Office of Responsible Research Practices
The Ohio State University

Common Rule Revisions

The resources below were developed to help the Ohio State human subjects research community understand the revisions to the Common Rule that went into effect on January 21, 2019. Please check back often as updates will be made on an ongoing basis.

What the Final Rule Changes Mean for Your Research
Overview Definitions
Continuing Review Exempt Research
Informed Consent Cooperative Research

Exempt Research Revisions

The revised common rule significantly impacts how minimal risk research is reviewed and as such, the categories of research that qualify for exemption have been expanded and revised. New categories were added and new processes created. The following is a summary of the main changes to exempt research affecting Ohio State researchers:

Exemption 1Modified

Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings that specifically involves normal educational practices, so long as the research is not likely to adversely affect students’ opportunity to learn required educational content or the assessment of educators who provide instruction.

Exemption 2Modified

The exemption applies to research that only includes interactions involving educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior (including visual or auditory recording) uninfluenced by the investigator if at least one of three criteria is met:

  • The information obtained is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that the identity of the human subject cannot readily be ascertained, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects;
  • Any disclosure of the human subjects’ responses outside the research would not reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability, educational advancement, or reputation; or
  • The information obtained is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that the identity of human subjects can readily be ascertained, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects, and an IRB conducts a limited IRB review to make the determination (there must be adequate provisions for protecting privacy and maintaining confidentiality).

Exemption 3New

Research involving benign behavioral interventions in conjunction with the collection of information from an adult subject.  Benign behavioral interventions are defined as being brief in duration, harmless, painless, not physically invasive, not likely to have a significant adverse lasting impact on the subjects, and the investigator has no reason to think the subjects will find the interventions offensive or embarrassing.  The IRB must conduct a limited IRB review to determine that there are adequate provisions for protecting privacy and maintaining confidentiality.  Examples:  subjects play an online game, solve puzzles under various noise conditions, or decide how to allocate a nominal amount of received cash between themselves and someone else.

Includes authorized deception.

Exemption 4Modified

Secondary research use of identifiable private information and identifiable biospecimens for which consent is not required, when:

  • The identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens are publicly available;
  • The information is recorded by the investigator in such a way that the identity of subjects cannot readily be ascertained, and the investigator does not contact subjects or try to re-identify subjects;
  • The secondary research activity is regulated under HIPAA;
  • The secondary research activity is conducted by or on behalf of a federal entity and involves the use of federally generated non-research information provided that the original collection was subject to specific federal privacy protections and continues to be protected.

The goal of the exemption is to facilitate secondary research using identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens that have been or will be collected or generated for nonresearch purposes or from research studies other than the proposed research study.

Exemption 5Modified

Public benefit and service programs and research and demonstration projects conducted or supported by a federal department or agency.

Exemption 6Unchanged

Exemptions 7 and 8New

Not available at Ohio State


Additional information and guidance can be found at Exempt Research.