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(US) Duke whistleblower gets more than $33 million in research fraud settlement – NPR (Bill Chappell | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 30, 2019
 

Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants. The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke.

Thomas, a former Duke lab analyst, sued the university on behalf of the federal government, saying that a Duke researcher fudged data to help the university win and keep lucrative grants from two agencies, the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The dozens of grants in question covered the study of the lung function of mice. The Justice Department says Thomas’ lawsuit alleged that “between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted and caused to be submitted” claims to federal agencies that were unknowingly paying grant money for falsified research data. It adds that while the agreement settles the court case, it does not mean Duke has been determined liable.

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(US) NIH apologizes for its failure to address sexual harassment in science – STAT (Lev Facher | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 29, 2019
 

Recognising you have made a mistake and apologising for it are obviously essential steps, but that isn’t all that is required when you’re talking about systemic sexual harassment. And in Australia we have…

WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health on Thursday apologized for its past failures to recognize and address the culture of sexual harassment that has impacted scientists for generations.
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“To all those who have endured these experiences, we are sorry that it has taken so long to acknowledge and address the climate and culture that has caused such harm,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement.
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Sexual harassment in science, Collins said, is “morally indefensible, it’s unacceptable, and it presents a major obstacle that is keeping women from achieving their rightful place in science.”
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#MeToo and Health Research Ethics – The Hastings Center (Kathleen Bachynski | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 26, 2019
 

As a public health researcher interested in brain injuries in sports, I was searching for peer-reviewed literature that examined cultural pressures that cause athletes to minimize symptoms of potentially serious injuries when I came across a 1994 article entitled, “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the Normalization of Sport Injuries.” The identity of one of the authors cast the study in a suspicious light: Dr. Richard Strauss, the Ohio State University physician who has been accused by more than 100 former students of sexual abuse.

His article was a “visual study” with numerous photos of student wrestlers. It claimed to “convey some of the details and social ambiance of today’s approach to collegiate sports medicine.”  A research method that involves photographing injured students, both at the time of injury and while undergoing medical examinations and surgical procedures, also involves significant intimate contact with a vulnerable population. In such circumstances, patients must be able to fully trust the researcher’s integrity, honesty, and respect for persons.

The irony that a doctor accused of groping his patients’ genitalia also studied the cultural belief that “a little pain never hurt anybody” astonishes me. Furthermore, I am concerned about the implications of accused serial sexual abusers publishing in academic literature: that they can use their position of authority to not only enhance their professional status but also to shape academic knowledge. According to Google Scholar, at least 117 articles have cited Strauss’ photo-essay. One 2005 article described it as an example of how the technique of photo-interviewing provided “a way to get people to talk about more difficult and abstract concepts.”

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Academic Behind Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Sues Facebook for Defamation – New York Times (Matthew Rosenberg | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 24, 2019
 

WASHINGTON — The academic who helped Cambridge Analytica vacuum up private information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles sued the social media giant on Friday, arguing that the company defamed him when it claimed he had lied about how the data was going to be used.

Since the full scope of Cambridge Analytica’s data mining was revealed last year, Facebook has repeatedly tried to shift blame for the privacy breach onto the academic, Aleksandr Kogan. Facebook executives — including the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg — have said Mr. Kogan told Facebook that the data was for academic purposes when it was being collected for use in political campaigns.

Mr. Kogan, 32, a former psychology professor, used a quiz app to collect the data, and has insisted that the fine print accompanying his app said the information could be used commercially. That was an outright violation of Facebook’s rules at the time, but the company does not appear to have regularly checked that apps were complying.

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