Is there open source software that a hospital's IRB can run which permits electronic submission and ongoing management? For it to be useful it needs to have an active (or at least more active than dormant) developer community and user community.

Open source software has a more communicative and more capable user base than proprietary software. The online help I have seen for open source software is the best I have seen. Furthermore, data is generally stored in non-proprietary formats that make it easier to move to a different platform or to query.

  • The application forms (and the specific information required) vary from institution based on each institution's own policies for IRB proposals. I don't believe that there's any reasonable way to construct a software package for this that doesn't incorporate local policies. Apr 12, 2016 at 22:09
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    @BrianBorchers There are indeed commercial packages such as IRBManager and I believe they supply a framerwork to which an creates its forms and puts in "rules" in accordance with its own standard operating procedures.
    – Farrel
    Apr 12, 2016 at 22:14
  • Alfresco is an open source document management system where administrator can set up workflow of arbitrary complexity using a graphical workflow designer. It is not IRB-specific but has been used as a base to build a system to manage drug approval applications in Spain, for instance.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Apr 13, 2016 at 6:27

1 Answer 1


It could well be worth taking a look at GNUMed and contacting the developers to see if there are plans for, or interest in, developing IRB functionality.

I am reasonably sure that, given the highly tailor-able nature of GNUMed, it would be reasonably simple to implement your institutions forms, records & rules within the existing GNUMed framework there is an extensive list of the current features here.

  • Free - Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform - Windows, OS-X & Linux
  • Active developer community - Yes
  • Internationalisation (I18n) - Yes
  • Does not currently have IRB functionality but a lot of the required features are already present, possibly they just need grouping together.

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