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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 Negative, or null, results go unpublished, leading other researchers into unwittingly redundant studies.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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(Egypt) Debate over misconduct stalls Egyptian clinical trials law – Sci Dev Net (Hazem Badr | October 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 11, 2018
 

[Cairo] Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has declined to sign the country’s clinical trials law into action, after objecting to parts that, he said, might violate the human body.

Despite the delays with the Egyptian new clinical trials law, with its legal penalties for failure to meet human research ethics and research integrity standards there are indications and commentary that suggest the delay reflects a political engagement many of us would like to see in our own countries.

According to researchers following the law’s creation, Sisi returned seven amendments to the law, which could delay its creation. For example, articles 28, 29 and 32 of the law have been amended to reduce the severity of proposed prison terms for misconduct, such as using human samples without informed consent.
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But the scientists following the law’s creation are positive about the president’s response, saying that his amendments show he is engaging with the matter and keen to see the law signed into life. “The president’s comments address the complex equation of respecting the sacredness of the human body and, at the same time, endorsing scientific research,” said Mahmoud Sakr, the director of Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology.
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“The text [as it stands] contradicts our goal of motivating universities to pursue joint research and hinders the exploration of samples using advanced equipment that might not be available locally,”
……Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s president
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The ‘problem’ of undesigned relationality: Ethnographic fieldwork, dual roles and research ethics (Papers: Kirsten Bell | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 28, 2018
 

Abstract

This October 2018 paper reflects on an area of research which continues to be a source of tension between at least some researchers* and research ethics reviewers: Is it a problem, or an advantage or in fact sometimes a necessity that there be an existing connection between participant and researcher. *Especially for ethnographers and anthropologists who might feel they are being held to a biomedical standard that is irrelevant and useless for their work. We have included links to a trove of related items in the Resource Library.

Perhaps the most unique feature of ethnographic fieldwork is the distinctive form of relationality it entails, where the ethnographer’s identity as a researcher is not fixed in the way typical of most other forms of research. In this paper, I explore how this ‘undesigned relationality’ is understood, both in procedural ethics frameworks and by the different disciplines that have come to claim a stake in the ‘method’ itself. Demonstrating that the ethical issues it entails are primarily conceptualized via the lens of the ‘dual role’, I use this as a means of exploring the ideal relationship between researcher and subject that procedural ethics frameworks are premised upon. I go on to explore the epistemological differences in ways that ethnographers themselves understand and respond to the multiple forms of relationality that characterize fieldwork and the challenge this poses to the possibility of a pan-disciplinary consensus on ethnographic research ethics.
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Keywords
ethnography, research ethics, dual roles, disciplinarity, relationality
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Bell, K. (2018). The ‘problem’ of undesigned relationality: Ethnographic fieldwork, dual roles and research ethics. Ethnography. https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138118807236

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