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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog? – Retraction Watch Interview (Trevor L Stokes | January 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 8, 2017

Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.

The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types. She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.

When asked why she spent time away from bench research to examine this issue, Byrne told us:

Read the rest of this interview

Litmus Test – Maisonneuve (Miriam Shuchman | December 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on February 4, 2017

As Harriet Keck* registered the words on her screen, the first thing she felt was shock. The doctor and scientist at a major Canadian teaching hospital had received an email from her boss’s office stating that an allegation of scientific misconduct had been made against her. “I was trembling, I was out of my mind,” she says.

This is a fairly basic, but informative, account of research misconduct procedures from Canada

Feeling deeply ashamed, Keck tried to piece together what could have happened. She thought it might relate to research she’d collaborated on with a doctor at her institution. The project had required extensive time, often at night and on weekends, in her laboratory. Their studies were important related to developing better tests for diagnosing a disease that was the focus of their research but the relationship soured when they quarrelled over a journal article.
Journal articles are the currency of science. A discovery barely exists until it has undergone peer review a rigorous process of scrutiny conducted by other experts in the field and a journal has published the results. Furthermore, publications are essential for building a research career. For the article in question, Keck maintained forcefully that the prize position of last author, which signifies supervising scientist and confers a competitive edge in the high-stakes battle for research funds, academic promotion and prized appointments, was rightfully hers, as she’d done the work on the project in her lab. While she won the battle, she lost the research relationship, opting not to work with the senior doctor on future projects.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Unsettling Research Ethics: A Collaborative Conference Report (Resources: Natalie JK Baloy et al 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on October 10, 2016

An Invitational Conference
February 25-26, 2016
Collaborative Conference Report
June 30, 2016

The UC Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC) is a multi-campus research initiative that links inter/trans-disciplinary university researchers, community organizations, and policy makers in equity-oriented, collaborative, community-based research projects. These projects aim to achieve creative solutions to the interrelated challenges in the economy, employment, education, environment, food systems, housing, and public health. CCREC seeds, incubates, and supports ethically informed collaborative research for justice, and it prepares a new generation of engaged scholars and community leaders who seek to make truth matter in the public sphere. CCREC also builds institutional capacity for collaborative community-based research methodologies. At the same time, CCREC undertakes critical analyses of these very modes of research and the complex ethical questions they raise for university collaborations with aggrieved communities specifically and for social science research more broadly.

Executive summary

The University of California Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC) hosted the Unsettling Research Ethics invitational conference in February 2016. Designed to disrupt formalized approaches to research ethics, the conference facilitated critical dialogue among social scientists, ethics specialists, community-based and collaborative researchers, and community leaders. This dialogue was graphically visualized and documented in real time by a graphic facilitator, Julie Gieseke of Map the Mind, thereby providing materials used in the knowledge production of the conference itself and reworked for this report.

The Unsettling Research Ethics conference and report presents a distinctive framework for grappling with the ethics of research, surfacing ethical tensions and dilemmas through the domains of knowledge, relationality, and space and time. This framework aims to deepen ethical praxis and professional formation for researchers and collaborators. Included in this report are learning tools like innovative cases, games, heat maps, and other materials designed for deep engagement with fraught ethical matters…

Baloy, Natalie JK, Sheeva Sabati, and Ronald David Glass (Editors). Unsettling Research Ethics: A Collaborative Conference Report. Santa Cruz, CA: UC Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California. June 30, 2016.

The long march to open science – Horizons (Sven Titz September 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on September 16, 2016

Many researchers are positive about the new, burgeoning science culture, but they still hesitate to enter into an open exchange of knowledge. There are many reasons why – such as a lack of knowledge about data management and the fear of intellectual property theft. By Sven Titz
(From “Horizons” no. 110 September 2016)

Scientists disclose all their study plans and experimental designs; they write daily blogs about their progress in the lab, revealing every detail; and then they publish in open-access journals that are assessed through an open peer-review process. And their results are stored in databases that are on open access to everyone. This is the utopia of open science.

Are we about to attain such a state of transparent research? Well, things are unlikely to develop quite so straightforwardly. Sometimes it’s because there’s just not enough money. Sometimes people aren’t in a position to set up the required databases. And sometimes scientists hesitate to reveal their data because they fear that competitors could steal their ideas and publish them first…

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