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Why Internet Scholars Are Calling Out Facebook for Restricting Access to Its Data – The Chronicle of Higher Education (Nell Gluckman | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 31, 2018

After news broke in March that a scholar had harvested data about millions of Facebook users and shared it with Cambridge Analytica, a political-consulting firm that advised the Trump campaign, the social-media company made some changes.

At first brush (especially if you are a Facebook user) you might be pleased to hear the platform is making it harder for players to access information about users, but as these comments by a QUT researcher illustrate – the changes might not mean what you might have assumed from the bold statements in the press. We’ve included links to other stories around research ethics and social media? Like the work we do compiling this information? Please become an AHRECS patron for 1-15USD per month.

Facebook announced plans to restrict outsiders’ access to user information. It also said that a select group of scholars would be granted unprecedented access to its data in a project that will be partly overseen by the Social Science Research Council.

The scholars will not be able to publish that information, but they will learn what the company will and won’t share with outside researchers and, presumably, why. They will then serve as a filter, meting out the data to researchers whose projects will seek to answer one question: How have social media influenced democracy?

Those announcements may sound like welcome changes to social-media users worried about their privacy. User data will be less accessible to outside companies and researchers who may have nefarious intentions, but trustworthy scholars will still be able to tap into the endless trove of information.
That’s the theory, at least. But some scholars of the internet say the new restrictions are actually a problem.
A group of those scholars last month published an open letter sounding the alarm. They also created a document listing research papers that would not exist, they say, under the new restrictions Facebook has imposed on the use of its data.


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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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