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

Flying Blind – the Australian Health Data Series: The Ethics Quagmire: Case Studies (Uma Srinivasan | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 17, 2020

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

In Flying Blind 2, we have been highlighting the tortuous route of the researcher’s journey, as they negotiate the ethics processes and the myriad data sources required for their research. In the next few blogs, Australian health and medical researchers who have been through the journey, present real-life case studies and  back-of-the-envelope calculations of what it takes to identify existing data sets and negotiating the ethics processes, to link the data sets to support their research.

What is sad for Australian health research is that these numbers do not reflect reseachers’ time spent in actually performing research!

We hope the case studies will shine a light on the complexities and the lack of efficiency and transparency around tapping into de-identified pre-existing administrative data sets from multiple states and federal health data sources.

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When it comes to good practice in science, we need to think global but act local – Nature (Editorial | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 15, 2020

International codes of conduct are important, but grass-roots efforts are the key to embedding research integrity.

When it comes to research integrity, scientists use the language of aspiration, whereas policymakers talk about hard rules and enforcement.

An excellent discussion about a useful approach institutions can take to research integrity.  Also see the discussion about The Embassy of Good Science) discussed here:

That’s one conclusion from an in-depth analysis of published research and policy documents in research integrity (S. P. J. M. Horbach and W. Halffman Sci. Eng. Ethics 23, 1461–1485; 2017). There are other disconnects, too. Countries, disciplines and sectors often approach integrity in different ways. For some, it can be confined to preventing data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. But integrity is much broader, encompassing quality and relevance, as well as recognition of diversity and inclusion.

The need for a unified approach is slowly gaining recognition. The World Science Forum, a biennial meeting of researchers and policymakers from different countries, issued a declaration at its November conference in Budapest that called for, among other things, “harmonisation and enforcement of standards of conduct of scientific research across borders and across public and private research”. The declaration also supported processes by which scientists “can report suspected research misconduct and other irresponsible research practices, without fear of reprisal”, and it urged clearer procedures for responding to such concerns.

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‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ and the Expulsion of Peter Gøtzsche – Medscape (Daniel Kolitz | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 13, 2020

FOR EIGHT MONTHS in 1975, Peter Gøtzsche recalls driving around Denmark misleading doctors about a new, more expensive type of penicillin. He was 25 years old, with master’s degrees in biology and chemistry. As a pharmaceutical representative for the Sweden-based Astra Group, he was tasked with promoting Globacillin, which was said to be more effective than regular penicillin. At the time, Gøtzsche says he did not know that the claims he was making on behalf of his employer were not backed by high-quality evidence.

Gøtzsche stayed in the pharmaceutical industry for another eight years, writing brochures, strategizing ad campaigns, and, eventually, presiding over clinical trials. It was here that disillusionment set in. Gøtzsche — in his telling, still a principled naïf — would watch with dismay as his superiors twisted or suppressed any unflattering trial results. Increasingly distraught, Gøtzsche began pursuing a medical degree, leaving the industry for good in 1983.

His medical thesis, titled “Bias in Double-Blind Trials,” examined the claims of 244 reports of clinical trials for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a group that includes ibuprofen and aspirin. Gøtzsche’s writing strongly critiqued the marketing practices of his former employer, Astra-Syntex, pointing out that no good evidence existed for their claim that the higher the dose, the better the effect.

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‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2020

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.

An earlier report of a single retraction leads to an avalanche and research misconduct investigations.

Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies.

Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data.

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