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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

How to manage a multi-author megapaper – Nature Index (Jack Leeming | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2020

Large teams can produce more impactful work, but organizing a paper produced by many can be a major challenge.

For a frog, exposure to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is very bad news indeed. The fungus thrives in the same wet, hot conditions that frogs favour and it grows on amphibian skin. Frogs breathe through their skin, which is used by almost all species for electrolyte exchange. Chytrid prevents electrolytes from entering the animal’s body, which eventually causes a heart attack.

The topic of authorship in team science should be discussed in a professional development workshop and practice resources beyond 101 research integrity awareness efforts.  AHRECS has developed a downloadable ppt with embedded audio by Prof. Mark Israel (also on Patreon).  We have included links to 29 related reads.

Chytrid fungus species are responsible for significant amphibian population reductions in Central and North America, Europe and Australia. Although declines were at their worst in the 1980s, one 2004 study suggested that at least 43% of amphibian species are dwindling worldwide. New Guinea, home to 6% of the world’s frog species, is one place chytrid is yet to invade.

Deborah Bower, an ecologist at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, is investigating proactive protection strategies for New Guinea, including increased quarantine measures and an island-wide surveillance programme.

Such collaboration is unusual in Bower’s field, where single-author papers are common. “When the fungus gets to New Guinea, more than 100 frog species could go extinct,” she says. “The island has a complex political system; it’s half Papua New Guinea and half Indonesia. There’s not much local experience in dealing with the disease. We brought in scientists from the US and Australia who had experience with chytrid, plus experts from a policy background who have worked with governments on large-scale changes.”

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(Australia) Clinical Trials and Other Physician-Industry Interactions in Australia – Global Forum (Ric Day | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 10, 2020

The representative body of the innovative, prescription medicines industry in Australia, Medicines Australia is responsible for administering the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. This self-regulatory system, underpinned by legislation, sets the standard for the ethical promotion and marketing of prescription medicines in Australia. These standards must be adhered to by member companies. Penalties for breaches of the Code of Conduct can be considerable and are increasing in severity year after year. Breaches of the Code and the resultant fines are published on the Medicines Australia website quarterly along with the comprehensive Code of Conduct Annual Report.

Clinical Trials

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) has just concluded their International Clinical Trials conference, opened by the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt. As an indication of the interest in the topics the conference discussed, the official Conference Twitter hashtag #ACTAconf trended at number 4 in all of Australia!

As part of his presentation, Hunt launched an upgraded version of the Clin Trial Refer app which now delivers a comprehensive listing of clinical trials that are recruiting globally. Feedback from end-users and experts incorporated in this new Version 2 includes features such as customized searches that notify individual in real-time of trials in their areas of interest. Search filters such as age, tumour type, mutation status, and telehealth options can also be applied. The phase 1 cohort feature, among many new features, should improve recruiting. Pending studies and the cohorts being sought by investigators (including inclusion and exclusion criteria) can also be viewed to give patients and doctors opportunity to consider their participation.

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‘Autistic voices should be heard.’ Autistic adults join research teams to shift focus of studies – Science (Emily Willingham | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 5, 2020

Professional burnout is all too familiar: Go at something too hard for too long, and the motivational tank empties. But burnout for an autistic person isn’t always about overwork, Dora Raymaker, an autistic systems scientist at Portland State University (PSU), found in a study of autistic workers. Instead, the need to mask autistic behaviors through a workday with nonautistic people can cause chronic exhaustion, reduced ability to tolerate stimuli like light or sound, and loss of skills, the study showed through interviews and a survey of social media comments.

The work, which Raymaker’s team published last month, highlights a new trend in autism research. Raymaker and colleagues are part of a small but growing number of research teams with autistic members. These groups are shifting the focus in autism research from cause and cure to practical steps, including ones that help autistic people in settings such as the workplace. And they’re publishing some of their findings in a new journal, Autism in Adulthood, which is dedicated to including the perspectives of autistic people in what it publishes.

Interest in those perspectives is “skyrocketing,” says Christina Nicolaidis, a co-author on the burnout study. Nicolaidis, a professor in the School of Social Work at PSU, has an adult son who is autistic. Although much research on autism has focused on children, autistic adults who came of age in the 1990s and early 2000s are joining the field and bringing a focus on their own experience. One member of that cohort is TC Waisman, a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary studying how faculty and staff can improve autistic students’ college experiences. Waisman says she sees researchers increasingly “respecting us as our own self-determined culture and foregrounding our needs in studies.”

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(Australia) Survey of Australian STEMM Early Career Researchers: job insecurity and questionable research practices are major structural concerns (Preprint Papers: Katherine Christian, et al | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 23, 2020


Sobering findings for anyone responsible for guiding the research culture of an Australia university. There’s no reason to believe this is confined to STEMM.

We sought to understand the pressures on Early Career Researchers (ECR) in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, & Medicine (STEMM) disciplines, collecting data from 658 ECRs working in Australia. Respondents indicated a “love of science”, but most also indicated an intention to leave their position. Decisions were primarily motivated by job insecurity (52%), while grievances included poor supervision (60%), bullying or harassment (34%), inequitable hiring practices (39%) and poor support for families (9.6%). A concerning rate of “questionable research practices” by colleagues (34.1% to 41.1%) was reported to have impacted ECR career advancement. Our study links recent reports that characterise the health of the research industry, providing direct insight from ECRs on job insecurity, workplace culture challenges, and the logical rise of questionable research practices. Internationally, nationally and institutionally the research community needs to improve job security (care for our people) and the quality of research data (our product).

Christian, K., Johnstone, C., Larkins, J., Wright, W. & Doran, M. R. (2020) Survey of Australian STEMM Early Career Researchers: job insecurity and questionable research practices are major structural concerns. bioRxiv 2020.02.19.955328; doi:
This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review