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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Are you attending the ‘Constructive voices’ panel discussions in November about the 2018 changes to the Australian Code and National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research?0

 

Just a reminder these online discussions are free, but you will need to RSVP. Details below. Recordings of the sessions will be available from our subscribers are (https://www.patreon.com/ahrecs).


Australian Code (2018) – 8 November 2018
https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/r41

New South Wales Thursday, 8 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
Western Australia  Thursday, 8 November at 11:30:00 am AWST UTC+8 hours
Australian Capital Territory Thursday, 8 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
Queensland Thursday, 8 November at 1:30:00 pm AEST UTC+10 hours
South Australia Thursday, 8 November at 2:00:00 pm ACDT UTC+10:30 hours
Northern Territory Thursday, 8 November at 1:00:00 pm ACST UTC+9:30 hours
Victoria  Thursday, 8 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
New Zealand  Thursday, 8 November at 4:30:00 pm NZDT UTC+13 hours

Moderator: Prof. Mark Israel
Guests: Jillian Barr (NHMRC) and Kandy White (Expert Working Committee and Director, Research Ethics and Integrity, Macquarie University)
Voices: Prof. Colin Thomson AM
Rapporteur: Dr Gary Allen

To RSVP:
Yes.AC_081118@ahrecs.com



National Statement (Updated 2018) – 22 November 2018

https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/national-statement-2018.pdf

New South Wales Thursday, 22 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
Western Australia  Thursday, 22 November at 11:30:00 am AWST UTC+8 hours
Australian Capital Territory Thursday, 22 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
Queensland Thursday, 22 November at 1:30:00 pm AEST UTC+10 hours
South Australia Thursday, 22 November at 2:00:00 pm ACDT UTC+10:30 hours
Northern Territory  Thursday, 22 November at 1:00:00 pm ACST UTC+9:30 hours
Victoria  Thursday, 22 November at 2:30:00 pm AEDT UTC+11 hours
New Zealand  Thursday, 22 November at 4:30:00 pm NZDT UTC+13 hours

Moderator: Prof. Colin Thomson AM
Guests: Jeremy Kenner (NHMRC), Professor Wendy Rogers (Chair National Statement Review Working Group, Macquarie University) and Associate Professor Pamela Henry (Newly appointed Chair of the ECU, Human Research Ethics Committee)
Voices: Dr Gary Allen

To RSVP:
Yes.NS_221118@ahrecs.com



PROFILES:

Dr Gary Allen (AHRECS)

Gary is a member of the National Statement Review Working Group and chaired the committee that drafted the revision to NS Chapter 3.1. He is the Managing Director of, and a Senior Consultant with, AHRECS. Gary has worked in the human research ethics and research integrity spheres since 1997. He was formerly a member of the NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee. Gary holds a social science doctorate and a bachelor of education.
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Jillian Barr (NHMRC)

Jillian Barr is the Director of Ethics and Integrity NHMRC. Jillian’s work involves developing a range of ethics guidelines and research standards including the recently released 2018 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the National Statement on Ethical conduct in Human Research and animal ethics guidelines. Jillian’s team is responsible for providing policy and guidance for Human Research Ethics Committees in Australia and for supporting the Australian Health Ethics Committee. Jillian is also responsible for research integrity matters that relate to research involving NHMRC funding.
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Associate Professor Pamela Henry

Associate Professor Pamela Henry is the Director of the Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change at ECU. She is also a newly appointed Chair of the ECU, Human Research Ethics Committee. Her role as the Director of the Sellenger Centre has seen her develop an extensive body of research in policing focused on integrity, use of information management systems, human source recruitment and management, use of force, policing those experiencing mental illness, and other programs of research examining the effectiveness of police operational deployment models. She also holds a PhD in Psychology.
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Professor Mark Israel (AHRECS)

Mark provides advice to higher education institutions, research agencies, government and non-government organisations in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and acts as an ethics reviewer and rapporteur for the European Research Council

As an Executive Director of and Senior Consultant with Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services, he works on institutional policy and practice in relation to research ethics and research integrity. Mark was a member of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Working Party responsible for revision of Section 3 of the National Statement. He was professor of law and criminology at Flinders University and University of Western Australia

He has a degree in law and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, criminology and education from Oxford (DPhil), Cambridge (MA, MPhil) and Flinders Universities (MEdStudies) respectively. He has over 90 publications in the areas of criminology and socio-legal studies, higher education policy and practice, and research ethics and integrity. His recent books include Research Ethics and Integrity for Social Scientists: Beyond Regulatory Compliance (Sage, 2015).
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Jeremy Kenner (NHMRC)

