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Skidmore College
Psychology Department

Participant Review Board

Guidelines for PRB Members

All proposals to the PRB are submitted electronically, according to directions on submitting proposals. The online submission automatically assigns a project number in a Microsoft Access database called //Cfsrv/prb/prb.mdb. The online submission automatically places the attached proposal in a folder called //Cfsrv/prb/Prb.prodocs, which acts as a temporary waiting room. The Access database can only be used from a PC, therefore a PC will have to be used by the PRB Chair when a new proposal is used.

The permament PRB record is on //Datastor/NetShare/PRB. All PRB members will have access to and use this space. This space can be accessed from PCs and Macs.

Department Chair Responsibilities

1. Each fall, at the beginning of the semester, the Psychology Department chair or secretary will request IT to give all new PRB members plus the department chair and secretary and the IRB contact person full permissions on two folders on the server: //Datastor/NetShare/PRB //Cfsrv/prb

2. In addition, the department chair will have the password for the email account in order to manage new submissions, in case the PRB chair is temporarily out of commission.

IRB Contact Person Responsibilities

The IRB contact person will perform a function for the PRB that she/he already performs for the IRB. Specifically, she/he will send Continuing Review Forms to PIs at the end of each semester. The continuing reviews are required by federal guidelines.

PRB Chair Responsibilities

  1. Arrange to have email from the account forwarded to the PRB Chair's personal email account. This can be done with help from the former PRB Chair or the department chair. The PRB account is set up on:
  2. When you receive email notification of a new proposal, open //Cfsrv/prb/prb.mdb, and you will see several files.
  3. Click on the proposals_tbl file to see and edit the database.
  4. Click on //Cfsrv/prb/prodocs to look at the proposal.
  5. Before continuing, check the proposal to see whether it is appropriate for the PRB rather than IRB (see website guidelines to PIs for the distinction). If it should go to IRB, notify the PI, and do not continue.
  6. If the proposal is appropriate for PRB, create a new folder for the protocol in the Datastor/Netshare/PRB folder for that semester (e.g., S06 Protocol Documents).  Name the folder with the PI's last name and protocol#.
  7. PRB members appear in columns in the far right of the //Cfsrv/prb/prb.mdb/proposals_tbl database. The chair will distribute proposals equitably among the committee members. One reviewer will be designated as the contact person (i.e., Reviewer #1), and this responsibility will be rotated among committee members.  A committee member will not be assigned to review a proposal if he/she is affiliated with that project (e.g., if he/she is advisor to the thesis student submitting the proposal).  Record in the columns on the right side of the database who will be assigned as Reviewers #1 and #2.
  8. If the proposal is a student, email the faculty advisor for an electronic signature (you may use a memo template from //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/PRBMemo Templates). Copy this and all email into the folder on Datastor/Netshare/PRB.  The review of a student proposal begins only after faculty advisor approval is received. Copy faculty advisor approval into the folder on Datastor.
  9. After you get faculty advisor approval, email Reviewers #1 and #2, asking them to review the proposal (you may use a memo template from //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/PRB Memo Templates). Copy this and all email into the folder on Datastor/Netshare/PRB.
  10. Copy the proposal from the temporary //Cfsrv/prb/prodocs space to the new permanent folder on Datastor/Netshare/PRB/S06/. Copy all supporting documents that are emailed to the PRB chair into the Datastor space (e.g. questionnaires, letters, consent, debriefing).
  11. Email the PI to inform her/him that the proposal was received. Give the PI the project number for use in all future correspondence, and the name of the contact person for the proposal (i.e., Reviewer #1). See //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/PRB Memo Templates for a template [received_memo.doc].
  12. After Reviewer #1 notifies the PRB Chair of final approval, the Chair adds the approved date to the //Cfsrv/prb/prb.mdb/proposals_tbl database.

PRB Committee Member Responsibilities

  1. Reviewers #1 and #2 read the proposal separately and write comments. There are two categories of responses: (1) ethical concerns, which the PI must address, and (2) methodological/design concerns which the PI is not required to respond to, but are simply meant to be helpful to the PI. In the communication to the PI, Reviewers should make very clear what type of feedback they are giving (ethical or methodological) and the steps the PI must take, if any, in order to obtain approval.
  2. Reviewer #2 sends his/her comments on the proposal to Reviewer #1.
  3. Reviewer #1 compares her/his own comments to that of Reviewer #2. If there are discrepancies, the two reviewers discuss the proposal further. If the reviewers still disagree, another committee member is asked to review the proposal. If there are no other committee members who are eligible to evaluate the proposal, a Psychology Department faculty member who is not on the committee will be asked to serve as an ad hoc reviewer.
  4. Once there is consensus among the reviewers, Reviewer #1 consolidates the responses, preserving the anonymity of the reviewers. Reviewer #1 emails the PI, copies it to the faculty advisor if the PI is a student, and also copies the email into the //Datastor/NetShare/PRB protocol folder. Emails should be saved as separate files, named with the PI last name protocol number and email# (e.g., email1, email2, email3).
  5. If the PI is asked to revise the proposal and address ethical concerns, he/she will make changes and resubmit the proposal via email to Reviewer #1 with a cover letter explaining how the reviewers' comments were addressed.
  6. Reviewer #1 copies the response into the //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/ folder and forwards it to Reviewer #2.
  7. There may be several rounds of correspondence between the Reviewers and the PI.  All email is copied into the //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/ folder.
  8. Once the proposal is approved, Reviewer #1 writes a final letter of approval and places it in the //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/ folder. Reviewer #1 emails the approval letter to the PI, and the faculty advisor if PI is a student, and to the PRB Chair.
  9. If the proposal is approved on ethical grounds but the reviewers have methodological suggestions, and if the PI makes changes, the PI will submit the revised proposal. Reviewer #1 copies the final version into the //Datastor/NetShare/PRB/ folder.