ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us


Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

If ResearchGate is Where Authors Connect and Collaborate … – Scholarly Kitchen (Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 3, 2018

When the readers of The Scholarly Kitchen last heard from me on the about ResearchGate, I suggested that ResearchGate might emerge unscathed, perhaps even strengthened, from attempts by publishers to tame it through take-down notices and lawsuits. Though the take-down notices continue and the litigation is still ongoing, the recent announcement of a negotiated agreement between ResearchGate and Springer Nature, as well as Cambridge University Press and Thieme, indicates that ResearchGate may be proving its staying power in this field.

This reflective piece discusses the wrangling, legal action and movement between ResearchGate and publishers. We have included links to seven related items.

Last October, talks between the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) and ResearchGate dissolved. Subsequently,the Coalition for Responsible Sharing (CRS) was created, which has pursued a strategy of take-down notices as well as continued discussions with ResearchGate. CRS includes Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS), which are pursuing litigation against ResearchGate. Shortly thereafter, a very succinct press release appeared. In totality, it said:

ResearchGate and Springer Nature have been in serious discussions for some time about finding solutions to sharing scientific journal articles online, while at the same time protecting intellectual property rights. The companies are cautiously optimistic that a solution can be found, and we invite other publishers and societies to join the talks.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

The Academy partners in €2.8 million project0

Posted by Admin in on June 28, 2018

The PRO-RES (PROmoting integrity in the use of RESearch results) project, coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF), France, aims at building a research ethics and integrity framework devised cooperatively with the full range of stakeholders. The Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) is a partner in this €2.8 million project along with 13 other European scientific institutions aiming to build an ethics/integrity framework for all non-medical research.

AHRECS is delighted to announce that its three Senior Consultants (Mark Israel, Gary Allen and Colin Thomson) are all members of the UK Academy of Social Sciences team that is a key partner in a €2.8 million European Union project, PRO-RES. The project aims to build an ethics/integrity framework for all non-medical research.

This consortium of 14 scientific institutions from 10 countries will draw upon previous foundational work funded by the European Commission, and other national and international agencies: “…PRO-RES is to be as inclusive as possible when targeting the ‘non-medical’ sciences. The consortium partner composition is very diverse by design, ensuring that all relevant communities, to the extent possible, are represented.” says Dr. Jean-Claude Worms, Chief Executive of ESF, coordinator of PRO-RES. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Fraud or corrupt practices by researchers can lead to serious damage to society and the physical environment. Reliable and transparent research, divorced from political ideology and undeclared vested interests, produces robust evidence that benefits social wellbeing and societal progress.

Read the rest of this announcement

It’s time to stand up to the academic publishing industry – UA (Adriane Macdonald & Nicole Eva | February 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 26, 2018

Academia is unique in that professionals with highly specialized expertise, who are paid by public institutions, write articles and provide peer reviews to corporations who profit greatly without giving back to the research enterprise. In any other industry, such experts would charge up to $1,500/hour for their services; in academia, this expertise is given away to for-profit companies. Why are we willing to gift our review services and intellectual property to businesses, who then turn around and charge our institutions again for the products of our own research? Why are universities, governments and taxpayers OK paying for the labour costs of a massive multi-billion-dollar industry? Why aren’t publishers expected to pay for the production of the products that they profit greatly from? What if academics started charging publishers for their expert peer reviews? And what if the funds raised were used to help subsidize the costs of research and of building an open access system – run not by for-profit companies, but by our postsecondary institutions?

Publishers are dependent on the quality of their peer-review process; if their articles are found to have poor or non-existent peer review, the credibility of their journals is called into question and won’t attract high-quality research papers for publication. Yet, as dependent as publishers are on a rigorous process, they would cease to exist without the free labour of scholars writing and reviewing the articles. Some might counter that reviewing is part of the academic’s job; that it all comes as part of their (often not insubstantial) salary. This may be true, but the benefit of academic expertise largely goes to private, not public, parties. In addition, much of the time spent reviewing is over and above the teaching, research and service that academics spend the bulk of their work-week doing. It may be giving back to the profession, but at what toll on the researchers, our public institutions, and the academy?

Research is not free. It is paid for with taxpayer dollars through both academics’ salaries and government research grants; it is paid for a third time through outrageous subscription fees paid by university libraries. Depending on the institution, academic libraries pay $350,000 to $9-million annually in subscription fees. It is also paid for by academics, who spend their lives honing these skills at a great cost both financially and personally.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

The Dying Scientist and his Rogue Vaccine Trial – Wired (Amanda Schaffer | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 18, 2018

Bill Halford was convinced he’d found a miracle cure, but he was running out of time to prove it. So he teamed up with a Hollywood executive and recruited a band of desperate patients.

IN A PHOTO from 2009, Bill Halford, who was then 40 years old, looks like a schoolboy who hasn’t quite grown into his big ears. He wears an ill-fitting red shirt tucked into belted khakis; his jawline is square and his eyes are full of wonder. The picture was taken at Southern Illinois University, where he was a respected professor. A few years before, he had made a significant discovery—one that would determine the course of his life.

Halford, a microbiologist, had taken an interest in the peculiar nature of herpes—how it lies dormant in the nervous system and reactivates to cause disease. Herpes is one of the most pervasive viral infections in the world, sometimes causing painful genital blisters, and it has frustrated scientists attempting to find a cure. But in 2007, Halford realized that a weakened form of the virus he’d been studying might serve as a vaccine. He designed an experiment in which he inoculated mice with this variant, then exposed them to the wild-type form of the virus. In 2011 he published the results: Virtually all the mice survived. By contrast, animals that were not injected with his vaccine died in large numbers. It was promising science.

That same year, however, Halford became seriously ill. At first he thought he had a sinus infection, but it turned out to be a rare and aggressive form of cancer, sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. Halford was 42 years old at the time, with two teenage children. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation followed by surgery, but he was told that the form of cancer he had did not usually stay at bay for long. Halford had always been determined—“a 90-hours-a-week sort of researcher,” as his wife, Melanie Halford, puts it. The cancer diagnosis only seemed to harden his focus. Others had tried, and failed, to develop a herpes vaccine, but Halford was convinced that his method—using a live, attenuated form of the virus—would succeed. He would use whatever time he had left to show he was right.

Read the rest of this discussion piece