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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research – James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal (Edward Archer | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 20, 2020
 

For most of the past century, the United States was the pre-eminent nation in science and technology. The evidence for that is beyond dispute: Since 1901, American researchers have won more Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, and physics than any other nation. Given our history of discovery, innovation, and success, it is not surprising that across the political landscape Americans consider the funding of scientific research to be both a source of pride and a worthy investment.

AHRECS highly recommends this excellent piece.  A worthy read, because it is an important reflection for anyone involved in conducting or guiding research.

Nevertheless, in his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that the pursuit of government grants would have a corrupting influence on the scientific community. He feared that while American universities were “historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery,” the pursuit of taxpayer monies would become “a substitute for intellectual curiosity” and lead to “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment…and the power of money.”
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Eisenhower’s fears were well-founded and prescient.
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My experiences at four research universities and as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellow taught me that the relentless pursuit of taxpayer funding has eliminated curiosity, basic competence, and scientific integrity in many fields.
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‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ and the Expulsion of Peter Gøtzsche – Medscape (Daniel Kolitz | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 13, 2020
 

FOR EIGHT MONTHS in 1975, Peter Gøtzsche recalls driving around Denmark misleading doctors about a new, more expensive type of penicillin. He was 25 years old, with master’s degrees in biology and chemistry. As a pharmaceutical representative for the Sweden-based Astra Group, he was tasked with promoting Globacillin, which was said to be more effective than regular penicillin. At the time, Gøtzsche says he did not know that the claims he was making on behalf of his employer were not backed by high-quality evidence.

Gøtzsche stayed in the pharmaceutical industry for another eight years, writing brochures, strategizing ad campaigns, and, eventually, presiding over clinical trials. It was here that disillusionment set in. Gøtzsche — in his telling, still a principled naïf — would watch with dismay as his superiors twisted or suppressed any unflattering trial results. Increasingly distraught, Gøtzsche began pursuing a medical degree, leaving the industry for good in 1983.

His medical thesis, titled “Bias in Double-Blind Trials,” examined the claims of 244 reports of clinical trials for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a group that includes ibuprofen and aspirin. Gøtzsche’s writing strongly critiqued the marketing practices of his former employer, Astra-Syntex, pointing out that no good evidence existed for their claim that the higher the dose, the better the effect.

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Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (Guidelines | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 13, 2020
 

The earliest codes of ethics in Estonia were formulated during the first period of independence (1918-1940). For instance, the first code of ethics for veterinarians was approved by the Council of the Chamber of Veterinarians on 6 March 1938. The Union of Estonian Veterinarians has now adopted a new Code of Ethics (available in Estonian only), stating general principles, veterinarians’ responsibilities toward the client, rules of professional conduct and collegial relationships. Several codes of ethics and mission statements can be found in various fields, regulating professional conduct and ethical rules in professional unions, non-governmental organisations, and private corporations. According to The Handbook of Codes of Conduct (2007), published by the Tartu University Centre for Ethics, there were approximately 90 codes of conduct in different fields in 2007.

An essential resource if your institution conducts research in Estonia.

For example, there are codes of ethics (available in Estonian only) for teachers, doctors, psychologists, engineers, and so on. The Estonian Medical Association has formulated the Estonian Code of Medical Ethics which states general principles, doctors’ responsibilities toward patients and in practice, and principles in collegial relationships. TheUnion of Estonian Psychologists has articulated Union of Estonian Psychologists for its members. A Code of Conduct for members of the Estonian Association of Engineers was approved in 1996 by its General Assembly.
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The Code of Ethics of Estonian Scientists was approved in 2002 by the General Assembly of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.
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Access the Codes’ web site

‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2020
 

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.

An earlier report of a single retraction leads to an avalanche and research misconduct investigations.

Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies.
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Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data.
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