – which requires some level of statistical rigorous. So it may be helpful to point out (if applicable) that the main inferences are within-subject, not between subjects, and that the number of observations (e.g., trials) is much much larger than the number of subjects.  And/or that the experimental design contains built-in randomizations so that you cannot “cheat.”  And it may also be helpful to point out that by participating as a subject, you are able to detect artifacts that might otherwise escape notice.

(b)    They are concerned about undue pressure to participate in the work.  You could certainly imagine that the IRB wants to know that junior collaborators or students are  not under undue pressure.  And in principle, you can even put yourself under undue pressure – i.e., the IRB also needs to protect you from yourself.  So one should provide assurance that this is not the case.

(c)     They might be concerned about disclosure of personally-identified health data – e.g., your age and that you have normal vision.  As mentioned in a previous post, we deal with this by getting explicit permission from subjects (including ourselves) to disclose, and we explain to the IRB that this adds scientific value to the work, because it allows for comparison across publications.  So the risk/benefit is favorable.

So one just needs to explain the reasons.  Hope this helps.


From: visionlist <visionlist-bounces at visionscience.com> On Behalf Of Gabriel Diaz
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2020 9:01 AM
To: visionlist at visionscience.com
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [visionlist] Highly cited publications on vision in which authors were also subjects?

Hello again, fellow vision scientists!

I would like to thank you all again for your participation in this email thread, and the citations you have very graciously provided.  For your convenience, here is a google doc that includes most of the contributions I have received from the group.<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__docs.google.com_document_d_1bo3-5FPwm9ayK7VMoevB7X3mNInlZ4ke9WbLTKyQrhG-2Do_edit-3Fusp-3Dsharing&d=DwMFaQ&c=lb62iw4YL4RFalcE2hQUQealT9-RXrryqt9KZX2qu2s&r=_m9BMgPkMW4vdmw0GjWDYnM7Tb7VSBSMMTUNAK2fXfQ&m=cf41DVMADkkYTkfIv5dXmWKVBEtsrulYVcOu79IV9b0&s=AFmFlpej6QEnecEM4bJG0f8lxJuUgymNckiUuXYUH-k&e=>  I have kept contributions in the format in which they were submitted.  Only a few were left out because they were not vision, and a few more because a proper citation was not provided.

Some have asked for more information about my request.  This request was motivated by the need to convince my IRB that it is a common practice in vision and psychophysics for the PI to also act as a participant in a study of her or his own design.  Thanks to your help, I can make this abundantly clear. Why did they need to be convinced?  To be quite frank, I'm not sure. They were unusually non-specific, even when I sought more information. To their defense, I have not had a negative interaction with my usually IRB in the six years at my home institution, and until this point have considered them to be very-cooperative and reasonable.  What has changed?  I can only speculate, but I fear that the roadblocks in place may have come from up-above, and may be somehow related to the unusual circumstances surrounding COVID19. It is an ongoing discussion.

Thank you all,
- gD

On Wed, May 27, 2020 at 9:51 AM Gabriel Diaz <gabriel.jacob.diaz at gmail.com<mailto:gabriel.jacob.diaz at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear vision community,

In response to a recent proposal to my IRB, I have received a request to provide examples of manuscripts in which the PI is also the subject in the manuscript.  I am hoping that some of you may be able to help me track some down. The more impactful the better, whether that be indicated by citation count, recognition of the publication venue, or any other metric, as long as it will be evident to a non-expert.

Extra points if the study involves some element of motor behavior / perception & action.

Thanks in advance,
- gD
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