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Universities warn against defence plans to increase control over research – The Guardian (Christopher Knaus | October 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on November 4, 2018

Labor and academics say freedoms will be stifled by proposed powers which officials claim are necessary because of potential overseas infiltration

Labor, Australia’s leading universities, and the tertiary education union have warned a proposal to dramatically expand defence’s control over university research would stifle academic freedom and damage the sector’s competitiveness.

This item in The Guardian is critical of attempts by Defence in Australia to extend control over university-based research, partly as a result of concerns about links to China.

Defence has called for a sweeping overhaul of laws that currently give it strict control over the sharing or export of sensitive Australian research and technology, citing a “changed national security environment”.

It wants the ability to control technology and research beyond that currently on a defined list, known as the defence and strategic goods list, which compiles military and some commercial goods and technologies. Defence has also asked for an escalation of warrantless search and seizure powers on university campuses and research agencies.

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(Australia) Outrage over minister cancelling research grants – University World News (Geoff Maslen | October 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 30, 2018

Revelations that a former federal education minister interfered in a competitive research grants process and cancelled 11 humanities and social sciences projects, costed at more than AU$4 million (US$2.8 million), has generated outrage across Australia’s higher education sector.

The decision by former education minister Simon Birmingham last year and early this year to override recommendations from the Australian Research Council (ARC) was belatedly revealed in federal parliament on Thursday night.

ARC officials were being questioned during a Senate hearing and explained how Birmingham had stepped in to reject the council’s decision that 11 of the research projects be funded.

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(US) NIH delays controversial clinical trials policy for some studies – Science (Jocelyn Kaiser | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 30, 2018

Basic brain and behavioral researchers will get more than a year to comply with a new U.S. policy that will treat many of their studies as clinical trials. The announcement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) appears to defuse, for now, a yearlong controversy over whether basic research on humans should follow the same rules as studies testing drugs.

Update on an unpopular US plan to radically expand the definition of a clinical trial. While limited to the States at the moment, the change might ripple out to the rest of us.

Although research groups had hoped NIH would drop its plans to tag basic studies with humans as trials, they say they’re relieved they get more time to prepare and give the agency input. “It’s a positive step forward,” says Paula Skedsvold, executive director of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences in Washington, D.C.
At issue is a recently revised definition of a clinical trial along with a set of rules in effect since January that are meant to increase the rigor and transparency of NIH-funded clinical trials. About a year ago, basic scientists who study human cognition—for example, using brain imaging with healthy volunteers—were alarmed to realize many of these studies fit the new clinical trial definition.

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Japanese university revokes PhD following a retraction – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 22, 2018

Tokyo Women’s Medical University has stripped a researcher of her PhD, following the retraction of a paper — for data duplication — that was based on her thesis.

This September 2018 case from Japan is another ‘good’ example of what HDR candidates are risking when they cheat in their work. We included links to a few other similar items.

The August 30th announcement notes that a degree was revoked on July 20. The announcement does not name the researcher, but refers to degree number 2881, which corresponds to Rika Nakayama’s PhD. The university describes carelessness and errors, but not misconduct.
Here’s a rough Google translation of the announcement:

The thesis which became the application paper is based on the case which was handled at the off-campus facility to which the person belongs. Duplication of case data occurred due to carelessness of the person during the preparation of the paper. Those who created the paper with data duplication applied for a degree, and a degree was approved. Duplication of case data was discovered when this paper was investigated by random monitoring of the facility. That person did not take the form of correction but undertook the withdrawal procedure of the paper from the journal. In recognition of the fact that the dissertation application paper was withdrawn, we decided to cancel the degree award.

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