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

They agreed to listen to a complaint about a paper. Then the harassment began – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 5, 2017

We receive our fair share of tips, and most are well-intentioned attempts to clean up the scientific literature. However, sometimes would-be critics can veer into personal attacks. As chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, Virginia Barbour has seen a lot. But nothing quite prepared her for being cyberbullied by someone the organisation had agreed to listen to when they raised a complaint about a published paper. In this guest post, Barbour tells the story of how COPE’s attempts to assist led to hundreds of harassing emails and unfounded accusations of a cover-up, which the complainant spread indiscriminately.

The AHRECS team know Ginny, respect her work and respect the contribution COPE makes to the research integrity sphere, so we found this account doubly concerning.

By its very nature, publication and research ethics often includes issues that are hard to resolve and it’s not uncommon for journals to receive concerns from individuals about specific papers. COPE has guidance for its members on what to do when they are contacted by such individuals. We urge and support editors and publishers in taking issues raised seriously. Nonetheless, such individuals (whether anonymous or not) can experience difficulties in getting their cases heard and, in rare and unusual cases, face extreme measures to silence them.
At COPE, we therefore also have a mechanism whereby readers can raise concerns about an issue in a COPE member journal, if the journal and publisher have not been able to resolve the issue. We have devoted increasing resources to this mechanism, even though is not the primary reason for which COPE was set up. As a membership organisation, COPE does not have regulatory authority over journals or publishers, but we can review the process the journal or publisher followed to determine if best practice was followed.

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Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research0

Posted by Admin in on June 3, 2017

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

1.1 Introduction
The search for knowledge about ourselves and the world around us is a fundamental human endeavour. Research1 is a natural extension of this desire to understand and to improve the world in which we live, and its results have both enriched and improved our lives and human
society as a whole.

In order to maximize the quality and benefits of research, a positive research environment is required. For researchers, this implies duties of honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to the use of professional standards. For the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (the Agencies) and institutions that receive Agency funding, it calls for a commitment to foster and maintain an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

This RCR Framework sets out the responsibilities and corresponding policies for researchers, institutions, and the Agencies, that together help support and promote a positive research environment. It specifies the responsibilities of researchers with respect to research integrity, applying for funding, financial management, and requirements for conducting certain types of research, and defines what constitutes a breach of Agency policies. For institutions, it details the minimum requirements for institutional policies for addressing allegations of all types of policy breaches, and institutions’ responsibilities for promoting responsible conduct of research and reporting to the Agencies. This RCR Framework also sets out the process to be followed by them Agencies, and administered by the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR) and the Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research (PRCR), when addressing allegations of breaches of Agency policies

Canadian revision of RCR now out…
Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016)

Redefine misconduct as distorted reporting – Nature: World View Column (Daniele Fanelli | 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2017

To make misconduct more difficult, the scientific community should ensure that it is impossible to lie by omission, argues Daniele Fanelli.

Against an epidemic of false, biased and falsified findings, the scientific community’s defences are weak. Only the most egregious cases of misconduct are discovered and punished. Subtler forms slip through the net, and there is no protection from publication bias.

Delegates from around the world will discuss solutions to these problems at the 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity ( in Montreal, Canada, on 5–8 May. Common proposals, debated in Nature and elsewhere, include improving mentorship and training, publishing negative results, reducing the pressure to publish, pre-registering studies, teaching ethics and ensuring harsh punishments.

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We need more research on causes and consequences, as well as on solutions (Papers: Daniele Fanelli | 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on May 29, 2017


There is no direct evidence that the reproducibility of published findings has actually declined, or that bias and misconduct have increased in frequency. The recent rise in retractions, typically invoked as evidence of an epidemic of fraud, is instead accounted for entirely by the increasing number of journals who implement policies to retract papers, and therefore should be interpreted as a positive sign [1].

The most reliable evidence of a growing problem comes from two independent studies [2, 3] that measured the prevalence of reported ‘positive’ or statistically significant results in electronic databases, using different proxies. Both these studies show that positive-outcome bias, at least in scientific abstracts, has grown in most disciplines and countries. It is still unclear, however, if and to what extent this growth in literature biases reflects a growth in actual significance chasing, selection or manipulation of data. The rate at which scientists admit to having committed various forms of misconduct, for example, has declined, not increased, over the years [4]

Bias, meta-science, misconduct, peer-review, reporting, retraction

Fanelli D (2015) We need more research on causes and consequences, as well as on solutions. Addiction 110(1) pp11-13