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)

Uncovering new peer review problems – this time at The BMJ – Health News Review (April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 11, 2018

A study published recently in The BMJ addressed a question with surefire media appeal: Does the political affiliation of doctors affect the quality of care that they provide to patients at the end of their lives?

The story was snapped up by news organizations ranging from US News and World Report to the UK Daily Mail. The study was also the subject of a USA Today op-ed by BMJ co-authors Druv Khullar, MD of Cornell University and Anupam Jena, MD, PhD of Harvard Medical School.

Their conclusion was a reassuring one: “Whatever a doctor’s political views, end-of-life care is the same.”

Read the rest of this discussion piece

(US) Boston University rejects geologist David Marchant’s appeal of termination – Science (Meredith Wadman | February 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 28, 2018

Boston University (BU) has denied geologist David Marchant’s appeal of its decision to terminate him, the Massachusetts-based institution announced yesterday. Late last year, the university moved to fire Marchant after an investigation concluded that he sexually harassed a graduate student during fieldwork in Antarctica nearly 2 decades ago.

This is an update on a story we have previously included in the Resource Library

Marchant has not yet exhausted all options in attempting to save his job. Marchant “has the right to have a faculty committee determine whether termination is the appropriate sanction, and the timing of the initiation of that committee’s work is being determined,” BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in a 27 February email.

Riley said that Marchant remains on paid administrative leave. He declined to identify who at the university denied the appeal, or when and on what grounds the decision was made.

Read the rest of this news story

Chileans Criticize US Scientists Over Treatment of Ata the “Alien” Mummy – Futurism (Kristin Houser | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 26, 2018

It looks like an alien, but its story is much stranger. And now it’s causing an international incident.

This case provides a useful opportunity to reflect upon the respectful and ethical handling of human remains, which calls to mind the historical failures of national museums – such as the long-overdue repatriation of Australian indigenous material

Chilean scientists and government officials are protesting a study published in the journal Genome Research on March 22. It’s not the study’s conclusions or science they take issue with, though. It’s the study’s subject: the body of a mummified Chilean girl.
Alien enthusiasts are pretty obsessed with Ata, a 6-inch-long skeleton that was discovered in 2003. Oscar Munoz found the tiny mummy in a leather pouch in a Chilean ghost town near the Atacama Desert (hence its name), and soon after, rumors began swirling as to Ata’s origin.
Ata had a conical head shape and large eye sockets that looked straight out of a sci-fi film. The mummy was barely the length of a 19-week-old human fetus, but had bones as mature as those of a six-year-old. It also had hard teeth and only 10 pairs of ribs while humans have 12.


Read the rest of this discussion piece

Ohio State just released a 75-page report finding misconduct by a cancer researcher. What can we learn? – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 25, 2018

Today, the Ohio State University (OSU) announced that Ching-Shih Chen, who resigned from a professorship there in September, was guilty of “deviating from the accepted practices of image handling and figure generation and intentionally falsifying data” in 14 images from eight papers. Chen had earned more than $8 million in Federal grants, and his work had led to a compound now being testing in clinical trials for cancer. (For details of the case, see our story in Science.)

This interview points to one of the advantages of well-documented research misconduct procedures and fullsome inquiry reports. Of course, that can expose situations where procedures aren’t followed – which isn’t a bad thing.

OSU — which has been involved in several high-profile cases of misconduct recently — released a lightly-redacted version of their investigation report, and we asked C.K. Gunsalus, who has decades of experience reviewing similar cases, to examine it for us. A Q&A follows.
Retraction Watch (RW): What’s your impression of the case? How does it compare in significance with others you’ve looked at?
C.K. Gunsalus (CKG): This research is clinical, and was covered by an investigational new drug application (IND). Any time you have translational research that has been or is in the process of human use, the significance is high.

Read the rest of this interview