ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Harassment in the Field – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 17, 2017

Study finds patterns of harassment and sexist treatment of scholars in far-flung locations that offer few of the protections of campuses.

Many institutional (and national) human research ethics/research ethics arrangements don’t give much attention (if any) to risks to researchers. Consequently strategies to mitigate those risks (such as the sickening ones discussed in this piece) are rarely within the remit of research ethics committees. But these matters are risks that demand discussion and need to be addressed.

Many academics regard fieldwork — the chance to make discoveries and come face-to-face with what they’ve spent years studying — as a career highlight. Beyond that, it’s a crucial to career development. So a 2014 study highlighting widespread sexual harassment at academic field sites struck a chord — or rather, was so discordant with many scientists’ perceptions of what fieldwork should be that it’s still frequently cited.

Last week, for example, Science offered the grim finding of that 2014 study as background in a major story on Boston University investigating its chair of Earth and environment for alleged sexual harassment of trainees in Antarctica. Some 71 percent of 512 self-selecting female respondents reported being sexually harassed during fieldwork, the overwhelmingly majority of them trainees at the time, according to the study.

Read the rest of this discussion piece
Also see this academic paper about this study

Coming to Grips with Coauthor Responsibility – TheScientist (Catherine Offord | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2017

The scientific community struggles to define the duties of collaborators in assuring the integrity of published research.

When a research output is retracted there can be serious and long lasting impacts on coauthors, even if they weren’t aware of the wrongdoing. This raises the questions: do we need to consistently record the contributions of collaborators; do we need more information when a retraction occurs; and do we need more clarity about the responsibilities of coauthors? Thought provoking stuff.

When cancer researcher Ben Bonavida accepted a visiting graduate student from Japan into his lab at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) just over a decade ago, he treated Eriko Suzuki like every other student he had supervised for the past 30 years. “I met with her regularly,” Bonavida recalls. “We went over her data, she showed me all the Westerns, all the experiments.” After months spent working on the cancer therapeutic rituximab’s mechanism of action, “she presented her findings to me and the other collaborators in the lab, and based on that we published a paper in Oncogene.”

Appearing in 2007, the paper accrued nearly 40 citations over the next seven years. But in April 2014, the study gained a less favorable mention on PubPeer, a website where users anonymously discuss research articles, often raising possible causes for concern. One user noted that some of the Western blots used to support the paper’s conclusions looked suspicious. In particular, one figure appeared to contain a duplicated and slightly modified part of another image.

Read the rest of this discussion piece
Also see
The Retraction Watch online database

Searchable Retraction Watch database0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2017

A handy tool for vetting sources before referencing them

“And now, a sneak peek at something we know a lot of readers have been eagerly awaiting (as have we!): Our retraction database, being built with the generous support of the MacArthur and Arnold Foundations. It’s still a work in progress; we have a lot more retractions to enter, and we’ll be fixing bugs and adding functionality, but go to for a taste. You can search by country, author, DOI, reason for retraction, journal, and many more criteria. As always, we welcome your feedback.”

Access the database

Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers? (Papers: Martin Paul Eve and Ernesto Priego | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 9, 2017

Abstract: ‘Predatory publishing’ refers to conditions under which gold open access academic publishers claim to conduct peer review and charge for their publishing services but do not, in fact, actually perform such reviews. Most prominently exposed in recent years by Jeffrey Beall, the phenomenon garners much media attention. In this article, we acknowledge that such practices are deceptive but then examine, across a variety of stakeholder groups, what the harm is from such actions to each group of actors. We find that established publishers have a strong motivation to hype claims of predation as damaging to the scholarly and scientific endeavour while noting that, in fact, systems of peer review are themselves already acknowledged as deeply flawed.

Keywords: Open Access, Scholarly Communications, Predatory Publishing, Evaluative Cultures, Academia

Eve PM & Priego E (2017) Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers? Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society. 15(2)
Publisher (Open access):

This thought-provoking open access paper explores an important question that is often not carefully considered: Who is actually harmed by predatory publishers? The answer to that question then inevitably prompts a reflection on why those harms occur and perhaps provides a frame for discussions about publication ethics with HDR candidates and other early career researchers. See the August 2017 post in the Research Ethics Monthly blog by Israel and Allen ( about identifying where not to publish.