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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Friday afternoon funny – Following the rules and the responsibilities of researchers0

Posted by Admin in on February 10, 2017
 

Research participant reduced to ashes by a scanner

Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com – Why sticking to the protocol (or the rulebook) doesn’t necessarily always equate to doing the research well

Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com

What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog? – Retraction Watch Interview (Trevor L Stokes | January 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 8, 2017
 

Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.

The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types. She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.

When asked why she spent time away from bench research to examine this issue, Byrne told us:

Read the rest of this interview

The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics (Papers: Stefan Eriksson & Gert Helgesson | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on February 1, 2017
 

Abstract
This paper describes and discusses the phenomenon ‘predatory publishing’, in relation to both academic journals and books, and suggests a list of characteristics by which to identify predatory journals. It also raises the question whether traditional publishing houses have accompanied rogue publishers upon this path. It is noted that bioethics as a discipline does not stand unaffected by this trend. Towards the end of the paper it is discussed what can and should be done to eliminate or reduce the effects of this development. The paper concludes that predatory publishing is a growing phenomenon that has the potential to greatly affect both bioethics and science at large. Publishing papers and books for profit, without any genuine concern for content, but with the pretence of applying authentic academic procedures of critical scrutiny, brings about a worrying erosion of trust in scientific publishing.

Keywords
Predatory publishing, Publication ethics, Peer review, Bioethics

Eriksson S & Helgesson G (2016) The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9740-3
Publisher (open access): http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11019-016-9740-3

Germany to probe Nazi-era medical science – Science (Megan Gannon | January 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 15, 2017
 

Soon after Hans-Joachim was born, it was clear that something was terribly wrong. The infant boy suffered from partial paralysis and spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. In 1934, when he was 5 years old, his parents admitted him to an asylum in Potsdam, Germany, where clinical records described Hans-Joachim as a “strikingly friendly and cheerful” child. But his condition did not improve. He spent a few years at a clinic in Brandenburg-Görden, Germany, and then, on an early spring day in 1941, he was “transfered to another asylum at the instigation of the commissar for defense of the Reich”—code words meaning that Hans-Joachim, then 12, was gassed at a Nazi “euthanasia” center. His brain was sent to a leading neuropathologist.

During World War II, as part of its racial hygiene program, the Nazi regime systematically killed at least 200,000 people it classified as mentally ill or disabled, historians say. Stories like Hans-Joachim’s have largely been lost to history. Now, a new initiative is seeking to reconstruct the biographies of victims used in brain research. Starting this month,the Max Planck Society (MPG), Germany’s top basic research organization, will open its doors to four independent researchers who will scour its archives and tissue sample collections for material related to the euthanasia program.

The project’s impetus is MPG’s desire to take moral responsibility for unethical research that its forerunner, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWG), conducted on euthanasia victims and their remains. “We want to find out who the victims were, uncover their biographies and their fates, and as such give them part of their human dignity back and find an appropriate way of remembrance,” says Heinz Wässle, an emeritus director of the neuroanatomy department at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and head of an MPG committee overseeing the new investigation.

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