Some of the world's leading research universities plan a new cooperative venture in which they will share faculty members and students and build what its leaders call a "global partnership."
Details about the arrangement are vague -- so vague, in fact, that officials at the two American institutions planning to be involved, Yale and the University of California at Berkeley, aren't ready to talk about it yet.
For decades, but especially in recent years, social scientists have been frustrated by institutional review boards, campus bodies that must approve studies involving human subjects.
The IRB's, as they are called, are best known for their work on informed consent with medical research. But the boards also must approve projects in which sociologists conduct surveys or do interviews -- even though such work doesn't pose any of the dangers of, say, a drug whose side effects could be deadly.