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China approves ethics advisory group after CRISPR-babies scandal – Nature (Hepeng Jia | August 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 10, 2019
 

Bioethicists hope a national committee will help close loopholes in the country’s biomedical ethics regulations.

China will establish a national committee to advise the government on research-ethics regulations. The decision comes less than a year after a Chinese scientist sparked an international outcry over claims that he had created the world’s first genome-edited babies.

The country’s most powerful policymaking body, the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, headed by President Xi Jinping, approved at the end of last month a plan to form the committee. According to Chinese media, it will strengthen the coordination and implementation of a comprehensive and consistent system of ethics governance for science and technology.

The government has released few details on how the committee will work. But Qiu Renzong, a bioethicist at the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing, says it could help to reduce the fragmentation in biomedical ethics regulations across ministries, identifying loopholes in the enforcement of regulations and advise the government on appropriate punishments for those who violate the rules.

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Does psychology have a conflict-of-interest problem? – Nature (Tom Chivers | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 5, 2019
 

Some star psychologists don’t disclose in research papers the large sums they earn for talking about their work. Is that a concern?

Generation Z has made Jean Twenge a lot of money. As a psychologist at San Diego State University in California, she studies people born after the mid-1990s, the YouTube-obsessed group that spends much of its time on Instagram, Snapchat and other social-media platforms. Thanks to smartphones and sharing apps, Generation Z has grown up to be more narcissistic, anxious and depressed than older cohorts, she argues. Twenge calls them the ‘iGen’ generation, a name she says she coined. And in 2010, she started a business, iGen Consulting, “to advise companies and organizations on generational differences based on her expertise and research on the topic”.

Twenge has “spoken at several large corporations including PepsiCo, McGraw-Hill, nGenera, Nielsen Media, and Bain Consulting”, one of her websites notes. She delivers anything from 20-minute briefings to half-day workshops, and is also available to speak to parents’ groups, non-profit organizations and educational establishments. In e-mail exchanges, she declined to say how much she earns from her advisory work, but fees for star psychologists can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars for a single speech, and possibly much more, several experts told Nature.

Twenge’s academic papers don’t mention her paid speeches and consulting. Yet that stands in stark contrast to the conflict-of-interest (COI) guidelines issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), an influential organization whose standards have been widely adopted by many medical and some psychology journals. Those guidelines say that such ‘personal fees’ should be declared as potential COIs in research papers because readers should be made aware of any financial interests that they might perceive as potentially influencing the findings.

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Singapore joins the rise of research integrity networks – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 3, 2019
 

Global effort to combat research misconduct gathers pace.

Research integrity professionals in Singapore have responded to a high-profile case of research misconduct by launching a professional network to discuss research integrity.

In a scandal that has rocked the island nation’s close-knit research community during the past three years, two researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) had their doctorate degrees revoked after being found guilty of falsifying data.

The scandal led to the retraction and correction of several studies and resulted in Ravi Kambadur, the group’s leader — who had joint appointments at the NTU and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR) — being dismissed for negligence.

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Why India is striking back against predatory journals – Nature (Bhushan Patwardhan | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 2, 2019
 

Our foe is determined and adaptable, says Bhushan Patwardhan. A list of credible titles is the latest salvo in the fight against shoddy scholarship.

According to 2015 estimates, more than 8,000 predatory journals churn out more than 400,000 items a year, and India — which has also seen a spurt in high-quality scientific publications — contributes more than one-third of the articles in predatory publications.

Last month, India launched its latest salvo against the ‘pay and publish trash’ culture that sustains predatory journals. Over several months, more than 30 organizations representing universities and academic disciplines have vetted journals to release a reference list of respectable titles. Predators sabotaged our last attempt. We hope this better-curated list will help to cut off the supply of manuscripts to the unscrupulous operators that profit financially by undercutting academic quality.

Fending off the attack of trash science will be a long battle. Predatory journals have severely compromised scientific scholarship. They collect fees, but do not perform peer review or other promised services. My country’s experience so far shows both what makes an academic enterprise vulnerable to predatory publishers, and the coordinated efforts necessary to thwart them.

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