This is good news indeed. It looks like oral historians working at colleges and universities will no longer have to worry about Institutional Review Boards.
From the Oral History Association:
On September 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a set of recommended revisions to the regulations concerning human subject research. Specifically, it recommended that oral history be explicitly excluded from review by institutional review boards, or IRBs, and alluded to the fact that oral history already has its own code of ethics, including the principle of informed consent.
This is potentially a big breakthrough in what has been a twenty-year struggle over oral history and IRB review. The Oral History Association is collaborating with other professional associations to develop a collective response to the recommendations, and will be developing its own response. There is also a 90 day period during which individuals and organizations may add their own commentary.
For more information go to the Institutional Review Blog maintained by George Mason University professor Zachary Schrag: Institutional Review Blog.
The OHA will continue to monitor and publicize new developments as they take place.