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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Fake Science: XMRV, COVID-19, and the Toxic Legacy of Dr. Judy Mikovits (Papers: Stuart J.D. Neil & Edward M. Campbell)0

Posted by Admin in on July 3, 2020

One cannot spend >5 min on social media at the moment without finding a link to some conspiracy theory or other regarding the origin of SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. From the virus being deliberately released as a bioweapon to pharmaceutical companies blocking the trials of natural remedies to boost their dangerous drugs and vaccines, the Internet is rife with far-fetched rumors. And predictably, now that the first immunization trials have started, the antivaccine lobby has latched on to most of them. In the last week, the trailer for a new “bombshell documentary” Plandemic has been doing the rounds, gaining notoriety for being repeatedly removed from YouTube and Facebook. We usually would not pay much heed to such things, but for retrovirologists like us, the name associated with these claims is unfortunately too familiar: Dr. Judy Mikovits.

Neil, S. J. D. & Campbell, E. M. (2020) Fake Science: XMRV, COVID-19, and the Toxic Legacy of Dr. Judy Mikovits. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 545-549.
Publisher (Open Access):

Warning over coronavirus and predatory journals – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on July 1, 2020

With hundreds of predatory journals appearing and disappearing on a regular basis, researchers need to be vigilant in their approach to unfamiliar publishers.

While predatory journals can be difficult to define and identify, a common distinguishing characteristic is that their publishers try to exploit the open-access publishing model by charging the fee and then fail to provide editorial services.

Lists of predatory journals have been widely used to keep track of emerging titles. One of the best-known, Beall’s List, was retired in January 2017. (The list remains online.)

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(EU) Governance of research integrity: Options for a coordinated approach in Europe – EMBO (Sandra Bendiscioli Michele S. Garfinkel | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 28, 2020

This report is the result of an EMBO project to analyse whether and how a more coordinated approach in Europe would contribute to improving the integrity of research and meeting the challenges of handling cases of research misconduct. We analysed potential functions for a European body, the main ones being investigatory, advisory, and oversight. We also looked at other mechanisms, including the coordination of procedures used by European research performing organizations, funders and publishers. The project included a literature search, and input from an international group of experts through interviews and a workshop organized in partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Science Forum (GSF).

To ensure trust in scientific knowledge, scientific1 research must be conducted responsibly and to the highest standards. However, scientific research is not immune from problems: breaches of good practice, accepted norms, regulations and ethical behaviour.

In the past 20 years or so, an increasing number of cases of breaches of good research practice worldwide have been reported and have reached public attention. Most well known cases involve practices considered to be serious misconduct, which are generally identified as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (FFP). However, many other less sensational practices often referred to as questionable research practices (QRP) also threaten the quality of research outputs. Evidence from surveys of researchers’ practices, and statistics related to problematic images found in scientific papers, shows that the incidence of QRP is high (e.g. Fanelli, 2009; Pulverer, 2015; Bik et al., 2016). To protect the quality, validity and reliability of research results, and public trust in scientific research, all breaches of good research practice must be addressed appropriately.

Table of contents

Summary i

1. Introduction 1

2. Methodology 4

3. Advantages and disadvantages of existing systems 5

4. An international body: Potential advantages and disadvantages 12
4.1. Structural options: Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations 13
4.2. Potential role: Investigatory, oversight, advisory, platform for information exchange 14
4.3. Potential domain: Scientific organizations, law enforcement organizations, labour organizations 18
4.4. Options for funding 19

5. Options for implementing specific mechanisms 20
5.1. An international body established by a European scientific organization 20
5.2 An international body established by a European funder or a group of funders 22
5.3 An international body established by an international NGO 23
5.4 An international body established by a private entity 25

6. Other mechanisms: coordination of procedures 26

7. Conclusions 2

8 Acronyms 31

References 32

Appendices 36
Appendix 1 Biographies and institute information 36
Appendix 2 Workshop and interview information 37

Participant list 40 Interviewees 41

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(US) Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research – WIRED (Gregory Barber | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 20, 2020

Today’s deal between the University of California and publisher Springer Nature is a big milestone on the path to dismantling paywalls around academic journals.

FIVE YEARS AGO, when Jeffrey MacKie-Mason first joined the University of California team that negotiates with academic publishers, he asked a colleague what would happen if he failed to strike a deal. What if, instead, he simply canceled their subscription? “I was told I would be fired the next day,” the UC Berkeley librarian says. Last year, he tested out the theory. The university system had been trying to negotiate a deal to make all of its research open-access—outside of a paywall—with Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher. But they were too far apart on what that would cost. So MacKie-Mason’s team walked away.

An update on efforts towards making the results of quality research publicly accessible to all.  We have included links to fifteen related items.

To his surprise, the army of UC researchers who depended on that subscription were willing to go along with it. They’d lose the ability to read new articles in thousands of Elsevier journals, sure, but there were ways to get by without a subscription. They could email researchers directly for copies. The university would pay for individual articles. And yes, unofficially, some would just probably download from Sci-Hub, the illicit repository where virtually every scientific article can be found. To MacKie-Mason, it was clarifying: The conventional wisdom that had weakened his negotiating hand was thoroughly dispelled.

Since then, progress towards open access has crept along. More deals of the kind UC wants have been struck, especially in Europe. But in the United States, progress has been especially halting. Then, last week, MIT officials announced that they too had stepped away from the table with Elsevier, saying they couldn’t agree to a deal. And now, University of California officials have announced their intention to make a deal with Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest publisher, to begin publishing the university system’s research as open-access by default. The deal starts in 2021 for a large number of the company’s journals—and puts UC on the path, at least, to do so for all its journals within two years, including its most prestigious ones, like Nature.

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