Jeremy is Expert Advisor for Ethics at NHMRC. At NHMRC, he contributes to the development of guidelines and advice on matters related to health and research ethics, research integrity and governance and clinical trials. Jeremy’s experience includes ethics administration at Peter Maccallum Cancer Centre, multiple roles in education and law practice. His various loyalties extend to Melbourne, Tasmania, Canada and the U.S
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Professor Wendy Rogers (Professor of Clinical Ethics, Macquarie University)

Wendy Rogers is Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University and Deputy Director of the Macquarie University Research Centre on Agency, Values and Ethics, with strong interests in healthcare policy and practice. During her first term on the Australian Health Ethics Committee she served on the working party responsible for the 2007 revision of the National Statement. Since 2010, she has been Chair of the working party on the current rolling revision of the National Statement. Her research interests include over diagnosis, ethics of surgical practice and research, transplant abuse and vulnerability.
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Professor Colin Thomson AM (AHRECS)

Colin Thomson AM is a senior consultant with Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty. Ltd. (AHRECS) and a former Professor in Health Law and Ethics in Graduate Medicine, University of Wollongong and positions in law faculties at the Australian National University and the University of Wollongong.

He was a member of the Medical Research Ethics Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), a member and chair of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and Consultant in Health Ethics to the NHMRC.

As a consultant, he conducted training for human research ethics committees (HRECs) in State Health departments in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania and in universities in all States and territories; certification assessments for the NHMRC National Certification Scheme and advised government departments in the Commonwealth, NSW and Victoria.

He has been a member and chair of multiple HRECs in universities, local health districts, government departments and public sector agencies.

In 2018, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to medical research and research ethics.
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Dr Karolyn (Kandy) White

Kandy is the Director, Research Ethics and Integrity at Macquarie University. Kandy has taught research ethics to undergraduate and postgraduate student both in Australia and overseas as well as to ethics committee members. She Chairs a Social Science and Humanities Human Research Ethics Committee. Kandy has been the Chair of the AEN Advisory Group, co-convenor of ARMS Research Ethics and Integrity SIG, a member of the national Code Review Committee established to revise the Australian Code and Chair of the Better Practice Guides (BPG) working group responsible for developing the Investigation Guide.
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Save the Date (please)0

Posted by Admin in AHRECS Admin, Human Research Ethics, Research Integrity on August 27, 2018
 

Constructive Voices: Implementing the 2018 updates to the National Statement and Australian Code
Get answers to your questions and hear essential implementation tips

The 2018 changes to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research are significant. However, identifying and meeting new requirements by their respective due dates – Australian Code (30 June 2019) and National Statement (31 December 2018) – can seem daunting. In addition, a focus just on compliance may make it harder to take advantage of the opportunities for constructive changes to policies and processes that might enhance ethical conduct and responsible research practice.

Your research office staff, HREC Chairs and members, Research Ethics Advisers/Research Integrity Advisers and research community may have ideas for implementing the two documents, but are they sound and how will they compare to better practices elsewhere in the Australian sector?
In November 2018, AHRECS is hosting two panel discussions to help answer those questions and consider how best to implement changes.\

Australian Code panel discussion: 8 November at 14:30 (ADST)
National Statement panel discussion: 22 November at 14:30 (ADST)

The three-person panel discussions will be moderated by Mark Israel (Australian Code discussion) and Colin Thomson (National Statement discussion), will include senior nominees of the NHMRC and experienced HREC Chairs/research office staff (the final panel members will be confirmed in October).

People considering attending are asked to send a blank email to:

Yes.AC_081118@ahrecs.com
Yes.NS_221118@ahrecs.com

Attendees are invited to provide in advance the questions they would like discussed by the panel and there will be facility to type questions to the panel.

The events will use Zoom’s webinar function (which attendees will need to install on their computer/device prior to the event) and will be recorded. Attending the webinars is free, and a copy of the recordings will be available from the AHRECS Subscribers’ area.

Please send any questions about these events to gary.allen@ahrecs.com.

PDF copy of this date claimer.

It’s not (just) about the money0

 

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are a mid-career university researcher with growing expertise in a particular field. A pharmaceutical company contacts you and says that it would like to recognise the important work you are doing in this area, and has asked you to choose among the following forms of recognition:

  1. $10,000 towards a research project related to one of the company’s drugs.
  2. Being chosen as a Keynote Speaker to present at a prestigious conference, with no honorarium.
  3. Being invited to join an international advisory board.

