ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesInstitutional responsibilities

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Funder open access platforms – a welcome innovation? – LSE Impact Blog (Tony Ross-Hellauer, et al | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 15, 2018

Funding organisations commissioning their own open access publishing platforms is a relatively recent development in the OA environment, with the European Commission following the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation in financing such an initiative. But in what ways, for better or worse, do these new platforms disrupt or complement the scholarly communications landscape? Tony Ross-Hellauer, Birgit Schmidt and Bianca Kramer examine the ethical, organisational, and economic strengths and weaknesses of funder OA platforms to scope the opportunities and threats they present in the transition to OA. While they may help to increase OA uptake, control costs, and lower the administrative burden on researchers, possible unintended consequences include conflicts of interest, difficulties of scale, or potential vendor lock-in.

The link here to research integrity may not be obvious, but we are fans of open access, believe publically funded research should be accessible to the public not locked behind a paywall and the Plan S talk is a bit of hot topic globally in academia (albeit less so than CRISPR and the birth of modified babies).

In the age of open access (OA), research funding organisations have taken a more active interest in academic publishing. They are increasingly mandating their beneficiaries to publish OA, supporting infrastructures and directly funding publishing (via article processing charges).

A step-change in this engagement is the recent phenomenon of OA publishing platforms commissioned by funding organisations. Examples include those of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, as well as recently announced initiatives from public funders like the Irish Health Research Board and the European Commission. As the number of such platforms increases, it becomes critical to assess in which ways, for better or worse, this emergent phenomenon complements or disrupts the scholarly communication landscape.


Read the rest of this discussion piece

(US) NIH set to strengthen its sexual-harassment policies – Nature (Sara Reardon | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 8, 2018

Agency plans to create central reporting system and launch training and education campaigns.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is remaking how it handles allegations of harassment by its employees. The agency will soon introduce a centralized system for reporting harassment by NIH scientists, director Francis Collins said on 17 September.

While this is a single agency in the US (albeit an important one) this an important move worth congratulating an emulating by local bodies.

“NIH recognizes that we need to increase our transparency on this issue,” Collins wrote in a statement to announce the launch of an anti-sexual-harassment website.

The agency is also planning to update its harassment policy and launch training and education campaigns to prevent harassment, he said. This winter, the NIH will survey its staff and contractors about the workplace climate at the agency and harassment issues. These policies will be published in the US government’s Federal Register “in a few days”, Collins said.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

How Do We Move Towards Better Peer Review? – The Wiley Network (Elizabeth Moylan | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 8, 2018

Elizabeth Moylan, Publisher at Wiley, talks to Michael Willis, Senior Manager in Wiley’s Content Review team, about the work he and colleagues have undertaken to explore what better peer review looks like.

The ability to identify a quality research output is an essential skill academics, professionals and researchers hone as their experience grows. Similary editors need to quickly refine their ability to recognise quality in peer review. But can you define its characteristics beyond pretty broad principles? Describing what makes for a high quality peer review doesn’t only make the work of editors and publishers easier, it provides helpful prompts for early career researchers who want to refine their peer review and other academic writing skills. Which is why this interview is such a helpful read.

Q. What inspired you to define a set of standards for ‘better peer review’ ?

A. The starting point was a question thrown out by a Wiley colleague: ‘is there a gold standard of peer review?’ That got us thinking about what good peer review looks like. I guess we all have our preconceptions of what good peer review looks like – it should be timely, ethical and fair – but we felt we needed to articulate the details more usefully and also  help journals to improve in measurable, specific ways.

This in turn led to a project to define essential areas of best practice for peer review. We thought about different characteristics of the peer review process, and then we described the ways in which each of these might be manifested. Taking integrity as an example, and pertinent to the theme of this year’s Peer Review Week, a journal might achieve greater integrity in its processes by working towards greater geographical and gender diversity in its reviewer pool.

You can read more about our project in this blog post which we wrote soon after the project launched.

Q. How did you go about researching some of the issues in peer review?

A. Having defined our scope, we then published a survey seeking the views of editors, reviewers, authors, readers and the general public, asking them to share examples of good practice in peer review. We received 40 case studies which we grouped under the headings of integrity, ethics, fairness, usefulness and timeliness.

Read the rest of this interview

The main obstacles to better research data management and sharing are cultural. But change is in our hands – LSE Blog (Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning | November 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 7, 2018

This blog post is a summary of Marta Teperek’s presentation at today’s Better Science through Better Data 2018 event.

By now, it’s probably difficult to find a researcher who hasn’t heard of journal requirements for sharing research data supporting publications. Or a researcher who hasn’t heard of funder requirements for data management plans. Or of institutional policies for data management and sharing. That’s a lot of requirements! Especially considering data management is just one set of guidelines researchers need to comply with (on top of doing their own competitive research, of course).

All of these requirements are in place for good reasons. Those who are familiar with the research reproducibility crisis and understand that missing data and code is one of the main reasons for it need no convincing of this. Still, complying with the various data policies is not easy; it requires time and effort from researchers. And not all researchers have the knowledge and skills to professionally manage and share their research data. Some might even wonder what exactly their research data is (or how to find it).

Read the rest of this discussion piece