NCAI PRC Publishes Papers on Research Regulation in AI/AN Communities

Research regulation is becoming an increasingly important issue for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center (NCAI PRC) has recently published two papers about research regulation policies and practices, authored by Puneet Chawla Sahota. These two papers suggest strategies that communities can use to maximize possible benefits from research and minimize its potential harms.

The first paper, Research Regulation in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities: Policy and Practice Considerations , describes different ways to institutionalize research regulation in communities. This paper reviews the legal basis for tribal regulation of research. It then describes different kinds of research review board structures communities might use and the pros and cons of each board structure. Possible review board options include Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), community advisory boards (CABs), and other review board structures. This paper also discusses jurisdictional issues, such as what kinds of research should be reviewed by community boards and how these boards might relate to federal and university research regulatory bodies. Finally, a brief discussion on methods for enforcing community research review decisions is included in this paper.

The second paper, Research Regulation in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities: A Guide to Reviewing Research Studies , provides a detailed discussion of each stage of research review from study proposals to publications. This paper is meant to serve as an interactive guide for communities to consult when they are reviewing research studies and includes a detailed checklist that can be used in the review process. The paper begins with a description of components that should be included in research proposals, such as informed consent procedures, data collection/storage methods, and budget/funding sources. Next, the paper describes issues communities may wish to consider when reviewing research proposals including control of data through written contracts and tribal law. Finally, the paper discusses community review of ongoing research studies and research publications, which can be a complex and challenging process.