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A fascinating history of clinical trials from their beginnings in Babylon – Medium (Prof. Adrian Esterman | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2020

Clinical trials are required to test treatments for COVID-19. Take a quick trip over 2,000 years and discover how our current understanding of clinical trials was formed.

Clinical trials
Clinical trials are currently being undertaken to test treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. There are many different types of clinical trial design, from a simple before and after (measure something in patients, do an intervention like giving them a drug, then measure them again), to a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of all clinical trial designs.

Planning to give a talk about clinical trials and want to give it some historical context?  This is a great resource to use.

Here is a light-hearted history of how clinical trials developed over the last two thousand years, including the first recorded instances of control groups, the use of placebos and randomization. It will give you a better understanding of how clinical trials are designed.
600 BC Daniel and his kosher diet.

Surprisingly, the first ever clinical trial is found in the Bible in Book one of Daniel and took place in Babylon. In 600 BC, some captive children of the Israeli royal family and nobility were taken into the King Nebuchadnezzar’s service in Babylon — among them were Daniel and three friends. Supposedly, these were golden young men — physically perfect, handsome, intelligent, knowledgeable and well qualified to serve in the king’s palace.

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What to do when your research comes under fire – Nature Index (Andy Tay | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 16, 2020

3 pieces of advice from the frontlines of scientific debate.

Nothing could have prepared chemist Dan Shechtman for the waves of criticism that would follow his discovery of quasi-crystals.

This piece offers excellent advice.  A worthy inclusion in your institution’s Research Integrity Resource Library.

A direct challenge to the assumption that all crystals have an ordered and repeating atomic structure, the patterns of atomic arrangement in quasi-crystals do not repeat.

“Before publishing my work, only a few scientists knew about my finding and their reactions were varied. Many felt that the data were encouraging, while some were more sceptical,” says Shechtman, now a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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Copyright Dough: a game to teach, and bring discussion, about copyright licences and exceptions – UK Copyright Literacy ( | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 15, 2020

Today’s guest blog post is from Hannah Pyman who is an Information Literacy Co-ordinator at the University of Essex. Within this role, she specialises in scholarly communication and research support. Having only been in this newly developed role since September 2019, Hannah is working with her colleagues to better establish how information literacy and scholarly communication work together in practice. Copyright Dough is a clear example of this, illustrating how information literacy techniques can be used to promote a broader understanding of a complex area of scholarly communication. Hannah also graduated from the University of Sheffield in January 2020 with an MA in Library and Information Services Management.

They had us at playdough. This is a fun way to get workshop participants hand-on with copyright and applying their knowledge in a delightfully kinaesthetic activity.

While we all see copyright as a topic of great excitement(!), it’s no secret that sometimes it can be difficult to get others to see the same. My colleague Katrine Sundsbo and I therefore took it upon ourselves to develop a new game to help engage users in the joys of copyright licences and exceptions. However, we were keen to ensure that every participant still went away from the game sessions having learnt a helpful amount about the sometimes-complicated world of copyright. Our other criteria was that the game could be shared amongst the community, as open education is something we are keen to pursue. So with those criteria in mind, Copyright Dough was born.

What is Copyright Dough?

Copyright Dough is an interactive game that gives participants a chance to put themselves in the position of different stakeholders. Within the game, we have termed these stakeholder roles as ‘creators’, ‘researchers’, ‘teachers’, and ‘students’. Each player begins the game by being given a card with one of these roles, along with some light-hearted information about their role’s character to help inspire them later (it is safe to say that we had a great time coming up with a whole range of guilty pleasures!).

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‘TripAdvisor for peer review’ targets publishing bias – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 12, 2020

Text scans by artificial intelligence will flag inconsistent or unusual patterns in reviewer behaviour, says Wolverhampton professor

The scornful comments of “reviewer 2” have become a running joke in academia. But a new artificial intelligence system – dubbed a “TripAdvisor for peer review” – may soon be able to test whether the scathing remarks of anonymous referees are being handed out fairly or not.

Amid concerns that peer reviewers are harsher in their criticisms of female researchers or those from less prestigious institutions, PeerJudge scans peer review reports for keywords – either positive or negative – to see whether reviewers are unduly tough when assessing certain types of researchers.

The program, which was created by technology company F1000 and researchers at the University of Wolverhampton, also checks whether reviewer comments correspond with the final recommendation to accept or reject the paper – an area of grievance for researchers when broadly positive comments on their manuscripts are followed by a call to reject.

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