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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Deception, distrust and disrespect – Karolinska Institutet: President’s Blog (Ole Petter Ottersen | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 13, 2018
 

Recently a person with the name Lars Andersson published an article on HPV vaccination in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. The title page (now revised by the editor) stated that the author was affiliated with Karolinska Institutet. When the article was brought to our attention we quickly concluded that no such affiliation exists. This person is not employed by KI, nor associated with KI in any other capacity.

If the reported details are correct this is a disturbing example of deceptive practice and it seems more sooty than grey and definitely a problem that could be detected by editors prior to publication.

At first glance this is primarily a story about deception – about a person that abuses the name and status of a leading university to get his article into a peer-reviewed journal. And yes, Lars Andersson turns out to be a pseudonym. We do not know the identity of this person that falsely claims to be a researcher at KI.
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So is this just a story about a willful deception on the part of a single, yet unidentified person?
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(US) Controversial alcohol study cancelled by US health agency – Nature (Sara Reardon | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2018
 

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has terminated a controversial US$100-million study examining whether drinking small amounts of alcohol every day can improve health.

Further news about this now closed controversial study into alcohol consumption. Based on the allegations in the media you are left wondering what the various parties were thinking? This case could be used in professional development workshops to highlight how conflicts of interest can completely undermine the credibility of a project, the line of enquiry and those involved in a project.

The agency’s decision, announced on 15 June, came shortly after an NIH advisory council voted unanimously to end the trial. An agency investigation had found that NIH staff and outside researchers acted inappropriately by soliciting industry funding and biasing the grant-review process to favour specific scientists.
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Those findings would have undermined the study’s credibility if it had been allowed to proceed, said NIH director Francis Collins at the advisory-council meeting. “Is it even possible at this point that the results of this trial would have the credibility to influence anyone’s decision-making?” he asked. “That does in fact seem quite doubtful.”
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The study, which began enrolling participants in February 2018 under the auspices of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), included $67 million from 5 alcohol companies over 10 years. It came under fire in March after the New York Times reported that the study’s lead investigator — cardiovascular researcher Kenneth Mukamal of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts — and his collaborators had directly courted funding from the liquor industry in 2013 and 2014, before the study’s launch.
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Report harassment or risk losing funding, says top UK science funder – Nature (Holly Else | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2018
 

The Wellcome Trust vows to pull grants if researchers or institutions do not abide by its new misconduct policy.

One of the world’s largest research-funding charities is cracking down on harassment and bullying. Scientists who have been sanctioned by their institutions could lose out on funding from the Wellcome Trust, under rules announced on 3 May.

It is the first major UK research funder to institute such a policy; the US National Science Foundation introduced a similar rules earlier this year.

Wellcome’s policy will come into force for new grant applications on 1 June, and will apply to anyone already associated with a grant, including those whose projects are already under way. It gives Wellcome, a biomedical-research charity in London, the right to withhold funding from a researcher or bar them from applying for future grants.

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Will U.S. academies expel sexual harassers? – Science (May 2018 | Meredith Wadman)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2018
 

As high-profile sexual harassment cases fuel public criticism, the presidents of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced last week they may adopt new policies allowing the prestigious bodies to eject members who have committed harassment and other forms of misconduct. Members of the academies—which serve as both honorific societies and advisers to the U.S. government—are elected by existing members to life-long terms, and the bodies currently lack mechanisms for removing them for harassment.

Because scientists and the public “place much trust” in the three Washington, D.C.–based academies, their leadership councils “have begun a dialogue about the standards of professional conduct for membership,” the presidents said in a 22 May statement. “We want to be sure that we are doing everything possible to prevent sexual harassment, to instill a culture of inclusion and respect, and to reinforce that harassment is not tolerated.” The statement was signed by Marcia McNutt, head the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); C. D. Mote Jr., head of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE); and Victor Dzau, head of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Some researchers welcomed the announcement. “This may seem small, but as someone who’s been working with them for 2 years, this is BIG for this organization,” tweeted Kate Clancy, an anthropologist who studies sexual harassment in science at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Clancy helped author an NAS report on sexual harassment in science that will be released on 12 June.

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