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(Queensland, Australia) Ex-judge to investigate controversial marine research – Times Higher Education (John Ross | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on January 11, 2020
 

An Australian university has launched an investigation into the research record of a discredited scientist it educated, as findings by academics who supervised her doctoral training are challenged.

James Cook University said it has appointed an external panel to look for evidence of misconduct in the research conducted by marine biologist Oona Lönnstedt between 2010 and 2014, when she was undertaking PhD studies at the Queensland institution.

The university said the panel’s as yet unidentified members include “eminent academics with expertise in field work, marine science and ethics” and a former federal court judge.

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(Queensland, Australia) Analysis challenges slew of studies claiming ocean acidification alters fish behavior – Scienced0

Posted by Admin in on January 11, 2020
 

Over the past decade, marine scientists published a series of studies warning that humanity’s burgeoning carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could cause yet another devastating problem. They reported that seawater acidified by rising CO2—already known to threaten organisms with carbonate shells and skeletons, such as corals—could also cause profound, alarming changes in the behavior of fish on tropical reefs. The studies, some of which made headlines, found that acidification can disorient fish, make them hyperactive or bolder, alter their vision, and lead them to become attracted to, rather than repelled by, the smell of predators. Such changes, researchers noted, could cause populations to plummet.

But in a Nature paper published today, researchers from Australia, Canada, Norway, and Sweden challenge a number of those findings. In a major, 3-year effort that studied six fish species, they could not replicate three widely reported behavioral effects of ocean acidification. The replication team notes that many of the original studies came from the same relatively small group of researchers and involved small sample sizes. That and other “methodological or analytical weaknesses” may have led the original studies astray, they argue.

“It’s an exceptionally thorough replication effort,” says Tim Parker, a biologist and an advocate for replication studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Marine scientist Andrew Esbaugh of the University of Texas, Austin, agrees that it’s “excellent, excellent work.”

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Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector (University Foreign Interference Taskforce November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 28, 2019
 

CONTEXT STATEMENT

A defining factor in the world-class performance and reputation of Australia’s university system is its openness to the world. the globally engaged nature of our universities is indispensable to their success. Indeed, it is the bedrock of their competitiveness.

This global engagement enables Australia to make cutting-edge research breakthroughs as our own world-class academics work in collaboration with others worldwide at the forefront of their field. It enables us to educate many of the world’s best students, who return home after graduation with an enduring knowledge of, and lifelong affection for Australia, a powerful soft power asset for the nation. It enables Australia to recruit outstanding global experts to teach and conduct research in our universities, catapulting our capacity ahead of our competitors. And it ensures the learning and the alumni networks of Australian university students are enriched by classmates from all around the world. International experience and collaboration is integral to the academic career path around the world. A global exchange of ideas is enabled by this exchange of people.

The Australian government supports such international collaborations through its programs and policy settings across a wide range of initiatives and portfolios. these include appropriate visa settings and the new global talent visa; a comprehensive program of Australian trade commission work to promote international education; the new colombo Plan; the eligibility of international academics for several Australian national competitive grant schemes; the provision of targeted research funds such as the Australia-china science and Research Fund and the Australia-India strategic Research Fund; and providing support for Australian students and academic staff to travel internationally…

CONTENTS
Context Statement 4
the threat environment 6
Introduction 7
How to use these guidelines 9
Governance and risk frameworks 10
Due diligence 14
Communication and education 20
Knowledge sharing 22
Cyber security 24
Best practice considerations 25
Appendix 1: University Foreign Interference Taskforce 33
Appendix 2: Government departments and contacts 34
Appendix 3: Case studies 38
Appendix 4: Scenario 40
Appendix 5: Glossary 41
Appendix 6: Acronyms 43
Appendix 7: Resources and guidance materials 44

University Foreign Interference Taskforce (2019). Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector. Retrieved from Analysis and Policy Observatory Website: 29/12/19
https://apo.org.au/node/267726

Disaster-zone research needs a code of conduct – Nature (JC Gaillard & Lori Peek | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 10, 2019
 

Study the effects of earthquakes, floods and other natural hazards with sensitivity to ethical dilemmas and power imbalances.

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked Anchorage, Alaska, in late November 2018. Roads buckled and chimneys tumbled from rooftops. Business operations were disrupted. Schools were damaged across the district. This was the largest earthquake to shake the region in a generation, and there was much to learn. What was the state of the infrastructure? Might further quakes occur? How did people respond? Teams of scientists and engineers from across the United States mobilized to conduct field reconnaissance in partnership with local researchers and practitioners. These efforts were coordinated through the clearing house set up by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in Oakland, California, which provided daily in-person and online briefings, as well as a web portal for sharing data.

This discussion is especially relevant at the moment given the bushfires/megafires raging in Australia (and California) and the volcano eruption on White Island, New Zealand.  Our sincere best wishes and hopes to anyone affected by these awful disasters.

But researchers are not always so welcome in disaster zones. After the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on 26 December 2004, hundreds of academics from countries including Japan, Russia, France and the United States rushed to the region to collect perishable data. This influx of foreign scientists angered and fatigued some locals; many declined researchers’ requests for interviews. The former governor of Aceh province, Indonesia, where more than 128,000 people died, described foreign researchers as “guerrillas applying hit-and-run tactics”1. Yet research on tsunami propagation and people’s response to the event has led to improved warnings and emergency-response plans.
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When, on 28 September 2018, an earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dozens of researchers found themselves unable to enter the country2. Indonesian law now requires foreign scientists to obtain a special visa before they can begin research. Data-collection protocols must be submitted to the government in advance and projects must have an Indonesian partner. Violators could face criminal charges and even prison.
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