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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!”

Read the rest of this discussion piece
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

2017 UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POSTNOTE 544 January 2017 Integrity in Research0

Posted by Admin in on March 17, 2017

A  POSTnote that considers current approaches to promoting integrity in research.

Integrity in research refers to the behaviours and values that result in high quality, ethical and valuable research. This POSTnote considers current approaches to fostering an environment conducive to good research in the UK, and detecting and preventing practices that fall short of expected standards. It also examines the current mechanisms for supporting integrity in the UK, whether these are sufficient, or if another form of oversight, such as regulation, might be preferable.

Poor practice ranges from minor errors to serious misconduct. While deliberate fraud does occur, it is thought to be extremely rare. Questionable research practices are a more widespread concern, as they are thought to be more prevalent and have a greater impact on the research record.

There are concerns about how to maintain integrity in research, because of fears that the ‘publish or perish’ culture leads to poor or questionable research practices. While many mechanisms do exist for reducing poor practice, and these are thought to have a positive effect on reducing such behaviour, there remain concerns that the system is disjointed, lacks openness and transparency, and that the incentive structure is such that good practice is not recognised or rewarded. Strategies for tackling this therefore focused on reducing institutional pressures on researchers, through enhancing openness and transparency, improving oversight and training, and re-aligning incentives for researchers so that they are rewarded for engaging in rigorous and accurate research.

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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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Safeguarding research integrity in China (Papers: Jane Qiu | 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on March 11, 2017

China has an impressive record in the total number of scientific publications in the past decade. In 2012, it churned out 193 733 Science Index Citation papers—4.7 times the 2002 level and second only to the United States.

Unfortunately, the standards of science integrity has not kept up with the pace of this development, and many cases of research misconduct have been reported. This prompts many to fear that the country is now facing a critical problem in the field of scientific ethics.

In a forum chaired by National Science Review’s executive associate editor Mu-ming Poo, five panellists from diverse backgrounds discuss how serious the problem is, what the root causes are, and how to safeguard research integrity in China.

Jane Qiu (2015) Safeguarding research integrity in China. National Science Review (March 2015) 2 (1): 122-125. doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwv002
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