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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Australian universities must wake up to the risks of researchers linked to China’s military – The Conversation (Clive Hamilton | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 28, 2019
 

Two Australian universities, University of Technology Sydney and Curtin University, are conducting internal reviews of their funding and research approval procedures after Four Corners’ revealed their links to researchers whose work has materially assisted China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province.

UTS, in particular, is in the spotlight because of a major research collaboration with CETC, the Chinese state-owned military research conglomerate. In a response to Four Corners, UTS expressed dismay at the allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, which were raised in a Human Rights Watch report earlier this year.

Yet, UTS has been aware of concerns about its collaboration with CETC for two years. When I met with two of the university’s deputy vice chancellors in 2017 to ask them about their work with CETC, they dismissed the concerns.

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(Australia) ‘Bad science’: Australian studies found to be unreliable, compromised – Sydney Morning Herald (Liam Mannix | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 28, 2019
 

Hundreds of scientific research papers published by Australian scientists have been found to be unreliable or compromised, fuelling calls for a national science watchdog.

For the first time, a team of science writers behind Retraction Watch has put together a database of compromised scientific research in Australia.

Over the past two decades, 247 scientific research papers – some associated with the country’s most reputable universities – have been found to be compromised.

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Scandal-weary Swedish government takes over research-fraud investigations – Nature (Holly Else | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 26, 2019
 

The Research Misconduct Board is one of the first national agencies tasked with investigating serious research misconduct.

Bruised by a string of high-profile scientific-misconduct cases, Sweden has laid the legislative groundwork for a government agency that will handle all allegations of serious research misconduct. The country follows in the footsteps of neighbouring Denmark, which created the world’s first such agency in 2017.

The Swedish investigative body is a positive move, which is worth emulating by other countries.  It should be complemented by a commitment to genuinely supporting a culture of practice (with nationally co-ordinated professional development and symposia).

Proponents say that handling research-misconduct investigations centrally should ensure equal, impartial treatment. But others say the move will divert resources and attention away from less serious breaches that universities will continue to deal with in-house and which, they argue, cumulatively do more damage than some more serious misdemeanours.
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The way in which Swedish research institutes handle allegations of research misconduct has come under fire in recent years — thanks in part to the case of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. Macchiarini had been accused of misconduct relating to trials of an experimental trachea-transplant method, in which some patients died. On three occasions in 2015, the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm cleared him, but independent investigations commissioned by the Karolinska later found that he had committed misconduct. A 2016 independent commission concluded that the institute’s procedures were flawed.
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It’s Time to Lift the Veil on Peer Review – UnDark (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 24, 2019
 

Data analysis can improve the vetting of scientific papers, but first publishers must agree to make the information public.

THE JOB OF A PEER REVIEWER is thankless. Collectively, academics spend around 70 million hours every year evaluating each other’s manuscripts on the behalf of scholarly journals — and they usually receive no monetary compensation and little if any recognition for their effort. Some do it as a way to keep abreast with developments in their field; some simply see it as a duty to the discipline. Either way, academic publishing would likely crumble without them.

In recent years, some scientists have begun posting their reviews online, mainly to claim credit for their work. Sites like Publons allow researchers to either share entire referee reports or simply list the journals for whom they’ve carried out a review. Just seven years old, Publons already boasts more than 1.7 million users.

The rise of Publons suggests that academics are increasingly placing value on the work of peer review and asking others, such as grant funders, to do the same. While that’s vital in the publish-or-perish culture of academia, there’s also immense value in the data underlying peer review. Sharing peer review data could help journals stamp out fraud, inefficiency, and systemic bias in academic publishing. In fact, there’s a case to be made that open peer review — in which the content of their reviews is published, sometimes with the name of reviewers who carried out the work — should become the default option in academic publishing.

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