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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(EU) Governance of research integrity: Options for a coordinated approach in Europe – EMBO (Sandra Bendiscioli Michele S. Garfinkel | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 28, 2020

This report is the result of an EMBO project to analyse whether and how a more coordinated approach in Europe would contribute to improving the integrity of research and meeting the challenges of handling cases of research misconduct. We analysed potential functions for a European body, the main ones being investigatory, advisory, and oversight. We also looked at other mechanisms, including the coordination of procedures used by European research performing organizations, funders and publishers. The project included a literature search, and input from an international group of experts through interviews and a workshop organized in partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Science Forum (GSF).

To ensure trust in scientific knowledge, scientific1 research must be conducted responsibly and to the highest standards. However, scientific research is not immune from problems: breaches of good practice, accepted norms, regulations and ethical behaviour.

In the past 20 years or so, an increasing number of cases of breaches of good research practice worldwide have been reported and have reached public attention. Most well known cases involve practices considered to be serious misconduct, which are generally identified as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (FFP). However, many other less sensational practices often referred to as questionable research practices (QRP) also threaten the quality of research outputs. Evidence from surveys of researchers’ practices, and statistics related to problematic images found in scientific papers, shows that the incidence of QRP is high (e.g. Fanelli, 2009; Pulverer, 2015; Bik et al., 2016). To protect the quality, validity and reliability of research results, and public trust in scientific research, all breaches of good research practice must be addressed appropriately.

Table of contents

Summary i

1. Introduction 1

2. Methodology 4

3. Advantages and disadvantages of existing systems 5

4. An international body: Potential advantages and disadvantages 12
4.1. Structural options: Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations 13
4.2. Potential role: Investigatory, oversight, advisory, platform for information exchange 14
4.3. Potential domain: Scientific organizations, law enforcement organizations, labour organizations 18
4.4. Options for funding 19

5. Options for implementing specific mechanisms 20
5.1. An international body established by a European scientific organization 20
5.2 An international body established by a European funder or a group of funders 22
5.3 An international body established by an international NGO 23
5.4 An international body established by a private entity 25

6. Other mechanisms: coordination of procedures 26

7. Conclusions 2

8 Acronyms 31

References 32

Appendices 36
Appendix 1 Biographies and institute information 36
Appendix 2 Workshop and interview information 37

Participant list 40 Interviewees 41

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(EU) Make Way for the Robots! Human- and Machine-Centricity in Constituting a European Public–Private Partnership (Papers: Kjetil Rommetveit, et al | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 26, 2020


Even though not directly research integrity-related, this lengthy open-access paper gives an interesting insight from Europe into the very near future of human-autonomous robot collaboration.

This article is an analytic register of recent European efforts in the making of ‘autonomous’ robots to address what is imagined as Europe’s societal challenges. The paper describes how an emerging techno-epistemic network stretches across industry, science, policy and law to legitimize and enact a robotics innovation agenda. Roadmap is the main metaphor and organizing tool in working across the disciplines and sectors, and in aligning these heterogeneous actors with a machine-centric vision along a path to make way for ‘new kinds’ of robots. We describe what happens as this industry-dominated project docks in a public–private partnership with pan-European institutions and a legislative initiative on robolaw. Emphasizing the co-production of robotics and European innovation politics, we observe how well-known uncertainties and scholarly debates about machine capabilities and human–machine configurations, are unexpectedly played out in legal scholarship and institutions as a controversy and a significant problem for human-centered legal frameworks. European robotics are indeed driving an increase in speculative ethics and a new-found weight of possible futures in legislative practice.

Rommetveit, K., van Dijk, N. & Gunnarsdóttir, K. Make Way for the Robots! Human- and Machine-Centricity in Constituting a European Public–Private Partnership. Minerva 58, 47–69 (2020).
Publisher (Open Access):

Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture (Papers: Nicole Ling Yeo-Teh & Bor Tang | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 25, 2020


We have included 17 links to other items about promoting a positive research culture through HDR professional development and mentoring.

Hofmann and Holm’s (2019) recent survey on issues of research misconduct with PhD graduates culminated with a notable conclusion by the authors: ‘Scientific misconduct seems to be an environmental issue as much as a matter of personal integrity’. Here, we re-emphasise the usefulness of an education-based countermeasure against toxic research environments or cultures that promote unethical practices amongst the younger researchers. We posit that an adequately conducted course in research ethics and integrity, with a good dose of case studies and analyses, can function in a manner that is metaphorically akin to vaccination. The training would cultivate the ability to analyse and build confidence in young researchers in making decisions with sound moral reasoning as well as in speaking up or arguing against pressure and coercions into unacceptable behaviour. A sufficiently large number of young researchers exposed to research ethics trainings would essentially provide a research community some degree of lasting herd immunity at its broadest base. Beyond passive immunity, a crop of research ethics-savvy young researchers could also play active and influential roles as role models for others at their level and perhaps even help correct the wayward attitudes of some senior researchers and initiate prompt action from institutional policy makers in a bottom-up manner.

Authorship, research environment, research ethics, research misconduct, responsible conduct of research courses

Yeo-Teh, N. S. L., & Tang, B. L. (2020). Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture. Research Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

A fascinating history of clinical trials from their beginnings in Babylon – Medium (Prof. Adrian Esterman | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2020

Clinical trials are required to test treatments for COVID-19. Take a quick trip over 2,000 years and discover how our current understanding of clinical trials was formed.

Clinical trials
Clinical trials are currently being undertaken to test treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. There are many different types of clinical trial design, from a simple before and after (measure something in patients, do an intervention like giving them a drug, then measure them again), to a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of all clinical trial designs.

Planning to give a talk about clinical trials and want to give it some historical context?  This is a great resource to use.

Here is a light-hearted history of how clinical trials developed over the last two thousand years, including the first recorded instances of control groups, the use of placebos and randomization. It will give you a better understanding of how clinical trials are designed.
600 BC Daniel and his kosher diet.

Surprisingly, the first ever clinical trial is found in the Bible in Book one of Daniel and took place in Babylon. In 600 BC, some captive children of the Israeli royal family and nobility were taken into the King Nebuchadnezzar’s service in Babylon — among them were Daniel and three friends. Supposedly, these were golden young men — physically perfect, handsome, intelligent, knowledgeable and well qualified to serve in the king’s palace.

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