What would you choose? Would you choose the money? Or is there something appealing about the acknowledgement of your expertise in Option B, or impressive status associated with Option C?

Perhaps simply contemplating these questions makes you feel uncomfortable. After all, as medical researchers, questioning what motivates our behaviour or actions beyond the pursuit of scientific knowledge is not exactly pleasant. We like to think that we act in a way that is free from bias – and that while other researchers may have conflicts of interest, we certainly do not. Or not at least conflicts of interest that matter. Which begs the question – what types of things create conflicts of interest (COI)? Is it only when money enters the equation, or are there other forces at play?

It would appear, from the emphasis placed on financial COIs by medical journals, conference organisers and professional societies, that only money matters (Komesaroff et al. (2012), JAMA (2017). The COI disclosure forms that we dutifully complete tend to focus on financial COI and are comparatively vague when it comes to the declaration of non-financial COI (if indeed such declaration is required at all). Similarly, the disclosure statements made by speakers at conferences tend to take the form of ‘Dr X received $$$ from Company Y, $$ from Company Z’ and on the list goes.

But we believe that this exclusive emphasis on money overlooks many other non-financial interests that can create significant COI. These may stem from personal or religious beliefs – for example, Christian views about the moral status of the embryo held by legislators and scientists undoubtedly played a major role in the securing the prohibition of public funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Non-financial COI may also arise from a researcher’s desire for status or respect. As the case study illustrates, pharmaceutical companies may utilise both financial and non-financial incentives to encourage industry collaboration and promote industry agendas.

Personal circumstances and relationships also have the potential to give rise to non-financial COI – for example, if a member of a drug regulatory agency had a close relative who could benefit from the subsidisation of a drug under consideration this would constitute an obvious non-financial COI. Interests such as these have long been recognised in other contexts, including in the public sector (Australian Public Service Commission (2017), OECD (2003)). The OECD Managing conflicts of interest in the public service guidelines state that any ‘forward looking’ policy should describe non-financial sources of COI – including non-financial personal interests and relationships (OECD). The Australian Public Service Commission also specifies that social relationships and personal interests should be declared by employees.

We argue that to overlook non-financial COIs is problematic for several reasons (Wiersma et al. (2018a), Wiersma et al. (2018b). Most importantly, disregarding non-financial COI ignores the fact that serious harm may arise from such conflicts. We need look no further than the notorious Tuskegee scandal (Toy (2017) or Guatemalan ‘research’ (Subramanian (2017) to see that the drive to satisfy scientific curiosity can not only cloud researchers’ judgement, but can also cause significant harm to (unwilling or unknowing) participants.

Furthermore, ignoring non-financial COI also fails to take into account the fact that financial and non-financial COI are frequently entwined. For example, recognition by the pharmaceutical industry as a ‘Key Opinion Leader’ is not only associated with financial remuneration (for example, speaker’s fees), but also status and prestige.

We have also argued that non-financial COI can be managed using similar strategies to those used to manage financial COI (Wiersma et al. (2018a) There is no reason, for example, that a person on a drug regulatory committee could not disclose that they have a relative with a medical condition that may benefit from the drug under consideration and recuse themselves from voting in relation to that particular drug.

Of course, given the highly personal nature of some non-financial interests, it is important that declaration should only be required when evidence indicates that these may lead to a non-financial COI. Here we can draw from the Australian Public Service Commission guidelines which state that a personal interest does not lead to a conflict of interest unless there is ‘real or sensible’ (not merely theoretical) possibility of conflict.It is also crucial that declarations are handled with discretion.

None of this is to disregard the difficulties in determining what precisely constitutes a conflict of interest in medicine and how these should be managed. Medical researchers and practitioners have long grappled with these questions, and heated debate as to what should or should not be considered a ‘COI’ and what types of COI should be managed continues to this day (Bero 2017, Wiersma et al. (2018b).

However, we believe that acknowledging the importance of non-financial COI may be the starting point for a more sophisticated approach to managing both financial and non-financial COI in health and biomedicine. Perhaps most importantly, by acknowledging that we are all conflicted in certain ways, and that having a COI is not necessarily ‘bad,’ we may be able to take some of the ‘sting’ out of the label. And this may, in turn, encourage open discussion and disclosure of both financial and non-financial COI, enhance our understanding of COIs in general, and help us develop and refine a more nuanced approach to all forms of COI.

