IRB Frequently Asked Questions

All IRB applications should be submitted at least one month prior to the intended start date of the research. The IRB review is an iterative process and can require the applicant to undergo multiple rounds of revisions before approval. The length of the process is impacted by the thoroughness of the application and speed of responses from the applicant for information and edits requested by the IRB reviewer.  

Any studies that involve human subjects that you will interact with and collect private, identifiable information on; studies involving children, prisoners or mentally disabled participants; studies that involve more than minimal risk to participants. For more information see What Needs IRB Approval.

First, make sure that you are already logged into your MyUSF account before accessing the AxiomMentor site. If you are logged into MyUSF and are seeing a login screen, be sure you are only entering the Institution ID (usfca) and not your user name or password and clicking on "Single Sign-On" and not "Login".

Please refer to the AxiomMentor login information page for more details. If you continue to have issues, please send an email to the IRB to request additional help. 

All completed applications are reviewed in the order they are received and can take up to 3 weeks to process. The majority of submissions are reviewed by individual IRB reviewers. Full board reviews are rare and scheduled on a case-by-case basis. Applications should be submitted at least one month prior to the proposed start date of the project to allow sufficient processing time.

You should begin your project discussion with your faculty advisor. Additional questions can be emailed to the IRB board. Once your application has been submitted, please direct all inquiries through your protocol at the AxiomMentor site located in My Applications and  by clicking on the Title. Use the Messages link in the upper right hand corner of the screen to send a message to IRB staff. 

Email notifications are automatically sent out to applicants when they submit a new application and when it is sent out for review. You can check the status of your application at any time by logging into the AxiomMentor site and locating your protocol in the My Applications section of the site. Any questions regarding submitted applications should be sent directly through the Messages function located in the upper right corner of your protocol page (you must first click on the title of your protocol to open the page). If you are not receiving email notifications, be sure to check your spam folder. Additional inquiries can also be sent to the IRB email and should include the Protocol ID in the subject line. 

The IRB board is not staffed full-time and does not have a phone number or physical office location. All inquiries should be sent directly to the IRB email. If your matter requires a phone conversation, an IRB member will arrange one with you via email.

You will not be able to get IRB approval. There is no allowance for retroactive approval in the federal regulations.

For research involving minors, the consent form must be signed by the parent or guardian of the minor, and the minor (when possible or appropriate) should sign a separate assent form. The assent form does not have to include all the elements of an informed consent document, but it must give the participant enough information about the project that he or she can make an informed choice about whether to participate. The assent form should also be written in a way that is appropriate to the age of the participant.  

Most likely it does. The determining factor is whether or not human subjects are involved in research. If you are unsure, please consult with the IRB board via email to find out. 

The IRB has not exempted specific disciplines from undergoing IRB review. If your protocol will engage human subjects, you need to have prior IRB approval. Some USF schools/colleges have been granted a blanket approval for their student's research. Check with your faculty advisor to determine if your school/college's department has been granted a blanket IRB approval. 

Additional documents can be submitted through your existing application on the AxiomMentor website. Locate your application through the My Applications view and click on the Title of your protocol. Click on the "Upload Docs" button at the top of the page. 

The IRB board is unable to provide rush reviews for applications. All applications are processed and reviewed in the order they are received and may take up to three weeks to complete. To ensure your application is not delayed in the review process, make sure your protocol application is thorough and all the necessary supporting documentation (completed application, informed consent document(s), survey/interview questions, etc.) has been provided with your submission. 

You will receive an automatically generated email from the AxiomMentor site when your application has been approved by the IRB. Make sure to check your spam folder if you are not receiving messages. 

The level of IRB review is determined by the level of risk to participants. If the wrong level of review is marked on the application, the IRB will correct the level and may ask the researcher to submit additional information. 

Informed consent is generally required for all human subjects research. Signed consent can be waived for some situations where the IRB determines that the study meets the criteria. If you are requesting to waive consent for your research, be sure to provide a thorough explanation in your application. 

If multiple institutions are engaged in a research project, an agreement can be enacted between the relevant IRBs so that only one IRB review is performed. The applicant must indicate in the IRB application the activities conducted at the other site(s), and if IRB approval has already been granted from the other site, include that approval notification with their submission. 

All communication is through email with the majority of notifications automatically generated directly from the AxiomMentor site. Because the emails are automatically generated, they can sometimes land in your spam folder. All notifications and communication regarding a submitted application will be generated through the AxiomMentor Messages function and should be responded to in the same way. IRB reviewers may also directly email applicants with questions or requests for revisions on their applications.  

Yes, we have the following informed consent documents available on our AxiomMentor website. They are located under the Documentation link in the Consent Forms folder. 

You must receive approval from the IRB prior to beginning participant recruitment, data collection or data analysis. 

Outside researchers are not currently being granted permission to access USF subjects.