ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search into
Filter by Categories
Research integrity
Filter by Categories
Human Research Ethics

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us


Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(UK) King’s College London’s enquiry into Hans J Eysenck’s ‘Unsafe’ publications must be properly completed (Papers: David F Marks & Roderick D. Buchanan & Roderick D. Buchanan | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 23, 2019

This journal recently drew attention to an extensive body of highly questionable research published by Hans J. Eysenck in collaboration with Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. The subsequent enquiry by King’s College London concluded that 26 publications were unsafe and warranted retraction. However, the enquiry reviewed only a subset of the 61 questionable publications initially submitted to them, only those Eysenck co-authored with Grossarth-Maticek. The enquiry excluded publications where Eysenck was the sole author. The King’s College London enquiry must be properly completed. They have a pressing responsibility to re-convene and broaden their review to include all Eysenck’s publications based on the same body of research – including an additional 27 publications recently uncovered. The unsatisfactory nature of the KCL review process makes the case for a National Research Integrity Ombudsperson even stronger.

enquiry, fraud, H J Eysenck, King’s College London, personality, smoking, unsafe papers

Marks, D. F., & Buchanan, R. D. (2019). King’s College London’s enquiry into Hans J Eysenck’s ‘Unsafe’ publications must be properly completed. Journal of Health Psychology.
Editorial (Open Access):

Predatory journals: no definition, no defence – Nature (Agnes Grudniewicz, et al | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 19, 2019

Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

When ‘Jane’ turned to alternative medicine, she had already exhausted radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other standard treatments for breast cancer. Her alternative-medicine practitioner shared an article about a therapy involving vitamin infusions. To her and her practitioner, it seemed to be authentic grounds for hope. But when Jane showed the article to her son-in-law (one of the authors of this Comment), he realized it came from a predatory journal — meaning its promise was doubtful and its validity unlikely to have been vetted.

While many agree  Beal’s list had significant limitations and had faulty results, the absence of a robust definition of predatory publishers has meant there is a poor defence against their toxic impact. This piece provides an excellent approach to the problem.

Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication — along with authors’ fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked. One study that focused on 46,000 researchers based in Italy found that about 5% of them published in such outlets1. A separate analysis suggests predatory publishers collect millions of dollars in publication fees that are ultimately paid out by funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)2.

One barrier to combating predatory publishing is, in our view, the lack of an agreed definition. By analogy, consider the historical criteria for deciding whether an abnormal bulge in the aorta, the largest artery in the body, could be deemed an aneurysm — a dangerous condition. One accepted definition was based on population norms, another on the size of the bulge relative to the aorta and a third on an absolute measure of aorta width. Prevalence varied fourfold depending on the definition used. This complicated efforts to assess risk and interventions, and created uncertainty about who should be offered a high-risk operation3.

Read the rest of this discussion piece]

(US) Politics and Open Access – Scholarly Kitchen (Robert Harington | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 18, 2019

Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks of an impending US Executive Order focusing on public access to federally funded research and open data. It appears that there is indeed a document making the rounds of Federal Funding Agencies for comment. The order has apparently been in the works for a while now, emanating from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which has been tight-lipped about the existence of the order. There seems to be little concern over the fate of non-profit and society publishers. Among the likely recommendations appears to be that of a zero embargo on published journal articles. Essentially, this means that articles from researchers who are federally funded will be freely available immediately following publication.

If you add this to the Plan S initiative from Europe, you may be forgiven for predicting the end of academic publishing as we know it. At the very least you may imagine the forthcoming discussions that will ensue, with hackles raised on all sides and little empathy shown for differing viewpoints.

Here I want to explore the environment. It may be useful to provide insight into what a zero embargo could do to the publishing landscape, as well as how researchers may respond. First though I thought it may be useful to understand exactly how an Executive Order works here in the US, especially for those who may be reading in other parts of the world.

Read the rest of this discussion piece


‘A long and lonely process:’ Whistleblowers in a misconduct case speak out – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | )0

Posted by Admin in on December 16, 2019

Last week, we reported on a case at the University of Leiden in which the institution found that a former psychology researcher there had committed research misconduct. In the anonymized report — which we were able to confirm regarded Lorena Colzato, who is listed as a faculty member at Ruhr University in Bochum and at TU Dresden — the university found a lack of ethics approval for some studies and fabricating results in some grant applications. We asked the three whistleblowers in the case — Bryant Jongkees, Roberta Sellaro, and Laura Steenbergen— to reflect on their experiences. (We should note that they did not confirm it was Colzato named in the report.)

Retraction Watch (RW): What prompted you to come forward?

Bryant Jongkees, Roberta Sellaro, and Laura Steenbergen (BJ, RS, LS): We worked with the accused for many years, during which we observed and felt forced to get involved in several bad research practices. These practices would range from small to large violations. Since early on we were aware that this was not OK or normal, and so we tried to stand up to this person early on.

Read the rest of this discussion piece