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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Conceptualizing Fraudulent Studies as Viruses: New Models for Handling Retractions (Papers: Kathleen Montgomery & Amalya L. Oliver | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on January 9, 2017


This paper addresses the growing problem of retractions in the scientific literature of publications that contain bad data (i.e., fabricated, falsified, or containing error), also called “false science.” While the problem is particularly acute in the biomedical literature because of the life-threatening implications when treatment recommendations and decisions are based on false science, it is relevant for any knowledge domain, including the social sciences, law, and education. Yet current practices for handling retractions are seen as inadequate. We use the metaphor of a virus to illustrate how such studies can spread and contaminate the knowledge system, when they continue to be treated as valid. We suggest drawing from public health models designed to prevent the spread of biological viruses and compare the strengths and weaknesses of the current governance model of professional self-regulation with a proposed public health governance model. The paper concludes by considering the value of adding a triple-helix model that brings industry into the university-state governance mechanisms and incorporates bibliometric capabilities needed for a holistic treatment of the retraction process.

Knowledge management, Governance, False science, Bad data, Infection, Contact reporting, Retraction, Triple helix

Montgomery K & Oliver AL (2016) Conceptualizing Fraudulent Studies as Viruses: New Models for Handling Retractions. Minerva. doi:10.1007/s11024-016-9311-z

Generic Risks of Exporting Non-Ethical Practices0

Posted by Admin in on January 5, 2017

Executive Summary
The potential to be exploited is part of the human condition. Even superheroes usually have an Achilles’ heel, or vulnerability. Take for instance, Superman, whose vulnerability is kryptonite.

Exploiters take advantage of others’ vulnerabilities to promote their own interests. Whilst there is a morally neutral sense of exploitation (the exploitation of natural talents to create art, for example), the term is generally used to describe a moral failing.

Exploiting others is morally wrong.

This report is about the risks for exploitation for defined entities, in other words, ‘Achilles’ heels’ in research. What makes exploitation more likely to occur due to vulnerabilities that can be exploited, either knowingly or unknowingly?

After careful analysis of the relevant literature and case studies, as well as consultation withleading ethics committee chairs and representatives of vulnerable populations from low and middle income countries (LMICs), an exploitation risk table was produced. Risks were categorized according to the points at which vulnerability occurred, and were grouped according to four values which have to be present to avoid exploitation in North-South collaborations: fairness, respect, care and honesty. Trustworthiness is achieved when all four values are realized.

Kate Chatfield, Doris Schroeder, Klaus Leisinger, Jaci van Niekerk, Ngayo Munuo, Rachel Wynberg and Paul Woodgate (2016) Generic Risks of Exporting Non-Ethical Practices, a report for TRUST

Revised CIOMS International Ethical Guidelines for Health-Related Research Involving Humans – The JAMA Network (JM Johannes et al | December 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 29, 2016

The Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) was established jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1949 as an international, nongovernmental, nonprofit organization and now includes 45 international, national, and associate member organizations, representing many of the biomedical disciplines, national academies of sciences, and medical research councils. CIOMS recently released a new version of its International Ethical Guidelines for Health-Related Research Involving Humans.1 These guidelines were developed in collaboration with WHO and based on authoritative ethical guidance documents, such as the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki2 and UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.3 The aim of the guidelines is to provide internationally vetted ethical principles and detailed commentary on how these principles should be applied, with particular attention to conducting research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Reasons for Revisions

Several challenges and reasons prompted CIOMS to revise its ethical guidelines. A first challenge was to provide clearer guidance for ensuring that research addresses important questions for improving health using sound research methods. The ethical acceptability of research fundamentally depends on its social and scientific value,4 yet some of the research currently conducted is of questionable value.5

A second challenge was to further clarify what can be regarded as fair benefits of research in low-resource settings. Although the CIOMS guidelines have always addressed the interests of research participants and those in LMICs in particular, the previous version of the CIOMS guidelines (issued in 2002) was criticized for not providing sufficient guidance focused on this issue. That version required that externally sponsored research should be responsive to the health needs and priorities of the host country and that any proven products, such as drugs, should be made reasonably available to that population or community. However, the requirement was difficult to apply in practice, in particular because of its narrow focus on benefits that may, but not always will, result from a trial.

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Ethics in Indigenous Research: Past Experiences – Future Challenges (Books: Anna-Lill Drugge (ed.) | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 27, 2016

Ethics in research related to Indigenous peoples has, over recent decades, been increasingly discussed in a global context. Decolonizing theories and methods have gained legitimacy and prestige, and Indigenous scholarship has challenged mainstream research by adding novel perspectives and critical standpoints that encourage researchers of all origins to reflect upon their own positions within the colonial academic and social structures in which they work. This development has taken different directions and occurred at different speeds depending on local, regional and national settings. In a Swedish Sami research context, we are now in a time when it is clear that things are moving and discussions on research ethics are taking place on a more regular basis. This publication is one example of that. In Sweden, it is the first one in English that addresses ethics in Sami and indigenous research and this will, hopefully, facilitate collaborations, comparisons and discussions on an international scale.

The book is based on some of the contributions to the international workshop Ethics in Indigenous Research, Past Experiences – Future Challenges that was held in Umeå in March 2014. The workshop gathered together around fifty scholars from different parts of Sápmi and abroad, and aimed to move forward Indigenous research ethics in Sweden by highlighting and addressing research ethics related to the Sami and Indigenous research field. It is hoped that this book will serve as an inspiration, a critique, and an illustration of where discussions are heading in a Nordic, and more specifically, Swedish context. It is intended to function as a foundation for future ethical discussions at different levels, in national and international settings both within and outside academia.

Samiska studier, ISSN 1651-5153 ; 7
Keyword [en] Ethics, Indigenous, Sami, Indigenous methodologies, Research ethics

Drugge, A-L (ed.) (2016) Ethics in Indigenous Research: Past Experiences – Future Challenges. Umeå: Vaartoe – Centre for Sami Research
Publisher (open access):