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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(EU) Make Way for the Robots! Human- and Machine-Centricity in Constituting a European Public–Private Partnership (Papers: Kjetil Rommetveit, et al | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 26, 2020


Even though not directly research integrity-related, this lengthy open-access paper gives an interesting insight from Europe into the very near future of human-autonomous robot collaboration.

This article is an analytic register of recent European efforts in the making of ‘autonomous’ robots to address what is imagined as Europe’s societal challenges. The paper describes how an emerging techno-epistemic network stretches across industry, science, policy and law to legitimize and enact a robotics innovation agenda. Roadmap is the main metaphor and organizing tool in working across the disciplines and sectors, and in aligning these heterogeneous actors with a machine-centric vision along a path to make way for ‘new kinds’ of robots. We describe what happens as this industry-dominated project docks in a public–private partnership with pan-European institutions and a legislative initiative on robolaw. Emphasizing the co-production of robotics and European innovation politics, we observe how well-known uncertainties and scholarly debates about machine capabilities and human–machine configurations, are unexpectedly played out in legal scholarship and institutions as a controversy and a significant problem for human-centered legal frameworks. European robotics are indeed driving an increase in speculative ethics and a new-found weight of possible futures in legislative practice.

Rommetveit, K., van Dijk, N. & Gunnarsdóttir, K. Make Way for the Robots! Human- and Machine-Centricity in Constituting a European Public–Private Partnership. Minerva 58, 47–69 (2020).
Publisher (Open Access):

Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture (Papers: Nicole Ling Yeo-Teh & Bor Tang | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 25, 2020


We have included 17 links to other items about promoting a positive research culture through HDR professional development and mentoring.

Hofmann and Holm’s (2019) recent survey on issues of research misconduct with PhD graduates culminated with a notable conclusion by the authors: ‘Scientific misconduct seems to be an environmental issue as much as a matter of personal integrity’. Here, we re-emphasise the usefulness of an education-based countermeasure against toxic research environments or cultures that promote unethical practices amongst the younger researchers. We posit that an adequately conducted course in research ethics and integrity, with a good dose of case studies and analyses, can function in a manner that is metaphorically akin to vaccination. The training would cultivate the ability to analyse and build confidence in young researchers in making decisions with sound moral reasoning as well as in speaking up or arguing against pressure and coercions into unacceptable behaviour. A sufficiently large number of young researchers exposed to research ethics trainings would essentially provide a research community some degree of lasting herd immunity at its broadest base. Beyond passive immunity, a crop of research ethics-savvy young researchers could also play active and influential roles as role models for others at their level and perhaps even help correct the wayward attitudes of some senior researchers and initiate prompt action from institutional policy makers in a bottom-up manner.

Authorship, research environment, research ethics, research misconduct, responsible conduct of research courses

Yeo-Teh, N. S. L., & Tang, B. L. (2020). Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture. Research Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

Toward global standardization of conducting fair investigations of allegations of research misconduct (Papers: Rei Nouchi, et al | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 24, 2020


With more research projects involving international collaborators, we need a standardised international approach to the investigation of alleged research misconduct.  Relying on institutions to investigate themselves is having some predictable shortcomings.  Time for change.

In the United States, through nation-wide discussions, the procedures for handling allegations of research misconduct are now well established. Procedures are geared toward carefully treating both complainants and respondents fairly in accordance with the US framework. Other countries, which have their own cultural and legal framework, also need fair and legally compatible procedures for conducting investigations of allegations of research misconduct. Given the rapid growth of international collaboration in research, it is desirable to have a global standard, or common ground, for misconduct investigations. Institutions need clear guidance on important subjects such as what information should be included in the investigation reports, how the investigation committee should be organized once research misconduct allegation has been received, how to conduct the investigation, how the data and information obtained should be taken as evidence for vs. against misconduct, and what policies the investigation committee should follow. We explore these issues from the viewpoint of members of committees investigating accusations of research misconduct (hereafter referred to as “investigation committees”) as well as persons overseeing the committees in Japan. We hope to engender productive discussions among experts in misconduct investigations, leading to a formulation of international standards for such investigation.

Research integrity, research ethics, research misconduct, responsible conduct of research

Nouchi, R., Aihara, H., Arie, F., Asashima, M., Daida, H., Fudano, J., Fujiwara, Y., Fushiki, S., Geller, R.J., Hatano, K., Homma, T., Kimura, M., Kuroki, T., Miki, K., Morita, I., Nitta, K., Shinohara, A., Siomi, M.C., Yoshida, M. & Ichikawa, I. (2020) Toward global standardization of conducting fair investigations of allegations of research misconduct. Accountability in Research.DOI: 10.1080/08989621.2020.1747019
Publisher (Open Access):

(US) Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research – WIRED (Gregory Barber | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 20, 2020

Today’s deal between the University of California and publisher Springer Nature is a big milestone on the path to dismantling paywalls around academic journals.

FIVE YEARS AGO, when Jeffrey MacKie-Mason first joined the University of California team that negotiates with academic publishers, he asked a colleague what would happen if he failed to strike a deal. What if, instead, he simply canceled their subscription? “I was told I would be fired the next day,” the UC Berkeley librarian says. Last year, he tested out the theory. The university system had been trying to negotiate a deal to make all of its research open-access—outside of a paywall—with Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher. But they were too far apart on what that would cost. So MacKie-Mason’s team walked away.

An update on efforts towards making the results of quality research publicly accessible to all.  We have included links to fifteen related items.

To his surprise, the army of UC researchers who depended on that subscription were willing to go along with it. They’d lose the ability to read new articles in thousands of Elsevier journals, sure, but there were ways to get by without a subscription. They could email researchers directly for copies. The university would pay for individual articles. And yes, unofficially, some would just probably download from Sci-Hub, the illicit repository where virtually every scientific article can be found. To MacKie-Mason, it was clarifying: The conventional wisdom that had weakened his negotiating hand was thoroughly dispelled.

Since then, progress towards open access has crept along. More deals of the kind UC wants have been struck, especially in Europe. But in the United States, progress has been especially halting. Then, last week, MIT officials announced that they too had stepped away from the table with Elsevier, saying they couldn’t agree to a deal. And now, University of California officials have announced their intention to make a deal with Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest publisher, to begin publishing the university system’s research as open-access by default. The deal starts in 2021 for a large number of the company’s journals—and puts UC on the path, at least, to do so for all its journals within two years, including its most prestigious ones, like Nature.

Read the rest of this discussion piece