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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Universities told to appoint research integrity ‘counsellors’ – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 10, 2020

But paper from League of European Research Universities says that anonymous reports of research misconduct should be avoided

Universities should appoint “confidential counsellors” at a faculty level to advise staff and students on research integrity issues, according to a new report from some of Europe’s leading institutions.

Australian institutions will be familiar with the value of Research Integrity Advisers and will hopefully also have a network of collegiate Research Ethics Advisers.

An advice paper published by the League of European Research Universities says it is “important that researchers are able to…obtain strictly confidential advice”, adding that “in many cases researchers face problems that they do not immediately want to share with their colleagues”.

This is particularly an issue when the researcher’s career is partly dependent on their colleague, such as in the case of a PhD student and their supervisor, it says.

Antoine Hol, professor of jurisprudence at Utrecht University, chair of the Leru research integrity group and co-author of the paper, said that it was relatively common for universities to have confidential counsellors or advisers at a university level, but it was important for institutions to make such appointments at a faculty level so that they are easily accessible and understand the specific culture that researchers might be facing.


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(Egypt) Professor Obbink and missing EES papyri – Egypt Exploration Society (October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 8, 2020

On 25 June 2019 the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) posted a statement on its website that it was working with the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) to clarify whether any texts from the EES Oxyrhynchus collection had been sold or offered for sale to Hobby Lobby or its agents, and if so, when and by whom. This was in response to the online publication by Dr Brent Nongbri, following its release by Professor Michael Holmes of the MOTB, of a redacted copy of a contract of 17 January 2013 between Professor Dirk Obbink and Hobby Lobby Stores for the sale of six items to Hobby Lobby, including four New Testament fragments probably of EES provenance. This statement reports our findings to date.

Ever so often, you come across a research integrity story that feels like the synopsis of a thriller novel.

With the help of photographs provided by the MOTB, the EES has so far identified thirteen texts from its collection, twelve on papyrus and one on parchment, all with biblical or related content, which are currently held by the MOTB (see the attached list). These texts were taken without authorisation from the EES, and in most of the thirteen cases the catalogue card and photograph are also missing. Fortunately, the EES has back-up records which enable us to identify missing unpublished texts. For clarity, we note that the four texts specified in the handwritten list made public alongside the 2013 contract, which are probably the texts of that contract, remain in the EES collection, and two have been published as P.Oxy. LXXXIII 5345 and 5346.

The Board of Trustees of the MOTB has accepted the EES claim to ownership of the thirteen pieces identified to date, and is arranging to return them to the EES. The EES is grateful to the MOTB for its co-operation, and has agreed that the research on these texts by scholars under the auspices of the MOTB will receive appropriate recognition when the texts are published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series.

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(Russia) Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up – The Washington Post (Robyn Dixon | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 7, 2020

MOSCOW — Eight years ago, President Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia must become a leading scientific power. That meant at least five top-100 Russian universities by 2020, and a dramatic increase in the number of global citations of Russian scientific papers.

A ‘good’ example of how a top-down edict for more high exposure research performance, without at the same time investing in research culture, is a recipe for disaster.

Now a group at the center of Putin’s aspirations, the Russian Academy of Sciences, has dropped a bombshell into the plans. A commission set up by the academy has led to the retraction of at least 869 Russian scientific articles, mainly for plagiarism.

“This is the largest retraction in Russian scientific history. Never before have hundreds of papers been retracted,” said Andrei Zayakin, scientific secretary of the RAS Commission for Countering the Falsification of Scientific Research. “Before two years ago, there might have been single cases, but not even dozens.”

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Competition drives researchers to counselling – and exit door – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 5, 2020

Poll of 4,000 researchers reveals half have sought or wanted help for mental health problems, and four in 10 are victims of bullying or harassment

Half of researchers have sought or wanted professional help to deal with anxiety or depression, according to a landmark survey that blames competition and targets for creating an “aggressive” culture of bullying and overwork.

Further to the item we posted yesterday, this item from the UK should give everyone pause.  The toxic work environment in research institutions have real consequences that we cannot ignore or dismiss.

Thirty-four per cent of the 4,000 researchers who completed the Wellcome Trust poll, most of whom were based in the UK, said that they had sought professional help for depression or anxiety during their research career, and a further 19 per cent had wanted to do so.

Women were more likely to have sought help than men, with 38 per cent having done so, compared with 25 per cent of males. Only 44 per cent of respondents agreed that their workplace offered adequate well-being support.

Among other findings, the survey, published on 15 January, reveals:

  • Forty-three per cent of respondents said that they had experienced bullying or harassment at work, with women more likely to be victims (49 per cent) than men (34 per cent).


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