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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Funder open access platforms – a welcome innovation? – LSE Impact Blog (Tony Ross-Hellauer, et al | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 15, 2018
 

Funding organisations commissioning their own open access publishing platforms is a relatively recent development in the OA environment, with the European Commission following the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation in financing such an initiative. But in what ways, for better or worse, do these new platforms disrupt or complement the scholarly communications landscape? Tony Ross-Hellauer, Birgit Schmidt and Bianca Kramer examine the ethical, organisational, and economic strengths and weaknesses of funder OA platforms to scope the opportunities and threats they present in the transition to OA. While they may help to increase OA uptake, control costs, and lower the administrative burden on researchers, possible unintended consequences include conflicts of interest, difficulties of scale, or potential vendor lock-in.

The link here to research integrity may not be obvious, but we are fans of open access, believe publically funded research should be accessible to the public not locked behind a paywall and the Plan S talk is a bit of hot topic globally in academia (albeit less so than CRISPR and the birth of modified babies).

In the age of open access (OA), research funding organisations have taken a more active interest in academic publishing. They are increasingly mandating their beneficiaries to publish OA, supporting infrastructures and directly funding publishing (via article processing charges).
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A step-change in this engagement is the recent phenomenon of OA publishing platforms commissioned by funding organisations. Examples include those of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, as well as recently announced initiatives from public funders like the Irish Health Research Board and the European Commission. As the number of such platforms increases, it becomes critical to assess in which ways, for better or worse, this emergent phenomenon complements or disrupts the scholarly communication landscape.

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What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry – New York Times (Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 10, 2018
 

One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the next president of the most prominent society of cancer doctors.

These leading medical figures are among dozens of doctors who have failed in recent years to report their financial relationships with pharmaceutical and health care companies when their studies are published in medical journals, according to a review by The New York Times and ProPublica and data from other recent research.

Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, the president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, for instance, declared that he had no conflicts of interest in more than 50 journal articles in recent years, including in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

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How Do We Move Towards Better Peer Review? – The Wiley Network (Elizabeth Moylan | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 8, 2018
 

Elizabeth Moylan, Publisher at Wiley, talks to Michael Willis, Senior Manager in Wiley’s Content Review team, about the work he and colleagues have undertaken to explore what better peer review looks like.

The ability to identify a quality research output is an essential skill academics, professionals and researchers hone as their experience grows. Similary editors need to quickly refine their ability to recognise quality in peer review. But can you define its characteristics beyond pretty broad principles? Describing what makes for a high quality peer review doesn’t only make the work of editors and publishers easier, it provides helpful prompts for early career researchers who want to refine their peer review and other academic writing skills. Which is why this interview is such a helpful read.

Q. What inspired you to define a set of standards for ‘better peer review’ ?

A. The starting point was a question thrown out by a Wiley colleague: ‘is there a gold standard of peer review?’ That got us thinking about what good peer review looks like. I guess we all have our preconceptions of what good peer review looks like – it should be timely, ethical and fair – but we felt we needed to articulate the details more usefully and also  help journals to improve in measurable, specific ways.

This in turn led to a project to define essential areas of best practice for peer review. We thought about different characteristics of the peer review process, and then we described the ways in which each of these might be manifested. Taking integrity as an example, and pertinent to the theme of this year’s Peer Review Week, a journal might achieve greater integrity in its processes by working towards greater geographical and gender diversity in its reviewer pool.

You can read more about our project in this blog post which we wrote soon after the project launched.

Q. How did you go about researching some of the issues in peer review?

A. Having defined our scope, we then published a survey seeking the views of editors, reviewers, authors, readers and the general public, asking them to share examples of good practice in peer review. We received 40 case studies which we grouped under the headings of integrity, ethics, fairness, usefulness and timeliness.

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Recognizing Contributions and Giving Credit – EOS Editors’ Vox (Brooks Hanson and Susan Webb | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 6, 2018
 

AGU is working with other leading publishers to implement common standards for authorship and recognize and value specific contributions across cultures.

Problematic practices

Authorship standards in scholarly publishing can vary across disciplines. For example, in many biology papers, the last author is traditionally assumed to be the one that has organized and led the research project. In contrast, in the physical sciences, including the Earth and space sciences, the last author is considered to have contributed the least, unless the list is alphabetical. Readers are simply expected to know these distinctions.

Authorship practices are also evolving as research papers become more complex, bringing together multiple techniques and data sets, interdisciplinary approaches, international teams, and ever-longer lists of co-authors. Authors are expected to navigate the conventions and expectations of different disciplines.

Authorship issues are also at the core of many of the ethical and other difficult issues that publishers see. One problem is including honorary authors (Zen, 1988, p. 202). Another is ghost authors, who are often from industry partners or services and were involved in framing interpretations but are not recognized. This hides relevant information about influence or conflict of interest from readers. Finally, legitimate authors may be omitted because of perceived mores around funding and collaboration, or for other reasons.

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Hanson, B., and S. Webb (2018), Recognizing contributions and giving credit, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO104827. Published on 27 August 2018.