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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

How Much Citation Manipulation Is Acceptable? – Scholarly Kitchen (Phil Davis | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on September 3, 2017
 

In a few weeks, Clarivate Analytics will release their 2016 Journal Citation Report (JCR), which will disclose the Impact Factors of over ten-thousand academic journals.

With each release, the JCR also suspends titles for citation practices that distort their Impact Factor score and rank. Last year, 18 titles were suspended from the JCR, 16 for high levels of self-citation, the other two for “citation stacking,” a behavior that is more informally referred to as a citation cartel. In prior years, the JCR suspended many more titles. In 2012, a total of 65 titles were suspended. In 2011, it was 50 titles.

The Impact Factor is a lagging performance indicator — a measure of last year’s citation count to papers published in the preceding two years. If you’ve identified that citation distortion has already taken place in your journals, as a publisher, there is little you can do but wait for your day of reckoning and hope that your journal escapes suspension.

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Revoking a Doctorate – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on September 1, 2017
 

U of Arizona professor’s Ph.D. is withdrawn after her findings on violent video games are questioned. Some wonder why her mentor and co-author, a senior scholar, has not shared the blame.

Two matters for institutions and HDR candidates to note from this US case: a professor had a PhD revoked because of a problem with a paper she coauthored with a supervisor while a candidate at a different institution (creating uncertainty about her current appointment); and would your institution’s arrangements have taken commensurate action against the supervisor (who was the senior collaborator and coauthor of the retracted paper)?

Ohio State University took the extraordinary step of revoking a graduate’s doctorate last week. Now her future at the University of Arizona, where she is an assistant professor of communication, is unclear.
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Jodi Whitaker’s problems started in 2015, after scholars in two countries noticed irregularities in the data in her 2012 paper on video games. The study in Communication Research, called “‘Boom, Headshot!’ Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy,” found that playing a violent video game improved real-life shooting skills. Initially, it was something of a boon for both Whitaker, then still a graduate student at Ohio State, and her co-author and dissertation committee chair, Brad J. Bushman, the Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication there. That’s because Bushman served on President Obama’s committee on gun violence and his research challenges what he calls myths about violence, including that violent media have a trivial effect on aggression.
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Why the ‘gold standard’ of medical research is no longer enough – STAT (Tom Frieden | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on August 31, 2017
 

Randomized controlled trials have long been held up as the “gold standard” of clinical research. There’s no doubt that well-designed trials are effective tools for testing a new drug, device, or other intervention. Yet much of modern medical care — perhaps most of it — is not based on randomized controlled trials and likely never will be. In this “dark matter” of clinical medicine, past practices and anecdotes all too often rule. We need to look beyond trials to improve medical care in these areas.

The primary reason we included this item in the Resource Library was because we thought the examples useful.

In a randomized controlled trial (RCT), participants are randomly assigned to receive either the treatment under investigation or, as a control, a placebo or the current standard treatment. The randomization process helps ensure that the various groups in the study are virtually identical in age, gender, socioeconomic status, and other variables. This minimizes the potential for bias and the influence of confounding factors.
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Despite their strengths, RCTs have substantial limitations. They can be very expensive to run. They can take many years to complete, and even then may not last long enough to assess the long-term effect of an intervention such as vaccine immunity, or to detect rare or long-term adverse effects. Findings from RCTs may not be valid beyond the study population — a trial that included a high-risk population in order to maximize the possibility of detecting an effect, for example, may not be relevant to a low-risk population. RCTs may not be practical for population-wide interventions and often aren’t relevant for urgent health issues such as infectious disease outbreaks, for which public health decisions must be made quickly.
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NYC’s forgotten cancer scandal – New York Post (Allen M. Hornblum | December 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on August 29, 2017
 

The front-page headline of the New York World-Telegram on Jan. 20, 1964 shocked readers: “Charge Hospital Shot Live Cancer Cells Into Patients.”

The stunning accusation was that Brooklyn’s Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital, a facility known for serving an elderly population and those in need of long-term physical care, was “conducting cancer experiments on unsuspecting non-cancerous patients.”

Selwyn Raab, who was a new hire at the old World-Telegram when an editor assigned him to check out a tip about some research shenanigans at a Brooklyn hospital, was admittedly “astonished” by the allegations.

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Read the original news story from 1964

Egregious ethical lapses from the past can be useful vignettes/springboards for workshop discussion but they shouldn’t be used as justification of why research ethics review arrangements exist. The former can get attendees thinking and talking about research ethics the latter runs the risk of reinforcing that human research ethics is about punishing 99.9% for the awful misdeeds of the reckless minority from decades ago.

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