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Peter Ridd’s sacking pushes the limit of academic freedom – The Guardian (Gay Alcorn | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 20, 2018

James Cook University may have damaged its reputation with a heavy-handed approach to the academic with minority views on climate change and the reef

I hate to say it, but the sacking of professor Peter Ridd by James Cook University does raise issues of academic freedom. Not simple issues, and ones that can be refuted as the university is doing, but ones that matter nonetheless.

While we (Colin, Gary and Mark)  disagree with his position on the science and how he allegedly categorises the activists/commentators working in the area, we absolutely support the idea that academic freedom must extend to opinions we don’t agree with – otherwise the concept is rendered meaningless

I hate to say it because we know what this is really about. The cause of Ridd has been championed by those parts of the media and certain institutes – well, the Institute of Public Affairs – that have done all they humanly can to stop serious action in this country against climate change.

They have no interest in fair-minded coverage of the weight of scientific evidence, now overwhelming, that human action is causing global warming, and that urgent action is required globally to limit its dangerous impacts. Their interest is ideological, with an endearing lack of self-awareness in their charge that the “warmists” are the ideologues. They leap on the 3% or so of scientists who argue their colleagues have got it all wrong, and would risk everything on those odds.

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Alcorn, G. (2018) Peter Ridd’s sacking pushes the limit of academic freedom. The Guardian. 5 June.

Europe’s biggest research fund cracks down on ‘ethics dumping’ – Nature (Linda Nordling | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 7, 2018

The practice of conducting ethically dubious research in foreign countries is under fresh scrutiny.

Ethics dumping — doing research deemed unethical in a scientist’s home country in a foreign setting with laxer ethical rules — will be rooted out in research funded by the European Union, officials announced last week.

A commendable move by the EU, which at least, in theory, is addressed by the provisions of national research ethics frameworks such as Australia’s National Statement, but peak research funding bodies should consider the merits a similarly clear statement in its funding criteria.

Applications to the EU’s €80-billion (US$93-billion) Horizon 2020 research fund will face fresh levels of scrutiny to make sure that research practices deemed unethical in Europe are not exported to other parts of the world. Wolfgang Burtscher, the European Commission’s deputy director-general for research, made the announcement at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 June.

Burtscher said that a new code of conduct developed to curb ethics dumping will soon be applied to all EU-funded research projects. That means applicants will be referred to the code when they submit their proposals, and ethics committees will use the document when considering grant applications.

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The Lifespan of a Lie – Medium (Ben Blum | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 1, 2018

The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment?

It was late in the evening of August 16th, 1971, and twenty-two-year-old Douglas Korpi, a slim, short-statured Berkeley graduate with a mop of pale, shaggy hair, was locked in a dark closet in the basement of the Stanford psychology department, naked beneath a thin white smock bearing the number 8612, screaming his head off.

Blog post and interviews that underpins the recent (June 2018) Inside HigherEd story reflecting on the legacy of the Stamford Prison Experiment.

“I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m burning up inside!” he yelled, kicking furiously at the door. “Don’t you know? I want to get out! This is all fucked up inside! I can’t stand another night! I just can’t take it anymore!”
It was a defining moment in what has become perhaps the best-known psychology study of all time. Whether you learned about Philip Zimbardo’s famous “Stanford Prison Experiment” in an introductory psych class or just absorbed it from the cultural ether, you’ve probably heard the basic story.

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Weakened code risks Australia’s reputation for research integrity – The Conversation (David Vaux, et al | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 29, 2018

In 2018, Australia still does not have appropriate measures in place to maintain research integrity. And recent changes to our code of research conduct have weakened our already inadequate position.

We agree there needs to be strong central facilitation of both good practice and oversight of the substance of review decisions. There is no clear way for issues to be shared across the sector. Within the national framework we have, institutions must establish robust arrangements that are transparent and effective – there must be an investment in the culture of research practice.

In contrast, China’s recent move to crack down on academic misconduct moves it into line with more than twenty European countries, the UK, USA, Canada and others that have national offices for research integrity.
Australia risks its reputation by turning in the opposite direction.|
For science to progress efficiently, and to remain credible, we need good governance structures, and as transparent and open a system as possible. Measures are needed to identify and correct errors, and to rectify misbehaviour.
In Australia, one such measure is the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. But recently published revisions of this code allow research integrity to be handled internally by institutions, and investigations to be kept secret. This puts at risk the hundreds of millions of dollars provided by the taxpayer to fund research.


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