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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Singapore legal challenge ‘will chill academic freedom’ – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 27, 2019
 

Academics issue warning after news story including critical comments about country’s top universities is removed

Academics fear that the removal of an online article that included critical comments about the country’s two leading universities following a legal challenge will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

The story, “Opaque policies, xation with KPIs, rankings: why arts and humanities academics quit NUS, NTU”, which was published by the online newspaper Today, included interviews with several academics who had left or were planning to leave the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

According to the article, scholars claimed that the universities failed to retain talented academics because of their “incessant pursuit of rankings and the relative lack of academic freedom when it comes to certain projects or research initiatives”.

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The Pernicious Effects of Compression Plagiarism on Scholarly Argumentation (Papers: M. V. Dougherty | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 26, 2019
 

Abstract
Despite an increased recognition that plagiarism in published research can take many forms, current typologies of plagiarism are far from complete. One under-recognized variety of plagiarism—designated here as compression plagiarism—consists of the distillation of a lengthy scholarly text into a short one, followed by the publication of the short one under a new name with inadequate credit to the original author. In typical cases, compression plagiarism is invisible to unsuspecting readers and immune to anti-plagiarism software. The persistence of uncorrected instances of plagiarism in all its forms—including compression plagiarism—in the body of published research literature has deleterious consequences for the reliability of scholarly communication. Not the least of these problems is that original authors are denied credit for their discoveries. When unsuspecting researchers read articles that are the products of plagiarism, they unwittingly engage the arguments of hidden original authors through the proxy of plagiarists. Furthermore, when these researchers later publish responses to the plagiarizing articles, not knowing they are engaging products of plagiarism, they create additional inefficiencies and redundancies in the body of published research. This article analyzes a suspected instance of compression plagiarism that appeared within the pages of this journal and considers the particular ways in which plagiarism of this variety weakens the quality of scholarly argumentation, with special attention paid to the field of philosophy.

Keywords
Compression plagiarism Authorship Research misconduct Retractions Argumentation Scholarly communication 

Dougherty, M.V. (2019) The Pernicious Effects of Compression Plagiarism on Scholarly Argumentation. Argumentation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-019-09481-3
Publisher: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10503-019-09481-3

We need to relearn how to play nice in peer review – UA/AU (Daniel Harris | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 16, 2019
 

By changing the way we discuss scholarly work, we will not only improve scholarship but also reduce the unnecessary hostility rampant in academia.

Academia has emerged as an unassuming minefield of mental health hazards. Examples from the scholarly and lay literatures detail rampant depression, anxiety and panic symptoms among academics, especially graduate students. A recent study of over 3,000 PhD students in Belgium revealed that 32 percent were at risk of having or developing a psychiatric disorder. It was also found that compared to a highly educated general population, PhD students had 3.5 times the risk of lost self-confidence and 3.4 times the risk of feeling worthless. Family-work conflicts and a culture of closed decision-making were among the strongest independent predictors of psychiatric distress among participants.

A recent example from the news media described “the silencing effect of academia” and the “need to be thick-skinned” to progress successfully as an academic. Despite the concerning severity and omnipresence of anxiety experienced by the author and the author’s peers, a culture of silence reigned. Nature also published a series of testimonials written by doctoral students and researchers describing their experiences with mental health and suggestions to drive culture change. Establishing support systems, broadening career prospects, and accessing professional mental health services, were among the many suggestions to remain resilient in a viciously competitive, and at times, distressingly lonely work environment. As a PhD student in epidemiology, my lay review of these articles forced me to consider my own journey as a researcher and graduate student in public health.

Like most graduate students, I suffer from imposter syndrome. As such, I obsess about the quality of my work – afraid, at best, to disappoint my department and mentor, and at worst, to have my name blacklisted among the community of public health researchers. While my obsessive tendencies are arguably adaptive, they nonetheless hinder my quality of life and have questionable long-term sustainability. Therefore, like the scientist I am, I went searching for possible etiological explanations for my worsening anxiety. Paradoxically, I discovered that I frequently contribute to the very academic culture causing my own mental health challenges: the unnecessary and unacademic belittling of peer-reviewed work.

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Commentary: a broader perspective on the RePAIR consensus guidelines (Responsibilities of Publishers, Agencies, Institutions, and Researchers in protecting the integrity of the research record) (Papers: Zoë H. Hammatt | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 14, 2019
 

The topic of responsibilities of publishers, agencies, institutions, and researchers in protecting the integrity of the research record is relevant for each of these stakeholders in the research enterprise. The RePAIR Consensus Guidelines reflect conversations on this important topic among diverse stakeholders rather than a single constituency. As such, they provide a starting point for additional discussion around improving communication among those handling retractions.

To advance the field beyond the Singapore and Montreal Statements and other referenced guidelines such as those produced by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the RePAIR Guidelines could serve as a springboard for articulating points of tension and offering solutions.

If these guidelines seek to offer specific recommendations on procedural aspects of interaction between stakeholders, however, extension beyond existing procedural guidelines (e.g., COPE and CLUE, referenced in the article) would be necessary. Such extension would require thorough literature review and additional consultation to ensure feasibility and a clear focus.

Hammatt, ZH (2018) Commentary: a broader perspective on the RePAIR consensus guidelines (Responsibilities of Publishers, Agencies, Institutions, and Researchers in protecting the integrity of the research record). Research Integrity and Peer Review. 20183:14 https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-018-0056-0

Publisher (Open Access): https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41073-018-0055-1

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