ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
Generic filters
Exact text matches only
Search into
Filter by Categories
Research integrity
Filter by Categories
Human Research Ethics

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us


Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A Proposal for Considering Research Integrity from the Perspective of Behavioral Economics (Papers: Melissa S. Anderson and Jamal A. Adam | 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on June 25, 2017

Over the past 30 years, cases of scientific misconduct have tended to follow what is by now a familiar pattern: misconduct is intentionally committed, the clandestine misdeeds are revealed, institutions and funders react, investigations ensue, punishments are imposed, and the long process of correcting the research record continues on. Major cases of misconduct usually prompt institutions to review and tighten their research oversight and policies and to improve their approaches to instruction in the responsible conduct of research. When a case becomes a matter of national embarrassment, these reactions can be systemically widespread. There is, of course, variation in this general pattern, particularly in the extent of successful correction of the scientific record (16).

The trajectory of action associated with a misconduct case thus typically begins with an individual, but ownership of the problem rises through the academic research hierarchy to the officials of research institutions, funding agencies and regulatory bodies, among others. The consequences then come back down the hierarchy, often with implications that extend to several academic or administrative departments or even to entire institutions. In the U.S., three primary systemic responses to misconduct have emerged in recent decades: the development and elaboration of policies, regulations, codes of conduct and so on; instruction in the responsible conduct of research; and oversight and other mechanisms for ensuring compliance.

These approaches, though obviously valuable, are designed for general impact across disciplines and research settings. What is needed are strategies to protect research integrity in the specific contexts where the work of research is performed. This shift involves more careful consideration of the following four points…

Anderson, M. S., & Adam, J. A. (2014). A Proposal for Considering Research Integrity from the Perspective of Behavioral Economics. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education15(2), 173–176.
Publisher (Open Access0:

Continuing allegations of research misconduct require system reform – (Richard de Grijs | June 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 17, 2017

It is generally understood that the reputation of an individual is hurt by a forced retraction, and that impact can last decades. Similarly there’s data that points to the impact affecting all the named coauthors of a retracted paper, not just the guilty parties or first author. The potential for impacts on an entire institution are less clear but are definitely reason for executive-level concern, but the possibility of impacts upon an entire country is apparently worrying enough to prompt a firm response. But is a one-size-fits-all response the answer?

Research practices in China recently hit the international headlines again. Springer, the publishing behemoth jointly based in Germany and the U.S., retracted more than a hundred scientific articles authored by Chinese scientists from its journals.
Apparently, “fake” peer reviews were behind the latest retractions: Scrutiny of research articles undertaken by third parties were not conducted as independently or impartially as appearances may have suggested.
This kind of news, yet again, is really disheartening to the majority of Chinese scientists who rigorously comply with the requirement for ethical research, and it exasperates me. Admittedly, Springer pointed out that research fraud is a global problem; however, China is often singled out.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

A retraction gets retracted — but the first author’s contract is still terminated – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | June 20170

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2017

One of the lessons from the unfortunate case? In your research outputs be careful how you describe the ethical clearance status of your work. Another lesson? When it comes to media reports of alleged research misconduct it pays to read between the lines.

After issuing a retraction notice May 30 for a biomedical engineering paper, the journal has since pulled the notice, citing “a potential problem.”
After doing some digging, we’ve learned more about the “potential problem.”
Apparently, the retraction was requested by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. NTU has been investigating the first author for months, after it received an allegation about an unrelated manuscript. As a result, NTU terminated first author Hamidreza Namazi‘s contract as a research fellow earlier this year.


Read the rest of this discussion piece


They agreed to listen to a complaint about a paper. Then the harassment began – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 5, 2017

We receive our fair share of tips, and most are well-intentioned attempts to clean up the scientific literature. However, sometimes would-be critics can veer into personal attacks. As chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, Virginia Barbour has seen a lot. But nothing quite prepared her for being cyberbullied by someone the organisation had agreed to listen to when they raised a complaint about a published paper. In this guest post, Barbour tells the story of how COPE’s attempts to assist led to hundreds of harassing emails and unfounded accusations of a cover-up, which the complainant spread indiscriminately.

The AHRECS team know Ginny, respect her work and respect the contribution COPE makes to the research integrity sphere, so we found this account doubly concerning.

By its very nature, publication and research ethics often includes issues that are hard to resolve and it’s not uncommon for journals to receive concerns from individuals about specific papers. COPE has guidance for its members on what to do when they are contacted by such individuals. We urge and support editors and publishers in taking issues raised seriously. Nonetheless, such individuals (whether anonymous or not) can experience difficulties in getting their cases heard and, in rare and unusual cases, face extreme measures to silence them.
At COPE, we therefore also have a mechanism whereby readers can raise concerns about an issue in a COPE member journal, if the journal and publisher have not been able to resolve the issue. We have devoted increasing resources to this mechanism, even though is not the primary reason for which COPE was set up. As a membership organisation, COPE does not have regulatory authority over journals or publishers, but we can review the process the journal or publisher followed to determine if best practice was followed.

Read the rest of this discussion piece