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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Perish not publish? New study quantifies the lack of female authors in scientific journals – The Conversation (Ione Fine and Alicia Shen | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 2, 2018

“Publish or perish” is tattooed on the mind of every academic. Like it or loathe it, publishing in high-profile journals is the fast track to positions in prestigious universities with illustrious colleagues and lavish resources, celebrated awards and plentiful grant funding. Yet somehow, in the search to understand why women’s scientific careers often fail to thrive, the role of high-impact journals has received little scrutiny.

One reason is that these journals don’t even collect data about the gender or ethnic background of their authors. To examine the representation of women within these journals, with our colleagues Jason Webster and Yuichi Shoda, we delved into MEDLINE, the online repository that contains records of almost every published peer-reviewed neuroscience article. We used the database to predict the gender of first and last authors on over 166,000 articles published between 2005 and 2017 in high-profile journals that include neuroscience, our own scientific discipline. The results were dispiriting.

Female scientists underrepresented

We began by looking at first authors – the place in the author list that traditionally is held by the junior researcher who does the hands-on research. We expected over 40 percent to be women, similar to the percentage of women postdocs in neuroscience in the U.S. and Europe. Instead, fewer than 25 percent first authors in the journals Nature and Science were women.

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Scientists Rarely Admit Mistakes. A New Project Wants to Change That – UnDark (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 30, 2018

What are researchers to do when they lose confidence in their previously published work? A new project seeks to offer them an outlet.

IN SEPTEMBER 2016, the psychologist Dana Carney came forward with a confession: She no longer believed the findings of a high-profile study she co-authored in 2010 to be true. The study was about “power-posing” — a theory suggesting that powerful stances can psychologically and physiologically help one when under high-pressure situations. Carney’s co-author, Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Harvard University, had earned much fame from power poses, and her 2012 TED talk on the topic is the second most watched talk of all time.

Carney, now based at the University of California, Berkeley, had, however, changed her mind. “I do not believe that ‘power pose’ effects are real,” she wrote on her website in 2016. The reason, she added, was that “since early 2015 the evidence has been mounting suggesting there is unlikely any embodied effect of nonverbal expansiveness.” Other researchers, it turned out, could not replicate the power pose results, and withering scrutiny of the Carney and Cuddy study by fellow scientists mounted.

Carney’s assertions and Cuddy’s responses were widely covered in the media. (Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Cuddy had successfully refuted criticism of the power-posing study.) And despite her own eventual refutation of the findings, Carney did not believe the original paper warranted a full retraction, because it “was conducted in good faith based on phenomena thought to be true at the time,” she told the research integrity blog Retraction Watch.

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Should research fraud be a crime? (Zulfiqar A Bhutta and Julian Crane | 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on October 28, 2018

Zulfiqar A Bhutta says that criminal sanctions are necessary to deter growing deliberate research misconduct, which can ultimately harm patients. Julian Crane disagrees: he doubts that sanctions will have any deterrent effect and worries that criminalisation would undermine trust

Bhutta, Z. A. and J. Crane (2014). “Should research fraud be a crime?” BMJ : British Medical Journal 349


Retraction Watch: We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.0

Posted by Admin in on October 27, 2018

Readers, this is a big day for us.

We’re officially launching the Retraction Watch Database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package of stories and infographics based on it that we developed with our partners at Science Magazine. In that package, you’ll learn about trends — some surprising, some perhaps not — and other tidbits such as which countries have the highest retraction rates. Thanks as always to our partners at Science, particularly Jeffrey Brainard and Jia You, who crunched the numbers and developed the package.

We think this is wonderful news because the database will be of great assistance to researchers of all experience levels. We know collaborating with someone with a previous retraction can be costly and citing a retracted paper is unwise, but finding reliable information hasn’t always been easy. We recommend this service for inclusion in your research integrity resources and professional development material.  Full disclosure: AHRECS proudly sponsor Retraction Watch

As readers no doubt know, we’ve been working on the database for some years. Some have asked us why it has taken so long — can’t we just pull retractions from existing databases like PubMed, or publishers’ sites? The answer is resoundingly no. All of those databases are missing retractions, whether by design or because notices aren’t transmitted well. That’s why we found more than 18,000, far more than you’ll find elsewhere. And we also went through each one and assigned it a reason, based on a detailed taxonomy we developed over eight years of reporting on retractions.
Now that you know how much work the database is, please consider thanking Alison Abritis, our researcher, who has done the lion’s share of the work on this project. She had some help — see below — but without Alison’s expertise and painstaking efforts, we wouldn’t have a database. And true to form, Alison has created an exhaustive user’s guide that we would strongly urge you to review if you’re planning to use the database for anything other than simple searches.

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Access the database