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International Research

For researchers interested in pursuing international studies, we recommend starting the preparation at least eight months in advance. There are several concerns related to data privacy laws, export control regulations, collaboration with international colleagues, CSUSM state-issued computer regulations and CSUSM international travel guidelines that need to be addressed before applying for IRB approval.

1. Contact to schedule a meeting at the initial stage of your research preparation so we can help you prepare your IRB package.

    • This meeting will address issues related to research concerns related to export control. An export control assessment will be done to determine if an export license(s) is/are needed. Please see the Office of Graduate Studies and Research’s Export Control webpage and IITS’ Export Control webpage for more information.
    • We will also consider what data protection laws are in effect in the country of your proposed research and what additional materials may be needed in your IRB package to address relevant data protection laws.
    • Note that if you need to apply for an export control license, processing of the application can take up to six months for review and approval by the federal government.

2. If your proposed research involves travel to another country, check the CSUSM Travel Safety webpage before planning your research. Note that you will not be able to take any CSUSM computers or mobile devices to any country classified as a high-risk, Level 4 country.

3. Take the CITI training in Export Control and Undue Foreign Influence by following these instructions:

    • Go to the CITI Program website.
    • In the top-right corner, click Log In.
    • Select Log In Through My Organization and search for California State University San Marcos.
    • Click Continue, and use your campus credentials to log in using the single sign-on (SSO) feature. You do not need to create an account if you already have a CSUSM-affiliated email.
    • Once you are logged in, under Institutional Courses, click View Courses next to where it says California State University San Marcos, and select the courses relevant to you by taking a brief questionnaire.
    • Save the certifications to upload to your IRB application.

4. Fill out the current limited/expedited/full IRB application. This application was revised in Fall 2023 to specifically address concerns related to international research, including:

  • New subsections in the Faculty/Staff Investigator section list determining the need for a reliance agreement:
    • Does the proposed study involve research team members from outside institutions?
    • If yes, list the other institutions or organizations involved.
  • A section on International Research:
    • Does the proposed study involve international research (i.e., research or participants that reside outside of the U.S. or research that will take place outside of the U.S.)? 
    • If yes, list the countries involved, along with the following information listed for each of your international collaborators including co-investigators, research assistants, data handlers, or people helping you recruit study participants: name and professional title (if used), institutional affiliation, work e-mail, and work phone number.
    • A reminder about initial steps: Note that if you are proposing international research, you may need to include additional consent procedures and other materials in your package that address relevant data protection laws. In addition, if your research includes international activities, be sure to refer to the Office of Graduate Studies & Research’s Export Control webpage.
    • An export control assessment will need to be done to determine if an export license(s) is/are needed. Contact OGSR at before submitting your IRB package to discuss whether your research is subject to Export Controls and/or data protection laws.
  • Checklist items
    • Addressing the verification of translation form needed for consent and assent forms and materials in languages other than English and Spanish
    • Addressing forms specific to international research (e.g., special consent forms to address data protection issues in another country, forms for data handlers, export control forms, Export Control CITI training certification if export controls are relevant to your research, etc.
  • A section addressing possible financial conflicts of interest and if relevant, how harms to participants stemming from these conflicts will be minimized.

5. Fill out the current adult consent form template noting that there may be additional consent language needed for your consent form and/or additional forms needed depending on the country/countries involved. The English form will need to be translated into the language of the participants you are recruiting, and a verification of translation form should be submitted, which is found on the Application Forms webpage.

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