JAE’s Institutional Review Board Policy

Contributed by Ryan Wheeler

In August 2021, the Journal of Archaeology & Education’s editorial board met via Zoom to consider a policy regarding Institutional Review Board or IRB approvals for research published in the journal. The IRB originated with the passage of the National Research Act in 1974 after a series of congressional hearings on human-subjects research, but can trace its origins to research that lacked informed consent, like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which began in the 1930s.

The JAE board agreed that since studies involving assessment and other types of educational research would normally require at least a minimal review, we needed to have an explicit statement that alerted author’s to the need for IRB approvals prior to executing their studies. Shortly after the meeting the JAE policy website was amended to include the following guidance:

All human subjects research results published by the Journal of Archaeology and Education (JAE) must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or an equivalent entity in the author’s country. The purpose of IRB review is to assure, both in advance and by periodic review, that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of people participating as subjects in your research. If you do not have an IRB affiliated with your organization, you must find a suitable IRB at a qualified university or other institution. Most universities have IRBs that will accept applications from outside their institution. Authors, especially those without an academic affiliation, could use an independent IRB, which is subject to the same federal regulations as universities. There may be fees associated with university and independent IRB reviews. The IRB protocol number assigned by your IRB must be included in the article. Manuscripts without IRB approval will not be considered for publication in JAE.

IRB policies at journals in medicine, psychology, and other fields that rely heavily on human-subjects research are usually brief. We felt, however, that the JAE policy needed to provide extra guidance as archaeologists expand their research to encompass educational studies on the effectiveness of teaching, assessment, work with students, and more. If you have questions about the JAE policy or how it might apply to your research, please contact the editors Jeanne Moe or Ryan Wheeler.

Work Duty: a Sign of Nearly Normal

Contributed by John Bergman-McCool

The arrival of COVID in March 2020 brought abrupt changes to the Peabody. Suddenly, we were working from home. We also canceled our volunteer program, and stopped hosting researchers, classes and work duty students. Gradually, a few staff started coming back in to the museum to continue (and finish!) the important collections inventory and rehousing project. To keep safe, we each had a floor to ourselves.

The library became my new workspace while we de-densified. It was a great location to inventory the very full drawers of material from the Mandan. Windows and a giant table, who could ask for anything more?

Vaccinations meant the return of our remaining staff and last summer we had volunteers and researchers back. This year’s fall term saw a return to nearly normal with classes and work duty students returning.

The return of students has been the single greatest change since we pulled back at the start of the pandemic. The building is periodically alive with the sounds of students again. Apparently, a place where students could gather and learn about archaeology were two of the conditions purportedly laid out by Robert S. Peabody when he founded the institution (source: Glory, Trouble, and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, page 4). In addition to our regular collections work, there is much more bustle as we pull items for classes and prepare for work duty students.

This year we have welcomed 16 work duty students back into the fold at the Peabody. They are currently engaged in several important projects, including revisiting items from the earliest stage of the inventory project. The students are adding a greater degree of detail to their descriptions, documenting additional notes and rehousing items per our updated standards. Others are learning how to write condition reports for the items pulled from collections for class lessons. Finally, work duty students have uploaded to our database nearly two-thousand slides from Copeland Marks’s travels that were digitized during our work-from-home phase.

Example of two drawers (left) before rehousing, (right) after rehousing.

We appreciate the help we receive from Andover students and are grateful that circumstances and planning have allowed them to return to us at the Peabody.

Work Duty students preparing to throw atlatl for a bit of end of term stress relief.