T'was the Night Before Christmas at REO

T'was the night before Christmas, the campus was quiet, But the ethics reviewers were all starting to riot...

Susan Babcock, REO - 20 December 2019

T'was the night before Christmas, the campus was quiet,

But the ethics reviewers were all starting to riot;

The applications had been sent to their inboxes with care,

In hopes that APPROVED would soon be stamped there;

The PIs were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of high impact papers danced in their heads.

The Coordinator with a snack, the Chair with a drink,

Had just settled themselves for a talk and a think

When from the ethics system there arose such a clatter,

They sprang from their desks to see what was the matter.

"Send back for revisions, this SOP's trash!

They can't possibly plan to give people cash!"

The comments were flying - critical and mad,

Quick ethics approval was not to be had.

Then, what to the Chair's wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

She knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they flew,

As he whistled, and called out each policy cue:

"Now GCP, now ICH! Now Health Canada Division Five!

TCPS2 and CCAC for all vertebrates alive!

From north of the pole to the barns at the farm

No matter the animal, we minimize harm!

When risks to participants grow higher,

Ethics review makes our research less dire!"

So, up to the office, the coursers they drew,

With the sleigh full of elves - and St Nicholas too:

And then in a twinkling, we heard them descend

Crying "Research must go on, there are files to amend!

The Coordinator said "Now all will be merry!"

The Chair nodded her head and tossed back her sherry.

They were dressed all in green, from their heads to their feet,

And they knew all the standards the PIs needed to meet.

Laptops and policies were arranged on the table

And they started to work as fast as they were able.

Their eyes, how they twinkled! Their dimples so sweet,

Every one of their revisions was thoughtful and neat.

"Implied consent is the best way to go

And this PI has a refinement to show.

Here's the IB to upload and the NOL too

We'll update the mouse SOPs all the way through."

With such reassuring words, they bent to their tasks

Answering every last question the reviewers had asked,

They worked through the applications, one by one,

And just before sunrise, they were finally done.

Shaking our hands and nodding their heads,

They gave us to know we had nothing to dread;

Our standards were sound, our processes too

There were some IT glitches, but only a few

Then, once all the approvals had been sent

They turned on their heels and up the chimney they went.

They sprang to their sleigh, to the team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:

But I heard St Nicholas say, ere they drove out of sight -

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.