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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Doctor who blew whistle on defunded study speaks – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook July 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 31, 2016
 

t’s rare for the U.S. government to revoke grants – but it happened recently, according to a report this week by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KyCIR). As the report notes, in March the government revoked $914,000 in funding awarded to Susan Harkema at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, after discovering problems with a study that examined whether the muscle relaxant baclofen helps paralyzed patients move on treadmills. (The university has denied it lost any government funding; a representative of Louisville Public Media, which houses the KyCIR, is standing by the story.) All of this has not been news to Steve Williams, a physician now based at the University of Washington, who has been raising questions about the study for years.

Retraction Watch: What was your role in the study in question, that’s now been defunded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILIRR)?

Steve Williams: I was the study physician who evaluated patients for enrollment.

Read the rest of the interview

Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum (Papers: Lynette B Fernandes 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 25, 2016
 

Abstract: Responsible conduct in learning and research (RCLR) was progressively introduced into the pharmacology curriculum for undergraduate science students at The University of Western Australia. In the second year of this undergraduate curriculum, a lecture introduces students to issues such as the use of animals in teaching and responsible conduct of research. Third year student groups deliver presentations on topics including scientific integrity and the use of human subjects in research. Academic and research staff attending these presentations provide feedback and participate in discussions. Students enrolled in an optional capstone Honours year complete an online course on the responsible conduct of research and participate in an interactive movie. Once RCLR became established in the curriculum, a survey of Likert-scaled and open-ended questions examined student and staff perceptions. Data were expressed as Approval (% of responses represented by Strongly Agree and Agree). RCLR was found to be relevant to the study of pharmacology (69-100% Approval), important for one’s future career (62-100% Approval), and stimulated further interest in this area (32-75% Approval). Free entry comments demonstrated the value of RCLR and constructive suggestions for improvement have now been incorporated. RCLR modules were found to be a valuable addition to the pharmacology undergraduate curriculum. This approach may be used to incorporate ethics into any science undergraduate curriculum, with the use of discipline-specific topics. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2016.

KEYWORDS: ethics education; ethics in science and scientific research; integration of research into undergraduate teaching; pharmacology; responsible conduct

Fernandes LB (2016) Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum. Biochemistry Molecular Biology Education. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20990
Publisher: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20990.

What We Know About Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies (Papers: Gabrielle Berman, et al)0

Posted by Admin in on July 24, 2016
 

This working paper identifies and explores the issues that should be considered when undertaking ethical research involving children in humanitarian settings. Both the universal (i.e. relevant to all research involving children) and specific ethical issues that may arise when involving children in research in humanitarian settings are examined. This is undertaken through a review of the literature, relevant case studies, and a reflection on the ethical issues highlighted in UNICEF’s Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation, Data Collection and Analysis (the Ethics Procedure). The key findings of this overview highlight that many of the ethical issues that are present in other settings remain relevant and applicable in the context of humanitarian settings. These include: an institution’s capacity to appropriately and respectfully engage children in research, understanding power relations, securing informed consent and assent, ascertaining harms and benefits, maintaining privacy and confidentiality, and ensuring appropriate communication of findings.

Berman G, Hart J, O’Mathúna D, Mattellone E, Potts A, O’Kane Clare, Shusterman J and Tanner T (2016). What We Know about Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies, Innocenti Working Papers. 2016 (18) UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence
Publisher: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/849/

Researchers Sue the Government Over Computer Hacking Law – Wired (Author: Kim Zetter June 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 23, 2016
 

IN THE AGE of big data analytics, the proprietary algorithms web sites use to determine what data to display to

This news story refers to US law and Constitution but we thought it was an interesting big data/computer science case.

 visitors have the potential to illegally discriminate against users. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to employment and real estate sites, which could prevent users from having a fair crack at jobs and housing simply by failing to display certain listings to them based on their race or gender.

But four academic researchers who specialize in uncovering algorithmic discrimination say that a decades-old federal anti-hacking statute is preventing them from doing work to detect such discrimination. They say a provision of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be used to criminally prosecute them for research that involves scraping publicly available data from these sites or creating anonymous user accounts on them, if the sites’s terms of service prohibit this activity.

The researchers, along with First Look Media Works, which publishes The Intercept, filed a lawsuit today against the Justice Department, asserting that opening fake profiles to pose as job and housing seekers constitutes speech and expressive activity that is protected under the First Amendment. They further argue that because sites can change their terms of service at any time without informing visitors, this can suddenly turn any speech or activity on the site into a criminal act—a violation, they say, of the Fifth Amendment right to due process, which requires proper notice to the public of what constitutes criminal behavior….

Read the full news story

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