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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A New Zealand retraction has been added to Retraction Watch – 28 March 20160

Posted by Admin in on March 29, 2016

“A journal has retracted a paper on a controversial course of treatment used to stunt the growth of disabled children, at the request of the human research ethics committee at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

The paper described the so-called Ashley Treatmentexplored last week in the New York Times — in which disabled children receive hormones and procedures to keep them small and diminish the effects of puberty, making it easier for them to be cared for. The retracted paper analyzed the use of the treatment in a girl named Charley who was born in New Zealand with a brain injury, whose case has attracted the attention of The Washington Post and People magazine, among other outlets.

28 March 2016 – Ethics committee asks journal to retract paper about controversial growth-stunting treatment

About Retraction Watch
We launched Retraction Watch in August 2010, and although we didn’t predict this, it’s been a struggle to even keep up with retractions as they happen. While we occasionally dip into history in our “Best Of” series, realistically we don’t want to fall even further behind. If we ever have the resources to grow the site, this will be one of our priorities.

The price of deceiving your future employees (Papers: Mark Israel et al 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on March 3, 2016

Excerpt “Those of us who grew up reading Mark Twain will remember the story of The Prince and the Pauper. In Twain’s book, the future English King Edward VI swaps places with a poor boy in order to move unrecognised among his future subjects. The book has spawned a variety of different versions. The latest enactment may be in a New Zealand university.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the preferred candidate for the position of vice-chancellor at Lincoln University interviewed 20 staff while posing as a visiting academic preparing a report. During the interviews, the newspaper claims that Prof. Robin Pollard collected data about concerns academics had about the university, only revealing his identity by email after the interviews had been completed. The project did not seek ethics review from either the visiting professor’s home university in the United Kingdom or Lincoln University but may have been approved by Lincoln University’s Council. Ethics review is mandatory for all research conducted on university students or staff in New Zealand. University codes of ethics deem them vulnerable or exploitable persons given the conflict of interest and unequal power relations.

If it is true that Prof. Pollard conducted research in this way, such a scheme must have seemed attractive to the incoming university boss. Academic leaders may find themselves isolated in the top position and there are significant advantages in opening up multiple lines of communication with your colleagues throughout an organisation. Academics who might not divulge their thoughts to senior management might reveal their views to a visiting academic making the use of deception seductively attractive in these circumstances.”

Israel, M, Poata Smith, B & Tolich, M (2016) The price of deceiving your future employees. Tertiary Update: Weekly News from The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union – Te Hautū Kahurangi O Aotearoa 2 March

The Politicisation of Ethics Review in New Zealand (Book: Martin Tolich and Barry Smith 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on February 14, 2016

Description: The National Women’s Hospital research scandal saw women being involved in medical research without their knowledge and without the opportunity to make a choice about their participation. The 1988 Cartwright Inquiry into this decades-long study established a template for ethics review in New Zealand. Ethics committees were subsequently established to independently evaluate the potential benefits as well as the risks of research.

This book traces the gradual undermining of the independence of ethics review in New Zealand and the politicisation of ethics committees between 1988 and 2014. There have been substantial changes in this review process brought about by government in response to other medical crises such as that which occurred in Gisborne in the late 1990s and then an “economic crisis” between 2008 and 2010 that involved international pharmaceutical companies.

This book explores the implications of these changes for a robust ethics review process across research environments in New Zealand, especially those affecting Maori. It includes recommendations aimed at enhancing independent ethics review, best practice, and providing adequate protection for all citizens.

Tolich, M. & Smith, B. (2015). The Politicisation of Ethics Review in New Zealand. Auckland: Dunmore. 241 pages.

Lay members of New Zealand research ethics committees: Who and what do they represent? (Papers: Gremillion et al 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on January 21, 2016

Abstract: Since the 1988 Cartwright Inquiry, lay members of ethics committees have been tasked with ensuring that ordinary New Zealanders are not forgotten in ethical deliberations. Unlike Institutional Review Boards (IRBs, or ethics committees) in North America, where lay members constitute a fraction of ethics committee membership, 50% of most New Zealand ethics committees are comprised of lay members. Lay roles are usually defined in very broad terms, which can vary considerably from committee to committee. This research queries who lay representatives are, what they do, and what if anything they represent. Our findings are based on data collection with 12 participants: eight semi-structured interviews with lay members from diverse types of ethics committees who described their roles, and commentary from four ethics committee chairs, three of these lay members who commented on this article’s final draft. Findings indicate that the role of New Zealand lay persons – although distinctively valued – is otherwise similar to the documented role of lay persons within North American ethics committees. Lay members see their role as primarily protecting the research participant and at times offering a corrective to non-lay members’ views and the interests of their institutions. However, in spite of their numbers, most lay members do not see themselves as representing any particular constituent groups or institutionally unaffiliated areas of concern. On tertiary education committees especially, there is a good deal of ambiguity in the lay role.

Gremillion, H., Tolich, M., & Bathurst, R. (2015). Lay members of New Zealand research ethics committees: Who and what do they represent? Research Ethics, 11(2), 82-97.