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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Ethics: More research won’t crack misconduct – Nature (Donald S. Kornfeld & Sandra L. Titus | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 16, 2017

The US National Academy of Sciences has issued 5 reports in the past 28 years on research misconduct and detrimental research practices. Each concluded with a strikingly similar set of recommendations.

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Over the years there has been much research about the extent of research misconduct, the reasons for it, and useful responses to the problem – some of which we have reported in the Resource Library. We enjoyed this pithy reflection on the topic.

20 years of retractions in China: More of them, and more misconduct – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2017

After reviewing nearly 20 years of retractions from researchers based in China, researchers came up with some somewhat unsurprising (yet still disheartening) findings: The number of retractions has increased (from zero in 1997 to more than 150 in 2016), and approximately 75% were due to some kind of misconduct. (You can read more details in the paper, published this month in Science and Engineering Ethics.) We spoke with first author Lei Lei, based in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, about what he thinks can be done to improve research integrity in his country.

Retraction Watch: With “Lack of Improvement” right in the title (“Lack of Improvement in Scientific Integrity: An Analysis of WoS Retractions by Chinese Researchers (1997-2016)”), you sound disappointed with your findings.  What findings did you expect — or at least hope — to find, and what are your reactions to the results you did uncover?

Lei Lei: Before we began to work on the project, we had occasionally heard of news reports on the retraction of articles by Chinese researchers. It seemed that the issue occurred more often than before.  Since my team has been working on several projects with bibliometric methods, I thought we could investigate this issue with the methods. Thus, the results we found from the study provided scientific evidence to our hypothesis, though I was disappointed, as you mentioned, with the findings.

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Ethics of Internet research trigger scrutiny – Nature (Elizabeth Gibney | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 12, 2017

Concern over the use of public data spurs guideline update.

This case highlights the degree to which there has been an important shift in the degree to which online research can circumvent anonymity strategies that in the recent past seemed impenetrable. We will be following PERVADE with keen interest.

British graffiti artist Banksy is renowned for his anonymity. But that status was dented last year when researchers published a paper that cross-referenced the locations of Banksy’s street art with public information about people’s addresses and likely movements (M. V. Hauge et al. J. Spatial Sci. 61, 185–190; 2016). The team, led by academics at Queen Mary University of London, concluded that someone previously suspected to be Banksy probably was the secretive artist.
Because the study used public data, a university ethics committee said that the work was exempt from formal review — and informally advised academics that it would do no harm because a UK national newspaper had already identified the person in question as Banksy. But for some ethicists, the paper highlights growing concerns about the potential hazards of research that uses public data. “I think this study should never have been done,” says Jake Metcalf, a technology ethicist at the think tank Data & Society in New York City.

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Evidence based medicine manifesto for better healthcare – The BMJ (Carl Heneghan et al | June 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 11, 2017

A response to systematic bias, wastage, error, and fraud in research underpinning patient care

Another item bemoaning the impact of poor research on clinical practice but it also points to an initiative to address this.

Informed decision making requires clinicians and patients to identify and integrate relevant evidence. But with the questionable integrity of much of today’s evidence, the lack of research answering questions that matter to patients, and the lack of evidence to inform shared decision how are they expected to do this?
Too many research studies are poorly designed or executed. Too much of the resulting research evidence is withheld or disseminated piecemeal.1 As the volume of clinical research activity has grown2 the quality of evidence has often worsened,3 which has compromised the ability of all health professionals to provide affordable, effective, high value care for patients.”

Read the rest of this editorial and listen to a 41 minute discussion