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Australian universities must wake up to the risks of researchers linked to China’s military – The Conversation (Clive Hamilton | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 28, 2019
 

Two Australian universities, University of Technology Sydney and Curtin University, are conducting internal reviews of their funding and research approval procedures after Four Corners’ revealed their links to researchers whose work has materially assisted China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province.

UTS, in particular, is in the spotlight because of a major research collaboration with CETC, the Chinese state-owned military research conglomerate. In a response to Four Corners, UTS expressed dismay at the allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, which were raised in a Human Rights Watch report earlier this year.

Yet, UTS has been aware of concerns about its collaboration with CETC for two years. When I met with two of the university’s deputy vice chancellors in 2017 to ask them about their work with CETC, they dismissed the concerns.

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(US) Rounding up the Belmont Report Retrospectives – Amp@sand (May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 27, 2019
 

Last month brought the 40th anniversary of the publishing of the Belmont Report, and along with that milestone came a reflection on how its values, conclusions, and imperatives have changed in the intervening years. A celebration of its durability has been accompanied by a necessary reckoning with the ways that a 40-year-old document may be ill-equipped to process the ethical issues brought about by technological, cultural, and political changes. Here, we’ve gathered a range of resources that look back on 40 years of the Belmont Report.

Safeguards for human studies can’t cope with big data
Nature
This provocative piece explores the ways in which the Belmont Report is insufficient for dealing with revolutionary digital technologies, arguing that “data science overlooks risks to human participants by default” and that it is “past time for a Belmont 2.0.” That new summit, the author argues, would need to engage with the currently “poorly understood risks and harms” that big data researches poses to humans.

A Belmont Report for Health Data (abstract available)
The New England Journal of Medicine
HIPAA offers robust protection of a limited range of data, but in 2019, the demands on humans’ health data come from far more directions than the 1996 legislation could anticipate. The authors of this NEJM piece call for a coordinated expansion of the scope of ethical review of the gathering, use, and manipulation of health data to account for sources such as “social-media platforms, health and wellness apps, smartphones [and] life insurers,” citing concerns about reidentification of deidentified data, discrimination, health profiling, and more.

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(US/China) When DNA science goes down an unethical path in China, who is responsible? – Medical Xpress (Brittany Meiling, et al | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 24, 2019
 

New reports that China is using DNA science developed in San Diego County for widespread ethnic surveillance raise ethical questions about who is responsible for how that technology is used.

The New York Times reported recently that Chinese authorities are building a DNA database of the country’s Uighur minority, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group blamed for a series of terrorist attacks in northwestern China.

Since 2016, there have been regular reports of authorities taking blood samples in the Xinjiang region, where ethnic tensions have been rising. The situation has evolved into a Muslim crackdown in China, with nearly one million Uighurs and other minorities reportedly held in “re-education” camps bent on making Muslims more subservient to the Communist Party. There, Uighurs are being forced to hand over genetic samples, which activists worry could later be used by authorities to chase down any Uighurs who resist the indoctrination.

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Ask The Chefs: AI and Scholarly Communications – Scholarly Kitchen (Ann Michael | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2019
 

No one will dispute that AI (Artificial Intelligence) needs to “eat” data, preferably in massive quantities, to develop. The better the data quality, the better the result. When thinking about the potential applications of AI in scholarly communications as related to research artifacts, how will that work? How might AI be trained on high quality, vetted information? How are the benefits and costs distributed?

The ‘chefs’ at Scholarly Kitchen reflect on the role artificial intelligence could play in scholarly communications.  #SpoilerAlert, two things we need first are good and reliable data and steps to ensure deep biases in the current academic processes aren’t enshrined (and made invisible) in the inscrutable black box of code. We have included some links to a collection of related items.

This month we asked the Chefs: Where does scholarly communication and academic outputs fit in to the world of AI development?
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Judy Luther: In scholarly communications there is an expanding body of openly available content from preprint servers, such as arXiv and bioRxiv, and Open Access journals and books. In addition, there is a growing variety of formats that include datasets and code, open peer review, media, and other elements of the scholarly research cycle. This volume of content provides a rich resource to be mined for all stakeholders as well as a broader audience.
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