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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(China) Publishers urged to take stronger stance on Uighur persecution – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on January 30, 2020

Scholars say ensuring vulnerable minorities have given consent to use of their data does not go far enough

Academics are pushing journal publishers to take more drastic action in response to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims in the wake of increasing scrutiny over the global science community’s role in the continued persecution.

There have been rising concerns over Western journals’ publication of papers focusing on the DNA of minority ethnic groups by Chinese scientists affiliated with the country’s surveillance agencies.

More than 1 million Uighurs and other members of predominantly Muslim minority groups are believed to have been locked up in internment camps and there are worries that this research is being used to build databases, facial recognition systems and other methods for monitoring these groups.

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Should research misconduct be criminalized? (Papers: Rafael Dal-Ré, et al | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on January 29, 2020


This isn’t the first time this idea has been floated (indeed it is already criminalised in some jurisdictions) and we’ve had our reservations#, but the argument in this open access paper is well written. #Making something illegal and punishable can engender a black or white attitude: something is either illegal or okay. This outlook may be counterproductive.

For more than 25 years, research misconduct (research fraud) is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (FFP)—although other research misbehaviors have been also added in codes of conduct and legislations. A critical issue in deciding whether research misconduct should be subject to criminal law is its definition, because not all behaviors labeled as research misconduct qualifies as serious crime. But assuming that all FFP is fraud and all non-FFP not is far from obvious. In addition, new research misbehaviors have recently been described, such as prolific authorship, and fake peer review, or boosted such as duplication of images. The scientific community has been largely successful in keeping criminal law away from the cases of research misconduct. Alleged cases of research misconduct are usually looked into by committees of scientists usually from the same institution or university of the suspected offender in a process that often lacks transparency. Few countries have or plan to introduce independent bodies to address research misconduct; so for the coming years, most universities and research institutions will continue handling alleged research misconduct cases with their own procedures. A global operationalization of research misconduct with clear boundaries and clear criteria would be helpful. There is room for improvement in reaching global clarity on what research misconduct is, how allegations should be handled, and which sanctions are appropriate.

Research misconduct, scientific misconduct, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, research fraud

Dal-Ré, R., Bouter, L. M., Cuijpers, P., Gluud, C., & Holm, S. (2020) Should research misconduct be criminalized? Research Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

Australian biobank repatriates hundreds of ‘legacy’ Indigenous blood samples – Science (Dyani Lewis | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 28, 2020

The return is part of a groundbreaking approach that could inspire other institutions grappling with how to use historical samples ethically in research.

Last month, the Galiwin’ku community of Elcho Island off the coast of northern Australia celebrated the return of more than 200 vials of blood that were collected from their ancestors half a century ago, before modern research principles on informed consent existed. Unbeknownst to the Galiwin’ku community, the blood vials had been in freezers at the Australian National University in Canberra ever since.

It is great to see community activism and voice finally achieve an ethical outcome on a historical wrong.

Many Indigenous Australian communities believe that the remains of their people, including blood and hair, must return to their ancestral home, or Country, to be at peace. Having the blood vials returned “meant a lot to us”, says Ross Mandi Wunungmurra, chair of the Yalu Aboriginal Corporation, the community organization that helped negotiate the samples’ return. Mandi is one of several hundred living community members whose own blood was collected after a typhoid outbreak in 1968.

Before the samples of the deceased were repatriated, the relatives gave permission for DNA to be extracted from the blood, while those still alive offered fresh samples. The genetic information will be stored in the biobank of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), which the Australian National University (ANU) established specifically to manage its historical samples.

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Working with research integrity – guidance for research performing organisations: The Bonn PRINTEGER Statement (Resource | February 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on January 28, 2020

About the document

Research integrity is inherently linked to the quality and excellence of research and science for policy. To further this agenda, the European PRINTEGER project (Promoting Integrity as an Integral Dimension of Excellence in Research) has conducted comprehensive studies on research integrity and misconduct. [i] The research shows that there is a need for increased focus and guidance on how organisations may address such issues. In order to develop guidance that is anchored beyond the PRINTEGER project consortium, a consensus panel was established with a broader range of members representing wide practical and theoretical understandings of how to strengthen integrity in research organisations. The panel consists of members from different European countries and organisations, with diversity in terms of gender, geography, functions, seniority and disciplinary background.2 The members discussed recommendations in two rounds by email (a Delphi process) and at a final 1-day meeting during the PRINTEGER Conference on Research Integrity, in Bonn in Germany, February 7th 2018. This document presents the outcome of the consensus process.

The authors of this contribution are the signatories of the statement. While drawing on their professional backgrounds, the panel members are signatories of the statement in their private capacity. The statement represents the agreement of all members.


Research—and thus research misconduct—mostly takes place in a professional and organisational setting, and the organisations are normally held to be co-responsible for the conduct of their staff. There are therefore clear expectations (in some countries, legally mandated) for organisations to systematically work to promote responsible conduct in research, strengthen research integrity and reduce the risk of research misconduct. This document emphasises that responsibility for ethical research lies with everyone who is active in research, but especially with leaders in research performing organisations. Researchers’ morals alone cannot ensure research integrity; good conditions for exercising integrity must also be created at the level of the organisation and the research system.

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