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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Agent Orange: the new controversy (Brian Martin 1986)0

Posted by Admin in on January 13, 2016
 

“A year after the final report of the Agent Orange Royal Commission, the federal government has responded to the concern of Vietnam veterans by reopening the issue that the commission considered closed. Conflicting scientific evidence and interpretation are back in the melting pot. But in this case there is an added factor – the conduct of the commission itself.

When the report of a royal commission contains hundreds of pages copied without acknowledgement straight from the submission of one of the interested parties, what are the implications? This problem will quickly become pressing in any reevaluation of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Use and Effects of Chemical Agents on Australian Personnel in Vietnam.

Claims by Vietnam veterans that some of their health problems have been caused by exposure to the multitude of chemical agents used in the war are politically explosive. A judgement in favour of the veterans would provide support to the Vietnamese government in pursuing claims against the United States government for the effects of chemical warfare. The chemical industry has most to lose from a decision in favour of the veterans. For example, the ingredients of Agent Orange itself, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T with some admixture of TCDD or ‘dioxin’, have long been used as herbicides in agriculture and elsewhere. A decision against the chemicals would be a body blow to the chemical industry both financially and ideologically.”

Brian Martin. Agent Orange: the new controversy. Australian Society, Vol. 5, No. 11, November 1986, pp. 25-26. On the Agent Orange Royal Commission’s plagiarism of Monsanto’s submission.

(News from Brazil) Sharp rise in scientific paper retractions – University World News (Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on January 12, 2016
 

“Cases of scientific malpractice in Brazil increased significantly between 2009 and 2012, according to a study looking at article retraction in scientific journals.

The study, published in Science and Engineering Ethics, says that this could threaten the country’s growing popularity as a research partner.

The paper looked at retracted research articles in two major Latin American and Caribbean databases: the Scientific Electronic Library Online, or SciELO, and the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information, or LILACS. Out of 2,000 articles from around the world published in the databases between 2009 and 2014, 31 were later pulled back, including 25 articles from Brazil, the researchers found.”

University  World News. (2015). Sharp rise in scientific paper retractions. Retrieved 13 January, from http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20160108194308816

‘But the data is already public’: On the ethics of research in Facebook (Papers: Zimmer M 2010)0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

Abstract: In 2008, a group of researchers publicly released profile data collected from the Facebook accounts of an entire cohort of college students from a US university. While good-faith attempts were made to hide the identity of the institution and protect the privacy of the data subjects, the source of the data was quickly identified, placing the privacy of the students at risk. Using this incident as a case study, this paper articulates a set of ethical concerns that must be addressed before embarking on future research in social networking sites, including the nature of consent, properly identifying and respecting expectations of privacy on social network sites, strategies for data anonymization prior to public release, and the relative expertise of institutional review boards when confronted with research projects based on data gleaned from social media.”

Zimmer M (2010) ‘But the data is already public’: On the ethics of research in Facebook. Ethics and Information Technology 12(4): 313-325.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10676-010-9227-5

(Additional reading list item from the updated Booklet 37 of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual. Perpetual licences are available for use by all researchers within an institution. Institutions have used the GUREM as the basis for producing their own research ethics manual, as a professional development resource and a teaching and learning materials for HDR candidates.)b

‘Anonymity’ of the Facebook dataset – it’s Harvard College – Updated (Zimmer M 2008)0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

“As mentioned the other day, a group of researchers from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University released a dataset of Facebook profile information from an entire cohort (the class of 2009) of college students from “an anonymous, northeastern American university.”

(I’ve been engaging with Jason Kaufman, the PI for this research, on a variety of privacy and research ethics issues in this post and the comments section – please check it out.)

Well, I’m pretty sure this “anonymous, northeastern American university” is Harvard College. And I didn’t even have to download the dataset to figure it out. Here’s how.”

Zimmer M (2008) More on the ‘Anonymity’ of the Facebook dataset – it’s Harvard College (Updated). Available at: http://www.michaelzimmer.org/2008/10/03/more-on-the-anonymity-of-the-facebook-dataset-its-harvard-college/

(Additional reading list item from the updated Booklet 37 of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual. Perpetual licences are available for use by all researchers within an institution. Institutions have used the GUREM as the basis for producing their own research ethics manual, as a professional development resource and a teaching and learning materials for HDR candidates.)b

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