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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

What Constitutes Peer Review of Data? A Survey of Peer Review Guidelines – Scholarly Kitchen (Todd A Carpenter | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 13, 2017

The sharing of research data has exploded in the past decade, and a variety of publications and organizations are putting policies in place that require data publication in some form. Over the past decade, the number of journals that accept data has increased, as have the number and scope of repositories collecting and sharing research data. Prior to 2010, data sharing was quite limited in scholarly publishing. A 2011 study of 500 papers that were published in 2009 from 50 top-ranked research journals showed that only 47 papers (9%) of those reviewed had deposited full primary raw data online. During the intervening years, the pace of data publishing increased rapidly. As another study notes, the number of datasets being shared annually has increased by more than 400% from 2011 to 2015, and this pace will likely continue. A culture of data sharing is developing, and researchers are responding to data sharing requirements, the efficacy of data sharing, and its growing acceptance as a scientific norm in many fields.

With the increased publication of datasets (partly in response to the policies of research funding bodies, and partly in response to the policies of journal publishers), what constitutes peer review of those datasets? This Scholarly Kitchen discussion piece from April 2017 examines the policies of the key publishers.

The process is driven in part by both funding and publication policies, which have been encouraging data sharing. The number of titles that explicitly require such sharing in some form is also increasing rapidly. In the past few years, PLOS, AGU, SpringerNature, and the American Economic Association, to highlight just a few, have each put forward policies about data sharing. In addition, data access has been the focus of other efforts, such as the COPDESS Statement of Commitment, which has 43 signatories. A variety of funding agencies, such as the Wellcome Trust, the Gates Foundation, and the Arnold Foundation now include data sharing as part of their funding policies, and a variety of government agencies are covered by the 2013 OSTP memo on increasing access to federally funded research.
A core element of what distinguishes scholarly publishing from trade publishing is the peer review process. As the availability of research data is increasing, it is important to ask how much of this data is peer reviewed. In a 2014 Study of 4,000 researchers by David Nicholas et al, “[i]t was generally agreed that data should be peer reviewed.” But what constitutes peer review of research data? What are existing practices related to peer review of research datasets? Since a number of journals specifically focus on the review and publication of datasets, reviewing their policies seems an appropriate place to start in assessing what existing practice looks like in the “real world” of reviewing and publishing data.


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Pyne: Are universities complicit in predatory publishing? – Ottawa Citizen (Derek Pyne | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2017

As recent articles in the Ottawa Citizen make clear, a growing scourge in universities has been the growth of predatory journals. These journals claim to be peer reviewed but in reality allow authors to buy publication and thereby inflate their publication records. Authors can then use their publication records to apply for research awards, promotions and other benefits.

Some universities have policies against them. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that several Australian universities do not allow them to be used for promotion and even ask academics to identify them in publications reported on their annual reviews. Many higher quality universities may not even need formal policies: their researchers have good reputations that they do not want to damage with publications in predatory journals.

Despite this, publications in predatory journals have been growing. Cenyu Shen and Bo-Christer Bjork, researchers at the Hanken School of Economics, estimate that in 2014, a staggering 420,000 papers were published in predatory journals and all indications are that the number is still growing. This implies the existence of some universities were predatory publications are relatively common. Common enough, that one suspects that universities are aware that their faculty are publishing in predatory journals but are turning a blind eye to it.

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Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research0

Posted by Admin in on June 3, 2017

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

1.1 Introduction
The search for knowledge about ourselves and the world around us is a fundamental human endeavour. Research1 is a natural extension of this desire to understand and to improve the world in which we live, and its results have both enriched and improved our lives and human
society as a whole.

In order to maximize the quality and benefits of research, a positive research environment is required. For researchers, this implies duties of honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to the use of professional standards. For the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (the Agencies) and institutions that receive Agency funding, it calls for a commitment to foster and maintain an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

This RCR Framework sets out the responsibilities and corresponding policies for researchers, institutions, and the Agencies, that together help support and promote a positive research environment. It specifies the responsibilities of researchers with respect to research integrity, applying for funding, financial management, and requirements for conducting certain types of research, and defines what constitutes a breach of Agency policies. For institutions, it details the minimum requirements for institutional policies for addressing allegations of all types of policy breaches, and institutions’ responsibilities for promoting responsible conduct of research and reporting to the Agencies. This RCR Framework also sets out the process to be followed by them Agencies, and administered by the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR) and the Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research (PRCR), when addressing allegations of breaches of Agency policies

Canadian revision of RCR now out…
Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016)

Redefine misconduct as distorted reporting – Nature: World View Column (Daniele Fanelli | 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2017

To make misconduct more difficult, the scientific community should ensure that it is impossible to lie by omission, argues Daniele Fanelli.

Against an epidemic of false, biased and falsified findings, the scientific community’s defences are weak. Only the most egregious cases of misconduct are discovered and punished. Subtler forms slip through the net, and there is no protection from publication bias.

Delegates from around the world will discuss solutions to these problems at the 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity ( in Montreal, Canada, on 5–8 May. Common proposals, debated in Nature and elsewhere, include improving mentorship and training, publishing negative results, reducing the pressure to publish, pre-registering studies, teaching ethics and ensuring harsh punishments.

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