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Director of Hong Kong science institute ASTRI charged with misconduct for not disclosing shares in vendor companies – South China Morning Post (Danny Lee | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 20, 2019
 

Research head at government-run ASTRI accused of holding shares in companies he approved HK$535,000 worth of purchases from

The research director of a government science institute has been charged with misconduct for failing to disclose his financial interests in two companies before endorsing over half a million dollars worth of purchases.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that Lau Man-kin, the research and development director of the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), did not reveal that he and his wife had investments in the two vendors before he approved buying HK$535,000 (US$68,155) worth of computers and software.

The ICAC said in a statement on Friday that the case arose from a corruption complaint referred by ASTRI, which provided cooperation during the investigation.

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Guest Post: Encouraging Data Sharing: A Small Investment for Large Potential Gain – Scholarly Kitchen (Rebecca Grant, et al | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 20, 2019
 

Data sharing is like maths at school.*

Bear with us.

It might seem harder than the other subjects. You might feel your teachers are not very good at explaining it. But if you do not pay attention, you will very quickly find that many real-world skills rely on maths; and you would have benefited from learning the basics as it provides a solid foundation for the rest of your adult life (whether your ambitions are to become an astronaut, a Grandmaster of chess, or simply to balance your personal expenses).

Likewise, data sharing and data management form the foundation of global academic collaboration, discovery and scientific advancement. Sadly, surveys show that academics rarely get formal training in good data management (let alone best practice), and data management is rarely incentivized by institutions. All too often even the basics are ignored, with data ending up languishing on a USB stick or on a paper notepad.

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(US) Safeguards for human studies can’t cope with big data – Nature (Nathaniel Raymond | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2019
 

Forty years on from a foundational report on how to protect people participating in research, cracks are showing, warns Nathaniel Raymond.

One of the primary documents aiming to protect human research participants was published in the US Federal Register 40 years ago this week. The Belmont Report was commissioned by Congress in the wake of the notorious Tuskegee syphilis study, in which researchers withheld treatment from African American men for years and observed how the disease caused blindness, heart disease, dementia and, in some cases, death.

This item obviously relates very specifically to the origins of the US human research ethics arrangements and the operation of IRBs, but the questions it poses are salient to Australasia.  The oft repeated statement: “But the information is already published and so is in the public domain and so is exempt”.  Is no longer helpful. We have provided a list of related items.

The Belmont Report lays out core principles now generally required for human research to be considered ethical. Although technically governing only US federally supported research, its influence reverberates across academia and industry globally. Before academics with US government funding can begin research involving humans, their institutional review boards (IRBs) must determine that the studies comply with regulation largely derived from a document that was written more than a decade before the World Wide Web and nearly a quarter of a century before Facebook.
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It is past time for a Belmont 2.0. We should not be asking those tasked with protecting human participants to single-handedly identify and contend with the implications of the digital revolution. Technological progress, including machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence, has altered the potential risks of research in ways that the authors of the first Belmont report could not have predicted. For example, Muslim cab drivers can be identified from patterns indicating that they stop to pray; the Ugandan government can try to identify gay men from their social-media habits; and researchers can monitor and influence individuals’ behaviour online without enrolling them in a study.
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Duke University’s huge misconduct fine is a reminder to reward rigour – Nature (Arturo Casadevall | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 15, 2019
 

US$112.5-million settlement concerning fraudulent data is a casualty of a culture that prizes impact over robustness, says Arturo Casadevall.

Last week, Duke University announced it would pay the US government US$112.5 million to settle claims that fraudulent data were used in dozens of research-grant applications. This is a communal punishment for an institution where the overwhelming majority of scientists are honest, hard-working individuals seeking knowledge for the good of humanity.

The lesson is that scientific misconduct can carry severe institutional costs. (And scientific ones: more than a dozen papers connected to this case have been retracted.) Duke, in Durham, North Carolina, has promised to improve its practices and administration, including setting up an advisory panel on research integrity and excellence.

These steps are laudable. But I worry that the seeds of misconduct, although they grow in only a very few individuals, are planted in the very heart of academic biomedical sciences.

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