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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Ethical Considerations When Using Social Media for Evidence Generation (Papers: Gabrielle Berman, et al | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 21, 2018

There are significant ethical implications in the adoption of technologies and the production and use of the resulting data for evidence generation. The potential benefits and opportunities need to be understood in conjunction with the potential risks and challenges. When using social media to directly engage children and their communities, or when establishing partnerships with these organizations for data collection and analysis, adoption of these technologies and their resultant data should not be exclusively driven by short-term necessity but also by the long-term needs of our younger partners. When engaging with social media and indeed most technology, thoughtfulness, reflection and ongoing interrogation is required. This paper examines the benefits, risks and ethical considerations when undertaking evidence generation: (a) using social media platforms and (b) using third-party data collected and analysed by social media services. It is supplemented by practical tools to support reflection on the ethical use of social media platforms and social media data.

Berman, Gabrielle; Powell, James; Garcia Herranz, Manuel (2018). Ethical Considerations When Using Social Media for Evidence Generation, Innocenti Discussion Papers no. 2018-01, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence

Ethical Considerations When Using Geospatial Technologies for Evidence Generation (Papers: Gabrielle Berman, et al | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 19, 2018

Geospatial technologies have transformed the way we visualize and understand social phenomena and physical environments. There are significant advantages in using these technologies and data however, their use also presents ethical dilemmas such as privacy and security concerns as well as the potential for stigma and discrimination resulting from being associated with particular locations. Therefore, the use of geospatial technologies and resulting data needs to be critically assessed through an ethical lens prior to implementation of programmes, analyses or partnerships. This paper examines the benefits, risks and ethical considerations when undertaking evidence generation using geospatial technologies. It is supplemented by a checklist that may be used as a practical tool to support reflection on the ethical use of geospatial technologies.

Berman, Gabrielle; de la Rosa, Sara; Accone, Tanya (2018). Ethical Considerations When Using Geospatial Technologies for Evidence Generation, Innocenti Discussion Papers no. 2018-02, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence

Did a study of Indonesian people who spend most of their days under water violate ethical rules? – Science (Dyna Rochmyaningsih | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 14, 2018

In April, a paper showing why Indonesia’s Bajau people are such great divers drew worldwide attention as a striking example of recent human evolution. But the study, published in Cell, has created a different kind of stir in Indonesia, where some say it is an example of “helicopter research” carried out by scientists from rich countries with little consideration for local regulations and needs.

When conducting research in another country it is essential to rigorously determine what local research ethics arrangements and regulations apply to your planned work. While a local contact/assistant can be helpful (sometimes essential for respecting local traditions and protocols) a researcher experienced in the relevant (sub)discipline/design is more likely to be able to alert you to the jurisdiction’s ethical and legal requirements.

“Too many mistakes were made here,” says geneticist Herawati Sudoyo, who heads the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta. Indonesian officials say the research team failed to obtain ethical approval from a local review board and took DNA samples out of the country without the proper paperwork. And some Indonesian scientists complain that the only local researcher involved in the study had no expertise in evolution or genetics. But Eske Willerslev, director of the University of Copenhagen’s (KU’s) Centre for GeoGenetics, says the team he headed had a permit from the Indonesian government and worked hard to follow the rules. “I would never participate in research that I felt was unethical,” Willerslev says. The government hasn’t informed him about problems, he says, but, “If we have made an error that violates national or international guidelines, we would like to apologize for that.”

The issue escalated in late May, when Pradiptajati Kusuma, a geneticist at the Eijkman Institute who has also studied the Bajau, suggested in a tweet that the team could have faced prosecution under strict new rules on foreign research, proposed by the Indonesian government and now under debate. “Jail? Possible,” Kusuma wrote. He later deleted the tweet, but Melissa Ilardo, the Cellstudy’s first author, says she was so rattled that she canceled a July trip to Indonesia during which she planned to inform the Bajau about her study. “I did everything I could to conduct this research ethically and properly, and this is breaking my heart,” says Ilardo, a Ph.D. student at KU at the time of the fieldwork and now at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Message from Professor Colin Thomson AM0

Posted by Admin in on August 10, 2018

Dear Colleague,

I hope this finds you well and my apologies for this unsolicited email. Hopefully you already know about Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS – and that I am one of its three senior consultants (along with Prof. Mark Israel and Dr Gary Allen).

If you don’t already know, the AHRECS site includes a freely available Resource Library of over 1200 papers, books, news and other resources relating to both human research ethics and to research integrity ( and is also home to the free Research Ethics Monthly (

We are currently finalising plans for two web-based 30-minute panel discussions to be held in November covering:

  1. implementing the 2018 edition of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and
  2. the updated National Statement.

The panels will both be moderated by one of AHRECS’ senior consultants and will include a nominee of the NHMRC.  We plan to also include a researcher, a research office staff member and a HREC Chair.  These live activities will be accessible free of charge and information on dates, times and how to join either or both of them will be available on the AHRECS website before the end of October.

We are using these live panel discussions to introduce and promote a subscription service designed to raise revenue to cover our costs for more of these activities. Modelled on the idea of patronage, where patrons choose the level of support with which they are comfortable, our new service will allow Australian subscriber/patrons to download vignettes and other material for use in their in-house professional development activities. We expect to be adding at least one item to this area every month together with commentary on major breaking news and publications, as well as other exclusive information. We will put video copies of the panel discussions into the subscribers’ area.

We invite you to join this service.  Subscriptions start at USD1/month and USD15/month* grants access to all the material. This can be paid for using a credit card or PayPal account. After each payment we can provide an invoice showing it as paid (for accounting purposes)

Please consider visiting to subscribe.

Kind regards,

Prof. Colin Thomson AM

* The amount is in US dollars because we are using a US service provider to host our subscribers’ area. On current exchange rates this equate to just over $20 per month.