References

Australian Public Service Commission (2017) Values and code of conduct in practice.Australian Government. Available from: https://www.apsc.gov.au/aps-values-and-code-conduct-practice

Bero, L. (2017) Addressing bias and conflict of interest among biomedical researchers. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 317(17): 1723-4.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association (2017) Conflict of interest theme issue. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 317 (17):1707-1812. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/issue/317/17

Komesaroff, P., Kerridge, I. & Lipworth, W. (2012) Don’t show me the money: the dangers of non-financial conflicts. The Conversation. March 30. Available from: https://theconversation.com/dont-show-me-the-money-the-dangers-of-non-financial-conflicts-5013

OECD (2003) Managing conflict of interest in the public service. OECD guidelines and country experiences. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/governance/ethics/48994419.pdf

Subramanian, S. (2017) Worse than Tuskegee. Slate26. Available from: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/cover_story/2017/02/guatemala_syphilis_experiments_worse_than_tuskegee.html

Toy, S. (2017) 45 years ago, the nation learned about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Its repercussions are still felt today. USA Today. Available from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/25/tuskegee-syphilis-study-its-repercussions-still-felt-today/506507001/

Wiersma, M., Kerridge I. & Lipworth, W. (2018a) Dangers of neglecting non-financial conflicts of interest in health and medicine. Journal of Medical Ethics, 44: 319-322. Available from: https://jme.bmj.com/content/44/5/319

Wiersma, M., Kerridge I. Lipworth, W. & Rodwin, M. (2018b) Should we try and manage non-financial interests? British Medical Journal, 361: k1240. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k1240

Conflicts of interest: All authors had financial support from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC, grant number APP1059732) for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Contributors
Miriam Wiersma, Ian Kerridge and Wendy Lipworth

This post may be cited as:
Wiersma, M., Kerridge, I. and Lipworth, W. (22  August 2018) It’s not (just) about the money. Research Ethics Monthly. Retrieved from: https://ahrecs.com/research-integrity/its-not-just-about-the-money

We invite debate on issues raised by items we publish. However, we will only publish debate about the issues that the items raise and expect that all contributors model ethical and respectful practice.

New resources coming soon from AHRECS0

 

AHRECS has always had two primary missions: to provide relevant and up-to-date information services on human research ethics and research integrity and to provide expert consultancy services in those areas. We have developed and maintain free services – the Research Ethics Monthly and the Resources Library – that feedback shows are increasingly used and valued. We actively maintain these by regular surveying relevant literature to identify items of interest and value. We have attracted a regular community of readers and user of our services.

We have come to the view that, in order to ensure that these are maintained, a subscriber or patronage arrangement is needed. This patrons’ area will provide additional online services and resources.

We plan to establish such a subscription/patron’s area on 1 July. Our aim is to make available to subscribers material that supplements what we continue to offer at no charge and so rewards those who commit to this way of supporting us.

There will be different financial levels of patronage, starting at 1USD a month. For research institutions, our expectation is that one (for example, the ethics manager) or two (the HREC Chair as well) would become patrons, but we would of course be delighted if members of the research ethics committees and researchers (from all disciplines and across career stages) who are an important intended audience for this new material, decide to become AHRECS patrons.

The kinds of things that will be available are:

(i) Vignettes on human research ethics/research integrity topics;

(ii) Commentaries (about 300 words) on breaking news and significant research outputs;

(iii) A few times a year a group Q&A session with one of the AHRECS consultants;

(iv) Booklets and resource papers; and

(v) Periodic webinars on topics nominated by patrons.

The information and resources will be shared on a non-commercial creative commons basis.

On the more fun side of things, patrons will be able to download images AHRECS have commissioned for use in professional development workshops and receive free mugs/desktop mice pads.

The base level of subscription will grant access to an exclusive behind the scenes feed from the AHRECS team.

The monthly payments will be via Patreon and Paypal and can be discontinued or modified at any time without losing the right to use already downloaded material.

We’re excited by this new way to engage with the human research ethics and research integrity communities.

Rest assured the Resource Library and Research Ethics Monthly will continue and remain free.

The Contributors
Gary Allen, Mark Israel and Colin Thomson – senior consultants AHRECS

This post may be cited as:
Allen G., Israel M. and Thomson C. (22 June 2018) New resources coming soon from AHRECS. Research Ethics Monthly. Retrieved from: https://ahrecs.com/ahrecs-admin/new-resources-coming-soon-from-ahrecs

We invite debate on issues raised by items we publish. However, we will only publish debate about the issues that the items raise and expect that all contributors model ethical and respectful practice.

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