ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(US) NIH must better protect research from foreign influence, federal watchdog says – STAT (Lev Facher | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2019
 

WASHINGTON — Foreign governments and corporations could profit from American academic institutions’ failure to safeguard taxpayer-funded biomedical research, according to a set of new reports from a federal watchdog.

Even though this is a US centric item, its points about institution conflicts of interest and overseas funding are very relevant to Australasia.  It also makes some good comments about pharmacology research.

The reports, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, show that 54% of research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health — some 1,013 universities and academic centers — failed to publish financial conflict-of-interest policies online. In 2018, according to the report, the NIH conducted just three audits to determine grantee institutions’ own efforts to safeguard their research — down from 28 in 2012.
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“The concern, generally speaking, is whether financial interests threaten or distort the use of NIH funds for their intended research purpose or the results of that scientific research,” Erin Bliss, an assistant HHS inspector general, said in an interview. “There are also concerns around the diversion of intellectual property, which could be an economic or a national security risk, and the potential for distortion or inappropriate influence of funding decisions.”
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(Australia) Unauthorised survey asked students to rate Chinese people out of seven – Sydney Morning Herald (Nick Bonyhady | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2019
 

An unauthorised survey delivered to students at the University of Sydney under the university’s official logo asked them to rate the attractiveness and intelligence of Chinese people out of seven.

It is interesting this story doesn’t mention the National Statement (2007 updated 2018), the Australian Code (2018) or research misconduct though this may be encapsulated by the reference to suspension and investigation. The reported questions raise concerns as to the merit of the work, respect, justice and the troubling spectre of the alt-right.

The survey was delivered by both paid and volunteer pollsters to students voting in student representative council elections at the university this week. It claimed to be “approved in principle by the University of Sydney’s ethics committee” and “endorsed by the political science department.”
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A University of Sydney spokeswoman said the university had “very strong concerns” about the content of the survey, which it was not aware of until contacted by the Herald on Wednesday, and how it was delivered.
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“An initial inquiry indicates ethics approval was not obtained for the study and our logo has been used without permission,” the spokeswoman said. “We are formally contacting the staff and student involved today to advise them the matter may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”
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UK universities compliance with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity: findings from cross-sectional time-series – PeerJ (Elizabeth Wager | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 12, 2019
 

ABSTRACT
Background
The Concordat to Support Research Integrity published in 2012 recom- mends that UK research institutions should provide a named point of contact to receive concerns about research integrity (RI). The Concordat also requires institutions to publish annual RI statements.

Objective

6 years after the publication of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, about half of UK universities are not complying with all its recommendations.

To see whether contact information for a staff member responsible for RI was readily available from UK university websites and to see how many universities published annual RI statements.
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Methods
UK university websites were searched in mid-2012, mid-2014 and mid-2018. The availability of contact details for RI inquiries, other information about RI and, specifically, an annual RI statement, was recorded.

Result
The proportion of UK universities publishing an email address for RI inquiries rose from 23% in 2012 (31/134) to 55% in 2018. The same proportion (55%) published at least one annual RI statement in 2018, but only three provided statements for all years from 2012/13. There was great variation in the titles used for the staff member with responsibility for RI which made searching difficult.

Conclusion
Over 6 years after the publication of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, nearly half of UK universities are not complying with all its recommendations and do not provide contact details for a staff member with responsibility for RI or an annual statement.

Subjects
Ethical Issues, Legal Issues, Science and Medical Education, Science Policy

Keywords
Researchintegrity,Misconduct,Universities,UK

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 For Vulnerable Populations, the Thorny Ethics of Genetic Data Collection – UnDark (Adrian Pecotic | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 10, 2019
 

To be equitable, genetics research needs more diverse samples. But collecting that data could exploit the very people scientists intend to help.

IN 2009, RESEARCHERS collected DNA from four elderly men in Namibia, each from one of the many San indigenous communities scattered across southern Africa. A year later, analyses of the men’s DNA were published in the journal Nature — alongside that of South African human rights activist Desmond Tutu. The intention, in part, was to increase the visibility of southern, indigenous Africans in genetic-based medical research. Soon after, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) representing indigenous minorities in Southern Africa took issue with the consent procedures used to gather the data and wrote to Nature’s editors accusing the paper’s authors of “absolute arrogance, ignorance, and cultural myopia.”

The San case highlights the thorny ethics of collecting genetic data. Yet today, to make medicine more equitable, scientists see the importance of sampling DNA from more diverse populations. Most genetic research uses DNA from descendants of Europeans, which means the related medical applications — such as genetic tests to see the likelihood of developing a certain disease, called polygenic risk assessments — can only benefit those populations. In 2018 in the United States, for example, the National Institutes of Health launched All of Us, a research program that aims to collect DNA, electronic health records, and other data, from about one million Americans with emphasis on including many different groups of people.

“When we do genetic studies, trying to understand the genetic basis of common and complex diseases, we’re getting a biased snapshot,” said Alicia Martin, a geneticist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute, a biomedical and genomics research center affiliated with Harvard and MIT.

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