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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Australian retraction – Researchers decry study warning of low-carb diet risks (Retraction Watch May 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2016

[An Australian was a coauthor of this retracted paper.]

Advocates of low-carbohydrate diet are voicing concern about a recent paper that suggested the diet could cause weight gain, contrary to previous research. One expert has even called for its retraction.

The study, published in Nutrition & Diabetes in February, also found that the low-carb diet did little to prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes. Researchers have since criticized the study for drawing these conclusions based on data from a handful of mice, using a poor proxy for the human version of the diet.

Read the full news story

Untangling research and practice: What Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study teaches us (Papers: Danah Boyd 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on May 5, 2016

Abstract: Published in 2014, the Facebook “emotional contagion” study prompted widespread discussions about the ethics of manipulating social media content. By and large, researchers focused on the lack of corporate institutional review boards and informed consent procedures, missing the crux of what upset people about both the study and Facebook’s underlying practices. This essay examines the reactions that unfolded, arguing the public’s growing discomfort with “big data” fueled the anger. To address these concerns, we need to start imagining a socio-technical approach to ethics that does not differentiate between corporate and research practices.

Keywords: Big data, Ethics, Facebook, Informed consent, IRB

Boyd D (2015) Untangling research and practice: What Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study teaches us. Research Ethics 12(1) 4-13

Also see
1. (25/03/14) Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
2. (01/04/14) Facebook fiasco: was Cornell’s study of ‘emotional contagion’ an ethics breach? 
3. (10/05/15) Social media personhood as a challenge to research ethics: Exploring the case of the Facebook experiment
4. (10/05/15) Untangling research and practice: What Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study teaches us
5. (20/05/16) Scientists are just as confused about the ethics of big-data research as you
6. (17/06/16) Are Research Ethics Obsolete In The Era Of Big Data?

Want a favorable peer review? Buy one – The Watchdogs (Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus April 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on April 24, 2016

Excerpt: What do Henry Kissinger and Martin Scorsese have in common? Fun fact: Both evidently review scientific manuscripts for money.

OK, maybe that’s not quite true. In fact, it’s not at all true. But headshots of both men appear in the bios of two purported reviewers (one of which has a woman’s name, sorry, Martin!) for a company called EditPub that sells various scientific services, including peer reviews.

The EditPub site (which seemed on Thursday to be no longer up and running), is almost entirely in Chinese, but its homepage bills it as a “service center for scientific research.” Its existence came to light earlier this month after the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology retracted a 2015 article by a group from Dalian University in China. According to the journal, EditPub had “compromised” the peer review process in a way that the journal has so far refused to make public.

Click here to read the full article

Click here to read the Retraction Watch story about the recent retraction

 Our thanks to Dalmeet Singh Chawla for alerting us about this article

Pharmacology journal pulls paper because third party “compromised” peer review – Retraction Watch (Dalmeet Singh Chawla April 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2016

We don’t usually report retractions of papers where one of the authors are not based in Australia or New Zealand but we felt that this case provided a useful precautionary tale for research integrity and the use of third party service providers.

“The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (BCP) has retracted a 2015 paper about treating heart failure after deciding its peer review process had been compromised.

This paper is one of the many we’ve noticed lately that have been felled by the actions of a “third party” — in this case, a manuscript editing company called EditPub.

The newly retracted paper, “rhBNP therapy can improve clinical outcomes and reduce in-hospital mortality compared with dobutamine in heart failure patients: a meta-analysis,” has not yet been cited, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.”

Read the full post here