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India creates unique tiered system to punish plagiarism – Science (Pallava Bagla | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2018
 

NEW DELHI—The Indian government has adopted its first regulations on academic plagiarism—rules that some researchers say are too lenient and others fear go too far and will be difficult to implement.

We primarily included this item as much for the debate the proposal has engendered as anything else. We have included links to some other items on plagiarism.

The rules take a unique approach to a problem that Indian authorities say has become widespread. They declare that a small amount of plagiarism—10% of a thesis, article, book, research paper, or other document—is acceptable, but that more extensive copying will result in increasingly severe punishments. The rules were accepted last month by the University Grants Commission of India (UGC India), which oversees higher education, and are binding for all universities.
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The new policy creates four tiers for addressing plagiarism, which is defined by UGC India as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or idea and passing them as one’s own.” The first tier, for what it calls “similarities up to 10%,” would carry no penalty. The second tier, in which 10% to 40% of a document is plagiarized, would require students to submit a revised manuscript and force faculty members to withdraw the plagiarized paper. In cases where 40% to 60% of the document is plagiarized, a student would be suspended for a year and the faculty member would forfeit an annual pay raise and be prohibited from supervising students for 2 years. Students who plagiarize more than 60% of their thesis would be kicked out of the program, while the penalties for faculty members would be extended to a loss of 2 years of pay increases and a 3-year ban on supervising students.
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New tool looks for signs of image doctoring – Retraction Watch interview (Alison McCook | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 1, 2018
 

One of the most common reasons for retractions is image manipulation. When searching for evidence of it, researchers often rely on what their eyes tell them. But what if screening tools could help? Last week, researchers described a new automated tool to screen images for duplication (reported by Nature News); with help from publishing giant Elsevier, another group at Harvard Medical School is developing a different approach. We spoke with creators Mary Walsh, Chief Scientific Investigator in the Office for Professional Standards and Integrity, and Daniel Wainstock, Associate Director of Research Integrity, about how the tool works, and why — unlike the other recently described automated tool — they want to make theirs freely available.

Retraction Watch: What prompted you to develop this tool?

Mary Walsh and Daniel Wainstock: When reviewing concerns that two published images, representing the results of different experiments, might actually be the same, we typically assess whether the images are too similar to derive from different samples. The answer is often obvious to the naked eye, but not always, and we wanted to determine if it was possible to quantify the similarities.

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Nine pitfalls of research misconduct – Science (Aaron D. Robinson | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 28, 2018
 

Academic leaders must audit departments for flaws and strengths, then tailor practices to build good behaviour, say C. K. Gunsalus and Aaron D. Robinson.

One of us (C.K.G.) teaches leadership skills and works with troubled departments. At almost every session, someone will sidle up, curious about a case study: they want to know how what happened at their university came to be known externally. Of course, it didn’t.

A recommended read for research centre directors and anyone who facilitates research integrity professional development activities. The point being, there are small missteps that can lead to awful outcomes.

From what we’ve observed as a former university administrator and consultant (C.K.G.) and as a graduate student and working professional (A.D.R.), toxic research environments share a handful of operational flaws and cognitive biases. Researchers and institutional leaders must learn how these infiltrate their teams, and tailor solutions to keep them in check.
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People who enter research generally share several values. Honesty, openness and accountability come up again and again when C.K.G. asks researchers to list what makes a good scientist. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that these values give rise to responsibilities that “make the system cohere and make scientific knowledge reliable”1. Yet every aspect of science, from the framing of a research question through to publication of the manuscript, is susceptible to influences that can counter good intentions.
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Disgraced surgeon is still publishing on stem cell therapies – Science (Matt Warren | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2018
 

Paolo Macchiarini, an Italian surgeon, has been fired from two institutions and faces the retraction of many of his papers after findings of scientific misconduct and ethical lapses in his research—yet this hasn’t prevented him from publishing again in a peer-reviewed journal. Despite his circumstances, Macchiarini appears as senior author on a paper published last month investigating the viability of artificial esophagi “seeded” with stem cells, work that appears strikingly similar to the plastic trachea transplants that ultimately left most of his patients dead. The journal’s editor says he was unaware of Macchiarini’s history before publishing the study.

“I’m really surprised,” says cardiothoracic surgeon Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, one of the whistle-blowers who exposed Macchiarini’s misconduct at the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm. “I can’t understand how a serious editorial board can accept manuscripts from this guy.”

Macchiarini was once heralded as a pioneer of regenerative medicine because of his experimental transplants of artificial tracheas that supposedly developed into functional organs when seeded with a patient’s stem cells. But his career came crashing down after the Swedish documentary Experimenten showed the poor outcomes of his patients, all but one of whom have now died. (The lone survivor was able to have his implant removed.) Macchiarini was subsequently fired from KI, both the university and a national ethics board found him guilty of scientific misconduct in several papers, and Swedish authorities are now considering whether to reopen a criminal case against him.

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