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)

The science institutions hiring integrity inspectors to vet their papers – Nature (Alison Abbott | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 13, 2019

Some researchers have their manuscripts screened for errors before they go to journals

On 15 June 2017, scientists at a respected biological institute in Germany were thrown into crisis by an alarming announcement. An investigation into the Leibniz Institute on Aging had found that its director, cell biologist Karl Lenhard Rudolph, had published eight papers with data errors, including improperly edited or duplicated parts of images.

A novel approach that research institutions should seriously consider before finding themselves in the same situation as the Leibniz Institute on Aging.

Investigators didn’t find deliberate fraud, but Rudolph wasn’t able to present original data to explain the problems. The Leibniz Association, which runs the institute in Jena and had commissioned the probe, concluded that Rudolph hadn’t supervised his lab group properly, and so was guilty of “grossly negligent scientific misconduct”. It applied the strictest sanctions it could, barring the institute from applying for research funding from the association while under Rudolph’s leadership for three years. It also ordered the centre to undergo an international review, even though the last one had been completed only a couple of years earlier. Rudolph resigned as director.

It was the second calamity in a year for the centre, which is also known as the Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI). Police had raided it in 2016 after allegations that the centre had violated European regulations on animal experiments. The experiments were suspended, and although the FLI was cleared of the allegations, not all of the experiments had been re-authorized when the Rudolph affair broke. “The second crisis sent us into shock — it seemed more personal,” says molecular geneticist Christoph Englert, a group leader at the FLI, which employs 270 scientists. Most researchers at the centre hadn’t even known their director was under investigation.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Citizen scientists ‘deserve more credit’ – Cosmos (Nick Carne | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 9, 2019

Researchers say academic journals should recognise non-professional input and indigenous knowledge.

Academic journals should allow citizen scientists and indigenous knowledge to be formally recognised on papers, researchers have suggested.

Writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a team led by Georgia Ward-Fear from Australia’s Macquarie University and Greg Pauly from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, US, argues that changes in technology mean non-professionals are taking greater roles in science work.

“Members of the general public have become pivotal contributors to research, resulting in thousands of scientific publications and measurable conservation impacts,” says Ward-Fear. “The question is: how should we credit that input?”

Read the rest of this discussion piece


Lycoming College’s “Plagiarism Game” receives a one-up through new coding – Norhcentral PA (NCPA Staff | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 8, 2019

“It is a quiet day at Lycoming… when suddenly the campus is taken over by Plagiarism goblins who want to destroy its academic integrity! You are the only person left who can destroy the goblins and restore order to the College!”

Games can be a great complement to exposition in workshops and a fun way for participants to apply what they have learned.  As an avid fantasy roleplayer at high school in the UK and at university in Australia, Gary got especially enthused about this game.

So begins “Goblin Threat,” also known throughout the Lycoming College campus as the Plagiarism Game. Created more than 10 years ago by Mary Broussard, professor and instructional services librarian and coordinator of reference and web services at Lycoming College’s Snowden Library, the game has steadily risen in popularity, receiving more than 200,000 page views in 2018, according to Google Analytics.

The game revolves around the player traveling through Lycoming College and defeating “plagiarism goblins” by correctly answering questions about plagiarism. Broussard always had an interest in game-based learning, so she applied that interest toward making both an informative and entertaining game. “The point was to make it more enjoyable than a straightforward tutorial on plagiarism,” she said.

Read the rest of this news story
Access the game –

We’re All ‘P-Hacking’ Now – Wired (Christie Aschwanden | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 7, 2019

An insiders’ term for scientific malpractice has worked its way into pop culture. Is that a good thing?

It’s got an entry in the Urban Dictionary, been discussed on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, scored a wink from Cards Against Humanity, and now it’s been featured in a clue on the TV game show Jeopardy. Metascience nerds rejoice! The term p-hacking has gone mainstream.

Results from a study can be analyzed in a variety of ways, and p-hacking refers to a practice where researchers select the analysis that yields a pleasing result. The p refers to the p-value, a ridiculously complicated statistical entity that’s essentially a measure of how surprising the results of a study would be if the effect you’re looking for wasn’t there.

Suppose you’re testing a pill for high blood pressure, and you find that blood pressures did indeed drop among people who took the medicine. The p-value is the probability that you’d find blood pressure reductions at least as big as the ones you measured, even if the drug was a dud and didn’t work. A p-value of 0.05 means there’s only a 5 percent chance of that scenario. By convention, a p-value of less than 0.05 gives the researcher license to say that the drug produced “statistically significant” reductions in blood pressure.

Read the rest of this discussion piece