Can reading Australian novels help us become more ethical researchers?
If someone asked you for some recommended reading or viewing to help them understand human research ethics, animal ethics or research integrity, what would you recommend?
The policies and standards issued by National governments, learned societies, funding bodies and academic publications are generally not especially engaging or entertaining.
In this blog post, Sally Dalton-Brown discusses a couple of options from the streaming and fiction publishing offerings.
They won’t exactly discuss, explain or define the principles of ethical or responsible conduct. Neither will they explain how to adhere to national requirements or instutiona policy. That isn’t surprising, but that is probably not the point. Entertainment, enjoyment and a bit of fun is a great way to engage people with the important elements of ethical and responsible behaviour in the design and conduct of research.
This material could be usefully included in the resource library for members of an institution’s research ethics committee.
AHRECS expands to encompass animal ethics
In this short post AHRECS consultant, Amanda Fernie discusses the animal ethics services that AHRECS now provides and are experienced in, in this complex and important area of research governance.
Amanda is one of the recent additions to the AHRECS team.
She brings considerable experience as someone who has worked as an animal ethics officer and as a manager of a Research Ethics and Research Integrity team.
Even more than is a case for Human Research Ethics, Animal Ethics is an area that cannot be purely approached as a matter of technical regulation where researchers and institutions must comply with relevant laws and ethical codes. This is NOT a useful approach to Animal Ethics. It also unlikely to prompt researchers to approach the topic in a way that it thoughtful, reflective and engaged.
Considering matters such as the sufficiency of environmental enrichment and techniques is not merely a matter of whether a proposed approach complies with the law. It requires a far more thoughtful reflection on animal welfare and respect. What was appropriate 20 years ago is unlikely to be acceptable now.
The AHRECS team brings together considerable experience and insight into international best practice.
Contact us on email@example.com if you would like to discuss how we can assist your institution.
AHRECS and Animal Ethics
During 2021 and 2022, AHRECS has been compiling an animal ethics team and we were thrilled when Dr Amanda Fernie joined our team. She is both an experienced researcher, a very experienced animal ethics officer and a former manager of a research and research integrity team at a large Australian university.
In this post, she discusses the animal ethics services AHRECS now provides, as well as the support we have been providing and the contribution we are making in the animal ethics sphere.
This is an excellent discussion of the range of services that AHRECS provides
For example, AHRECS has considerable experience in the design and delivery of professional development in the animal ethics space.
If you are interested in engaging AHRECS for us to assist with your institution’s animal ethics needs, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can contact Erich Von Dietze on email@example.com. Erich is the senior consultant who is leading our experienced animal ethics team.
Effective use of research management systems
In this post, Michael Creevey (the CEO of Endpoint IQ) discusses the effective and constructive use of research management systems, including research ethics modules.
He discusses how a system can be used to resource and support a positive research culture within an institution.
Effective systems should provide the tools so users and their stakeholders can operate a constructive and value adding set of research governance arrangements (including Human Research Ethics, Animal Ethics and the related processes).
Michael discusses the origins of Endpoint IQ and how it was informed by the perspectives, needs and aspirations of research managers and researchers in Australia.
AHRECS is very conscious of the degree to which we have a conflict of interest in this space, but we think the Endpoint IQ system is excellent and is worth a serious look. We have an ongoing good relationship with Michael and the Endpoint IQ team, we have also partnered with them in bids in New Zealand. We also have a small financial connection to them. This conflict notwithstanding, we encourage research institutions to have a serious look at this system.
Even though Endpoint IQ is an excellent system, there are a number of other research management systems that are commendable and can perform similar (but not identical) functions to those of Endpoint IQ.
HREC and AEC Workshops in Perth
AHRECS is conducting Human Research Ethics and Animal Ethics workshops in Perth in November.
Wed 3 November 2021 – Animal Ethics workshop
The theme this year focuses on managing large groups of animals such as in laboratories, farms and in the wild. Researchers are adept at managing animals, but when the numbers become very large things can become ethically complex. For instance, how are the 3R principles being met?[iv] Further, when there is overlap between research and the management of a farm or when research is focused on the needs of wildlife the ethical complexities of managing animals as part of research can increase. What are the key issues an AEC needs to focus on and how is this best approached? Expert speakers will address these issues covering the ethical considerations of integrating research into large farm operations, the ethical issues of undertaking environmental research involving large numbers of animals, and a panel of experts will discuss the ethical issues encountered when managing large laboratory projects involving animals.
Wed 17 November – Human Ethics workshop
The theme this year focuses on “what I wish I knew before I started”. It is not uncommon for research to raise ethical questions that were not…
Complainant anonymity in misconduct proceedings depends on the forum
Prof. Colin Thomson AM, Senior Consultant, AHRECS This news item, while identifying the fact that
You must be this ethical…
In this controversial post, AHRECS Senior Consultant Dr Gary Allen poses the challenging question: Should institutions with lean and fast proportional review arrangements leverage them as incentives for ethical behaviour.
AHRECS recommends institutions resourcing reflective practice, rather than police compliance (https://www.ahrecs.com/resources/resourcing-reflective-practice-whiteboard-video-7-5-min) but could such a systemic reward be helpful?
He discusses the behaviour that could be rewarded and how the reward might function.
The post suggests the arrangements, processes and data collection institutions will need to have in place to make such a reward system work.
While we are generally not fans of introducing any punitive element to human research ethics, preferring collegiate approaches that are focussed constructively on an institution’s research culture, this is an interesting idea. It is worth further serious consideration.
Stop centring Western academic ethics: deidentification in social science research – Anna Denejkina
This blog will provide a discussion of issues present in deidentifying marginalised research participants,
Heeding our stories: Getting the most from a reference group in disability research
Gary Allen, Carolyn Ehrlich, Michael Norwood, Delena Amsters and Maddy Slattery’s post reflecting on great engagements with disability reference groups.
Here, we aim to share insights from a group of Griffith University researchers and a consumer reference group, who worked together on a research project during the development of materials and methods, as well as in the dissemination of research outcomes. The research project we conducted aimed to explore the research experience of people with acquired disability. We wanted to understand what researchers could do better to be more inclusive of people who are often described as vulnerable or marginalised by the National Statement and subsequently Human Research Ethics Committees. We wanted to know how to best include them as participants in, rather than subjects of, research.
This is not a post advocating for the use of reference groups for research involving those with disability and chronic health conditions. Calls for respectful inclusion have already been eloquently made…