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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Lose-Lose Ethics of Testing Self-Driving Cars in Public – Wired (Aarian Marshall | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 30, 2018

HERE’S THE STRANGE thing about where I live: When I walk outside my office, down to the busy, honk-filled four-lane road that runs by it, I’m immediately part of a wide scale science experiment. A lot of us are, here in San Francisco, in metro Phoenix, Arizona, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We didn’t sign any forms or cast any votes, but here we are, in a living lab for self-driving tech.

The fatalities associated with the real world/on-public-roads testing of autonomous cars highlight risk considerations for research projects that are conducted in the community – where the potential harms reach well beyond the direct participants.

A lot of the time, that’s exciting. One day, maybe crossing the street on foot at night won’t feeling like taking your life into your hands. This really could be the way to stop the deaths of 40,000 people on US roads every year. The blind, the old, those who can’t operate vehicles—their lives might shift wholly in a world where vehicles drive themselves.

Other times, it’s terrifying. This week, the living lab claimed its first life: a self-driving Uber hit and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, late Sunday evening as she crossed a wide road in Tempe, Arizona.

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Is it time to nationalise academic publishers? – THE (David Matthews | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 26, 2018

With state intervention back in vogue, and publishers’ profit margins still sky-high, journals could be the next monopoly to come under scrutiny

After decades of free-market ideological dominance on both sides of the Atlantic, nationalisation (or at least anti-monopoly state intervention) is back on the agenda.

This is a fairly speculative piece, but we thought the reported publisher profit margins made it worth including.

“Rail, water, energy, Royal Mail, we’re taking them back,” shadow chancellor John McDonnell (above) told a Labour Party on the brink of power last year. Even the Financial Times has run a series of investigations asking hard questions about the wisdom of past privatisations.
Meanwhile in the US, monopoly-busting, in industries ranging from health insurance to airlines, has become a rallying cry of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Critics have also taken aim at tech companies, which Warren has compared to the US oil, sugar and railroad trusts of the 19th century, accusing them of exploiting the scale of their digital networks to create natural monopolies over advertising. Eye-watering profit margins for Google and Facebook (24 per cent and 50 per cent respectively) are the result.

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(UK) ‘Unethical not to’ submit Brexit interviews to MPs, says academic – THE (John Morgan | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 20, 2018

Emma Briant defends actions over exchanges with key figures from Leave.EU and Cambridge Analytica parent

An academic who submitted to a UK parliamentary inquiry interviews with key figures from Leave.EU and Cambridge Analytica’s parent company – raising questions about how voters were targeted in the European Union referendum – says that it would have been “unethical” not to do so.

This instalment in the frankly alarming saga about Cambridge Analytica raises an important question, especially for social scientists: How to approach confidentiality when we believe there is a higher moral imperative to disclose to an authority? We have included links to a few related items.

Emma Briant, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Essex, submitted essays and audio files of interviews to the UK’s Electoral Commission, Information Commissioner’s Office and Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee. The DCMS committee published Dr Briant’s material on 16 April as part of its inquiry into “fake news”.
Dr Briant has since faced suggestions that her decision to hand over the material raises questions about research ethics, particularly in the context of the Economic and Social Research Council’s principles of ethical research, given that those interviewed agreed to contribute to an academic research project.

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Publishers cannot afford to be coy about ethical breaches – THE (Adam Cox, et al | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 18, 2018

Reluctance to shame those who breach editorial ethics has dented confidence in research integrity, argue Adam Cox, Russell Craig and Dennis Tourish

There are rising concerns about the reliability of academic research, yet even when papers are retracted, the reasons are often left unexplained.

See the full paper here
We have also included a list of ten other resource items about trust and confidence in research outputs.

We recently studied 734 peer-reviewed journals in economics and identified 55 papers retracted for reasons other than “accidental duplication” or “administrative error”. Of those, 28 gave no clear indication of whether any questionable research practice was involved. It appears likely that it was: the reasons given for retraction in the other 27 papers include fake peer review, plagiarism, flawed reasoning and multiple submission.
For 23 of the 28 “no reason” retractions, it is not even clear who instigated them: the editor alone, the author alone, or both in concert.

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