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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Long-Sought Research Deregulation Is Upon Us. Don’t Squander the Moment – The Chronicle of Higher Education (Richard A. Shweder and Richard E. Nisbett | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on March 19, 2017

We can’t help but feel that the revision of the US Common Rule was a missed opportunity to reflect on how institutions should replace IRB control through review with an approach that aims at building reflective ethical practice. Given past patterns of exporting US regulatory approaches to other parts of the world, many more jurisdictions may come to regret this.

It has been a 40-year labor: Regulatory systems are not easy to undo. Nevertheless, in January the federal government opened the door for universities to deregulate vast portions of research in the social sciences, law, and the humanities. This long-sought and welcome reform of the regulations requiring administrative oversight of federally funded human-subject research on college campuses limits the scope of institutional review board, or IRB, management by exempting low-risk research with human subjects from the board’s review.
The new regulations state: “We acknowledge that guidance may be useful for interpreting some of the terms in this exemption, and that some cases will be debatable. However, we also believe that a substantial number of research activities will plainly fit this exemption, and should be allowed to proceed without IRB review.”
The exempted research activities include surveys, interviews, and other forms of free communication between researchers and human adults, aptitude testing, the observation and recording of verbal and nonverbal behavior in schools and public places (for example, courtrooms), benign behavioral interventions (including ordinary psychology experiments), secondary-data analysis, and other low-risk projects and research procedures.

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Everything You Need to Know About Conflicts of Interest (Part I) – Psychology Today (Sara Gorman & Jack M. Gorman | January 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on March 18, 2017

Is transparency the only solution?

In September of 2016, a shocking expose in The New York Times revealed that everything we thought we knew about sugar, fat, and heart disease was wrong. And not only was it wrong, but the information we had been using to guide our decisions about what to eat and what to feed our kids had been manipulated in what can only be described as a conspiracy between scientists and the sugar industry.

Needless to say, people were outraged. As one reader of The New York Times article commented, “This was a conspiracy of scientific FRAUD. The sugar companies that did this should be sued for $BILLIONS for the health harm that they caused.” It wasn’t long before comparisons to the tobacco industry started: “Sugar is the new tobacco and has been for a while. The article is just the tip of the iceberg,” commented another NYT reader.

And then, in the midst of election season, came the conspiracy theories: “FYI.. Hillary very well funded by Big Sugar so you can bet nothing will happen as a result of these findings. With Hillary in the White House, we’ll all be eating cake anyway- It’s a win win for everyone!”

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This is Part I of this series
Go to Part II of this series
Go to Part III of this series*

* Part III doesn’t really discuss Conflicts of interest in research of any CoI so though we link to it here we’ve not included Part III in the Resource Library

Undisclosed conflicts of interest usually lead to corrections – but for some journals, that’s not enough – Retraction Watch (Victoria Stern | January 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on March 16, 2017

Correctly identifying whether you have a Conflicts of interest in your research is not always easy. But failing to identify a conflict can undermine the credibility of work and have serious impacts on the reputation and careers of entire research teams. It can be useful to approach situations and ask yourself “could I be perceived to have a conflict” and if you answer that question in the affirmative manage the situation as though there is a conflict.

When authors are faced with filling out a journal’s conflict of interest form, deciding what qualifies as a relevant conflict can be tricky. When such omissions come to light, only rarely do they result in retractions – and certainly not author bans. But there are exceptions.
In October, the journal Chest retracted a 2015 review article exploring how mechanical ventilation can be used most effectively to manage acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after finding that the authors failed “to disclose all relevant conflicts of interest.” What’s more, the journal initially planned to ban the two authors with undisclosed conflicts from submitting papers to the journal for three years, but ultimately decided against it.
The Committee on Publication Ethics says that retractions may be warranted in cases of undisclosed conflicts of interest, but in our experience, most notices that cite that reason mention other problems with the paper, as well. Not this case – here, the only thing that seemed wrong with the paper was the authors’ failure to mention their ties to a ventilator company. The authors requested a correction – the usual fix, one accepted by the other journals they contacted – but to Chest, that wasn’t enough.

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Scientists to keep ban on military research at universities – The Asahi Shimbun (Ryoko Takeishi | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on March 14, 2017

A Science Council of Japan (SCJ) committee has proposed continuing a ban on military research by universities and other institutes, a stance based on remorse over such studies under Japan’s wartime government.

The proposal, hammered out on March 7 after a series of meetings, will likely be adopted as the council’s official statement after a vote in a general assembly session in April.

Speculation has been rife over whether the SCJ, the country’s representative body of scientists, would stick with the traditional ban after the current government increased subsidies for military-related research.

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