This account and the research on prisoners are just horrifying. It is like something from Nazi Germany or perhaps China’s use of organs from prisoners. This cohort is by definition vulnerable and their use is completely unacceptable. The fact that they were not being fully advised of what was being tested and the risks, only makes matters worse. While this is an egregious ethical lapse, it should only be used in professional development, guidance and resource material when speaking with biomedical researchers. It most definitely, shouldn’t be used when speaking with researchers in other disciplines. Even when it is used for biomedical researchers, it should be used as a launching point for a discussion about consent, risk, full disclosure and vulnerable populations.
(Australia) Hydroxychloroquine in Australia: a cautionary tale for journalists and scientists – Reuters Institute (Joanna McCarthy | August 2022)
The silver lining in pandemics, public health disasters, loss of life and economies gutted may not always be easy to see. Clearly, some in the media, politicians and opinion makers didn’t learn the lesson from the Spanish Flu. Hopefully, we can look back at the awful experience of the last couple of years and realise it was science that gave us a vaccine and a way through the perils of COVID-19 not snake oil, wacky theories or Hydroxychloroquine.
(Ukraine, Russia and Japan) How the Ukraine war is changing publications – ResearchProfessional (Andrew Silver | July 2022)
Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine was illegal and unprovoked. We have been seeing war crimes being committed and an awful humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes. Many publishers and institutions have elected to not publish the work of Russian scientists. You might reasonably assume that is the impact this item would be discussing. Instead, this item is discussing omitting the institutional affiliation of authors, so as to conceal if a collaborator is based in Russia. Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be called out.
Female scientists less likely to be given authorship credits, analysis finds – The Guardian (Linda Geddes | June 2022)
Disparities extend to lower chance of being named on patents and to areas such as healthcare where women dominate Female
Open peer review is the key to tackling public health misinformation – Times Higher Education (Rebecca Lawrence | June 2022)
We have written recently about the real damage been done to the academic record, public trust and safety by dodgy theories and crackpot treatments that appear in questionable publishers. As discussed in this Times Higher Education piece, one way to tackle this problem would be to lift the veil on peer review. This will be a challenging change, but it could stop the spread of misinformation before it starts. We have included links to eight related items.
(Sweden) Scientists fear further scandals as Macchiarini convicted – Times Higher Education (Ben Upton | June 2022)
This horrifying case from Europe highlights the danger if institutions assume that their research superstars (who bring in the big bucks and have a strong media profile) shouldn’t be shackled by governance and monitoring processes. There are some who may feel Paolo Macchiarini got off lightly for the death, suffering and anguish his experimental surgery caused. But at least we can take some solace in the fact there have been legal consequences for his unethical acts. We have included links to 13 related items.
(China) Elite journals under scrutiny over role in Wuhan lab leak debate – Times Higher Education (David Matthews | June 2021)
We were amongst those that dismissed the Wuhan lab leak story as a fringe and nutty theory. This was in part because of our opinion of the orangutan Trump. But as this Times Higher Education piece discusses, over the last few months some more credible commentators have observed that it is a theory that warrants more careful consideration.
The Worrying Murkiness of Institutional Biosafety Committees – Undark (BY Michael Schulson | March 2022)
When set up well, Institute Biosafety Committees (IBC) can be an essential component of research governance for research institutions that conduct research with biosafety considerations (such as work with genetically modified organisms and crops). But as this Undark item reports of some IBCs in the US, they can be murky, hostile and slow. The exact opposite of what is needed.