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Research Ethics Governance – An African Perspective (Chapter: Marelize I. Schoeman | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2019
 

Abstract
Governance structures in research are generally a retrospective response to unethical research practices. Similar to the international research landscape Africa has not been immune to human research abuses inclusive of unethical experimentation and clinical trials. An increase in research was noted in Africa this past decade in response to serious psychosocial and health-related challenges the continent faced. This increase in research has not necessarily brought about improvements in the governance and oversight of human research practices. In contrast, it increased the risk of exploitative research funded by resource-rich countries who conducted studies in Africa that would be difficult to conduct in countries with more established and strict research regulatory frameworks.

Even though the impact colonialism and the internationalisation of research had on ethics governance is recognised, African scholars is of the opinion that the debate about research ethics governance largely represents the opinions of scholars from Euro-western countries, with little contribution being made by African scholars. Against this background, the chapter presents an Afrocentric viewpoint of research ethics governance. In addition, Westernised and African research ethics practices and oversight structures were compared to identify challenges and guidelines. The research ethics governance landscape is to a large extent still an uncharted landscape creating the opportunity to develop a research ethics governance framework that acknowledges the unique humanistic morality and normative set of social rules and principles that guide the conduct of people in African societies. The chapter aims to make a significant contribution by stimulate critical discourse about the relevance of ethical principles and governance structures currently used in Africa.

Keywords
Research ethics governance, Research ethics committees, Biomedical research, Social science research 

Schoeman M.I. (2019) Research Ethics Governance – An African Perspective. In: Nortjé N., Visagie R., Wessels J. (eds) Social Science Research Ethics in Africa. Research Ethics Forum, vol 7. Springer, Cham
Publisher: https://www.springer.com/978-3-030-15401-1?wt_mc=ThirdParty.SpringerLink.3.EPR653.About_eBook

(US) UMKC says pharmacy professor stole student’s research and sold it for millions – The Kansas City Star (Mike Hendricks & Mará Rose Williams | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2019
 

UMKC pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra stole a student’s research and sold it secretly to a pharmaceutical company, defrauding the university of millions of dollars, the University of Missouri alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

If this report is accurate, it’s an awful betrayal of trust and professional responsibility.  It also highlights the importance of students understanding their IP and commercialisation rights at their institution.

Mitra, the suit alleges, already has improperly reaped $1.5 million from the sale and has the potential of earning $10 million more in royalties over the next five years from what the university says could be a billion-dollar drug.
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The suit said the money rightfully belongs to the university because the student who developed a new and more effective way to deliver drugs to the eye — through nanotechnology — did so while employed as a graduate research assistant at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
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Rein in the four horsemen of irreproducibility – Nature ( Dorothy Bishop | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 1, 2019
 

Dorothy Bishop describes how threats to reproducibility, recognized but unaddressed for decades, might finally be brought under control.

More than four decades into my scientific career, I find myself an outlier among academics of similar age and seniority: I strongly identify with the movement to make the practice of science more robust. It’s not that my contemporaries are unconcerned about doing science well; it’s just that many of them don’t seem to recognize that there are serious problems with current practices. By contrast, I think that, in two decades, we will look back on the past 60 years — particularly in biomedical science — and marvel at how much time and money has been wasted on flawed research.

How can that be? We know how to formulate and test hypotheses in controlled experiments. We can account for unwanted variation with statistical techniques. We appreciate the need to replicate observations.

Yet many researchers persist in working in a way almost guaranteed not to deliver meaningful results. They ride with what I refer to as the four horsemen of the reproducibility apocalypse: publication bias, low statistical power, P-value hacking and HARKing (hypothesizing after results are known). My generation and the one before us have done little to rein these in.

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German ethics council expresses openness to eventual embryo editing – STAT (Sharon Begley | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 30, 2019
 

panel of government-appointed experts in Germany agreed unanimously that the human germline — DNA that is inherited by children from their parents — “is not inviolable,” rejecting one objection to using genome editing technologies such as CRISPR to make heritable changes in the DNA of human embryos, sperm, or eggs.

The detail of this decision doesn’t open the door for DNA editing of embryos/eggs/sperm in Germany now, it is, however, a movement in that direction.

In a 47-page report made public on Monday, the independent German Ethics Council concluded that the power of CRISPR, and the announcement last November that a scientist in China had used it to edit two IVF embryos that resulted in the birth of twin girls, means that “the possibility of intervening more easily and precisely in the human germline is drawing closer and closer.”
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Although the council’s 26 ethicists, legal scholars, scientists, and other experts agreed unanimously that there are no compelling philosophical arguments against altering human germlines, they also concluded that it is ethically irresponsible to do so now.
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