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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(China, Australia) Against the use and publication of contemporary unethical research: the case of Chinese transplant research (Papers: Wendy C Higgins, et al | July 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on July 9, 2020
 

Abstract

This July 2020 paper examines the argument for and against the publication of new, or retraction of old research outputs, where the work utilised organs from executed prisoners.  This isn’t just about an intensely captive relationship.

Recent calls for retraction of a large body of Chinese transplant research and of Dr Jiankui He’s gene editing research has led to renewed interest in the question of publication, retraction and use of unethical biomedical research. In Part 1 of this paper, we briefly review the now well-established consequentialist and deontological arguments for and against the use of unethical research. We argue that, while there are potentially compelling justifications for use under some circumstances, these justifications fail when unethical practices are ongoing—as in the case of research involving transplantations in which organs have been procured unethically from executed prisoners. Use of such research displays a lack of respect and concern for the victims and undermines efforts to deter unethical practices. Such use also creates moral taint and renders those who use the research complicit in continuing harm. In Part 2, we distinguish three dimensions of ‘non-use’ of unethical research: non-use of published unethical research, non-publication, and retraction and argue that all three types of non-use should be upheld in the case of Chinese transplant research. Publishers have responsibilities to not publish contemporary unethical biomedical research, and where this has occurred, to retract publications. Failure to retract the papers implicitly condones the research, while uptake of the research through citations rewards researchers and ongoing circulation of the data in the literature facilitates subsequent use by researchers, policymakers and clinicians.
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Higgins, WC., Rogers, W.A., Ballantyne, A., Lipworth, W. (2020)  Against the use and publication of contemporary unethical research: the case of Chinese transplant research. Journal of Medical Ethics. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2019-106044

COPE Forum 2 June 2020: What does peer review mean in the arts, humanities and social sciences? – COPE (June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 30, 2020
 

The topic for discussion at our June 2020 COPE Forum asked the question: are there differences in gender and diversity issues in arts, humanities, and social sciences in peer review from other disciplines?

In the recent study by COPE in collaboration with Taylor & Francis on the arts, humanities and social science (AHSS) disciplines, respondents focused on a number of language, quality, diversity and inclusivity issues. In terms of the most frequently identified issues, these were:

1. Addressing language and writing quality barriers while remaining inclusive
2. Issues around the way in which authors receive and respond to criticism
3. Detecting plagiarism and poor attribution standards
4. Issues handling responses from reviewers to authors
5. Issues of self-plagiarism
6. Difficulties in upholding anonymity to authors and/or reviewers during peer review
7. Recognising and dealing with bias in reviewer comments
8. Assuring fair representation of new voices and diverse perspectives
9. Potential conflict of interest between authors and reviewers
10. Managing complaints and appeals

Read the rest of this discussion piece

(US) JetBlue’s Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn’t That Deadly – Buzzfeed News (Stephanie M. Lee | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 22, 2020
 

A Stanford whistleblower complaint alleges that the controversial John Ioannidis study failed to disclose important financial ties and ignored scientists’ concerns that their antibody test was inaccurate.

A highly influential coronavirus antibody study was funded in part by David Neeleman, the JetBlue Airways founder and a vocal proponent of the idea that the pandemic isn’t deadly enough to justify continued lockdowns.

That’s according to a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, filed with Stanford University last week and obtained by BuzzFeed News, about the study conducted by the famous scientist John Ioannidis and others. The complaint cites dozens of emails, including exchanges with the airline executive while the study was being conducted.

The study — released as a non-peer-reviewed paper, or preprint, on April 17 — made headlines around the world with a dramatic finding: Based on antibodies in thousands of Silicon Valley residents’ blood samples, the number of coronavirus infections was up to 85 times higher than believed. This true infection count was so high that it would drive down the virus’s local fatality rate to 0.12%–0.2% — far closer to the known death rate for the flu.

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(Australia) Clinical Trials and Other Physician-Industry Interactions in Australia – Global Forum (Ric Day | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 10, 2020
 

The representative body of the innovative, prescription medicines industry in Australia, Medicines Australia is responsible for administering the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. This self-regulatory system, underpinned by legislation, sets the standard for the ethical promotion and marketing of prescription medicines in Australia. These standards must be adhered to by member companies. Penalties for breaches of the Code of Conduct can be considerable and are increasing in severity year after year. Breaches of the Code and the resultant fines are published on the Medicines Australia website quarterly along with the comprehensive Code of Conduct Annual Report.

Clinical Trials

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) has just concluded their International Clinical Trials conference, opened by the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt. As an indication of the interest in the topics the conference discussed, the official Conference Twitter hashtag #ACTAconf trended at number 4 in all of Australia!

As part of his presentation, Hunt launched an upgraded version of the Clin Trial Refer app which now delivers a comprehensive listing of clinical trials that are recruiting globally. Feedback from end-users and experts incorporated in this new Version 2 includes features such as customized searches that notify individual in real-time of trials in their areas of interest. Search filters such as age, tumour type, mutation status, and telehealth options can also be applied. The phase 1 cohort feature, among many new features, should improve recruiting. Pending studies and the cohorts being sought by investigators (including inclusion and exclusion criteria) can also be viewed to give patients and doctors opportunity to consider their participation.

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