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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

How about personally optimized treatment? – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 31, 2019
 

It is well known that patients who are asked to participate in cancer trials are tempted by the therapeutic misconception. They believe they are offered a newer and better treatment, when in fact it is about research into an untested treatment. When researchers use genetic tests to develop personalized oncology, even more misconceptions can arise. I will soon explain. But first, what is personalized cancer treatment? Here is an example.

Patients whose tumor is to be operated may undergo preparatory radiation or chemotherapy. Since the preparatory therapy has severe side effects, one wants to avoid giving it to patients whose tumors do not respond to it. The challenge is to distinguish patients who respond to treatment from patients who do not. This is to be accomplished through, among other things, genetic tests on the tumor cells. If this works, you can develop personalized cancer treatment. Patients with the “right” tumor cell genetics receive the preparatory therapy, while patients who, according to the genetic tests, only get the side effects, with no effect on tumor growth, do not receive the therapy.

What are the misconceptions that can arise in patients who are asked to participate in research on personalized cancer treatment? Here are some examples.

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The Publishing Trap (A game by UK Copyright Literacy | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on September 22, 2019
 

Introduction
The Publishing Trap is a board game from the UK Copyright Literacy team that allows participants to explore the impact of scholarly communications choices and discuss the role of open access in research by following the lives of four researchers – from doctoral research to their academic legacies. It is a full functioning, prototype game first developed in 2016 when it won a runner’s up prize at the LILAC Lagadothon. However, the game has evolved considerably since then.

A great research outputs/academic career game, produced by UK Copyright Literacy that is an engaging and informative alternative to ‘chalk and talk’ workshops.

Aim of the Game
The Publishing Trap is a game about research dissemination and scholarly communication in Higher Education. The game follows the academic career of four characters who at each stage in their career, from PhD submission, through to Professorship, are presented with a series of scenarios about which they have to make choices. The characters make decisions about how to disseminate their research at conferences, in academic journals and in monographs or textbooks. Ultimately the game helps researchers to understand how money, intellectual property rights, and both open and closed publishing models affect the dissemination and impact of their research. Through playing the game in teams, players get to discuss the impact of each character’s choices. The game ends at the end of the character’s life, when players sees the consequences of the choices they have made in terms of money, knowledge and impact.
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The Audience
The Publishing Trap is aimed at early career researchers and academics, as well as anyone who has a vested interested in understanding how access to information works and how the whole scholarly communication system in higher education operates. Although it is not intended to promote any particular ideological position, it should be valuable to staff who are advocating for a greater acceptance of open access publishing models and trying to encourage academic staff to make informed choices when they sign publishing contracts and submit their work to the institutional repository.
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Access the game’s web site

What’s next for Registered Reports? – Nature (Chris Chambers | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 19, 2019
 

Reviewing and accepting study plans before results are known can counter perverse incentives. Chris Chambers sets out three ways to improve the approach.

What part of a research study — hypotheses, methods, results, or discussion — should remain beyond a scientist’s control? The answer, of course, is the results: the part that matters most for publishing in prestigious journals and advancing careers. This paradox means that the careful scepticism required to avoid massaging data or skewing analysis is pitted against the drive to identify eye-catching outcomes. Unbiased, negative and complicated findings lose out to cherry-picked highlights that can bring prominent articles, grant funding, promotion and esteem.

The ‘results paradox’ is a chief cause of unreliable science. Negative, or null, results go unpublished, leading other researchers into unwittingly redundant studies. Ambiguous or otherwise ‘unattractive’ results are airbrushed (consciously or not) into publishable false positives, spurring follow-up research and theories that are bound to collapse.

Clearly, we need to change how we evaluate and publish research. For the past six years, I have championed Registered Reports (RRs), a type of research article that is radically different from conventional papers. The 30 or so journals that were early adopters have together published some 200 RRs, and more than 200 journals are now accepting submissions in this format (see ‘Rapid rise’). When it launched in 2017, Nature Human Behaviour became the first of the Nature journals to join this group. In July, it published its first two such reports1. With RRs on the rise, now is a good time to take stock of their potential and limitations

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Censorship in a China Studies Journal – Inside Higher Ed (Elizabeth Redden | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 4, 2019
 

Scholars say they thought a journal was run on Western standards of free expression, but they found Chinese government control instead.

Yet another account of censorship involving a China studies journal has come to light. And the scholars involved say this case involves an insidious “blurring of boundaries” where they were misled into thinking Western publishing standards would apply when in fact the journal in question was subject to Chinese government censorship.

Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond, both professors at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, have written an account of the censorship they encountered when they edited a planned special issue of the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. The journal is published by the Netherlands-based publishing company Brill in association with the China-based Higher Education Press, an entity that describes itself on its website (in Chinese) as affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. The journal’s editorial board lists scholars from major American and international universities — including Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington — and its editor in chief is based at New York University. The journal’s editorial office is located in Beijing.

Wong and Edmond wrote that the association with Brill, along with the involvement of leading scholars in the field on the editorial board, led them to mistakenly assume the publication standards would be akin to those of other journals in the field published in the U.S. What they found, however, was that the affiliation with the Higher Education Press and the location of the editorial office in Beijing means “the journal is subject to the full range of Chinese government censorship.”

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