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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Ethics of Research on Leaked Data: Ashley Madison – Discover (Neuroskeptic | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 22, 2018
 

A paper just published reports that Republicans are more likely to have used the adultery website Ashley Madison than Democrats, while Libertarians were even more likely to do so.

Institutional and national research ethics review arrangements often exempt data that is already on the public record. Are you local arrangements nuanced enough to treat hacked and leaked data differently? An observation about the Ashley Madison data, which has been made before, is that while it’s a huge set of international data set in an area where data is notoriously hard to collect (infidelity) it actually has numerous flaws that probably makes it useless. We’ve included links to nine related items.

That’s a claim that could ruffle some feathers, but the way in which the researchers conducted this study might be even more controversial. That’s because this paper is based on the 2015 Ashley Madison data leak, which exposed the personal data, including names and credit-card details, of millions of registered users.
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For this study, the authors, Kodi B. Arfer and Jason J. Jones, took the leaked data and matched it up against voter registration records for five U.S. states. They considered a voter to be an active Ashley Madison user if they had ever paid money to the website. About 1 in 500 voters met these criteria.
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Those voters registered as Libertarians were most likely to be active users, even controlling for age, gender and state. Registered Republicans came next and Democrats were least likely.
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National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) – Updated with new link to July 2018 update0

Posted by Admin in on July 12, 2018
 

National Statement 2018 coverThe National Statement is the Australian national reference for human research. It was issued by the NHMRC and has been endorsed by the ARC and UA. The document articulates the four core principles of merit and integrity, beneficence, justice and respect for persons. Specific advice is provided with regard to benefits and risk, informed consent, privacy, methodologies and potential participant populations. Guidance is also provided with regard to the appointment and operation of human research ethics committees, the conduct of ethical reviews, and the responsibilities of institutions. Even though the document has not been enacted compliance with the National Statement is a strict condition of NHMRC and ARC funding.

Since 2014 a joint working group (including appointees from AHEC, the ARC and UA) have been conducting a rolling review of the National Statement. Dr Allen is involved in this rolling review.

In 2015-17 a joint drafting committee (including appointees from AHEC, the ARC and UA) drafted changes and addition to the chapters in Section 3 of the National Statement, as well as corresponding changes to Section 5 and the glossary Dr Allen, Prof Israel and Prof Thomson, are involved in this rolling review.

Access – the PDF copy | the NS page

National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (2007, updated 2018) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Available at: https://nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/national-statement-ethical-conduct-human-research-2007-updated-2018

Research ethics committees in the Pacific Islands: gaps and opportunities for health sector strengthening (Papers: Justin T Denholm, et al | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on July 8, 2018
 

Abstract
There has been a range of developments in recent years to stimulate increasing public health research activity throughout the Pacific. Development of local capacity for ethics committee review and oversight is, however, frequently underdeveloped. This is reflected in the number of Pacific Island nations where ethics committees have not been established or where only informal processes exist for ethics review and oversight. This is problematic for the optimal development of relevant and culturally appropriate research, and building up local ethics committees should be part of continued research development in the Pacific. Three areas in which local ethics committees may add value are 1) offering better capacity to reflect local priorities, 2) providing broader benefits for research capacity building, and 3) assisting to strengthen systems beyond research ethics. This article considers benefits and challenges for ethics committees in the Pacific, and suggests directions for regional development to further strengthen public health research activity.

Keywords: research ethics, Pacific Islands, operational research, public health, ethics

J. T. Denholm, K. Bissell, K. Viney, A. M. Durand, H. L. Cash, C. Roseveare, O. E. Merilles, Jr., A. D. Harries and S. Biribo (2017) Research ethics committees in the Pacific Islands: gaps and opportunities for health sector strengthening. Public Health Action. 2017 Mar 21; 7(1): 6–9. Published online 2017 Mar 21. doi: 10.5588/pha.16.0076 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526493/

Open access

Europe’s biggest research fund cracks down on ‘ethics dumping’ – Nature (Linda Nordling | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 7, 2018
 

The practice of conducting ethically dubious research in foreign countries is under fresh scrutiny.

Ethics dumping — doing research deemed unethical in a scientist’s home country in a foreign setting with laxer ethical rules — will be rooted out in research funded by the European Union, officials announced last week.

A commendable move by the EU, which at least, in theory, is addressed by the provisions of national research ethics frameworks such as Australia’s National Statement, but peak research funding bodies should consider the merits a similarly clear statement in its funding criteria.

Applications to the EU’s €80-billion (US$93-billion) Horizon 2020 research fund will face fresh levels of scrutiny to make sure that research practices deemed unethical in Europe are not exported to other parts of the world. Wolfgang Burtscher, the European Commission’s deputy director-general for research, made the announcement at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 June.
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Burtscher said that a new code of conduct developed to curb ethics dumping will soon be applied to all EU-funded research projects. That means applicants will be referred to the code when they submit their proposals, and ethics committees will use the document when considering grant applications.
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