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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Knowledge and attitudes among life scientists towards reproducibility within journal articles (Papers: Evanthia Kaimaklioti Samota and Robert P. Davey | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 16, 2019
 

Abstract

We constructed a survey to understand how authors and scientists view the issues around reproducibility, and how solutions such as interactive figures could enable the reproducibility of experiments from within a research article. This manuscript reports the results of this survey on the views of 251 researchers, including authors who have published in eLIFE Sciences, and those who work at the Norwich Biosciences Institutes (NBI). The survey also outlines to what extent researchers are occupied with reproducing experiments themselves and what are their desirable features of an interactive figure. Respondents considered various features for an interactive figure within a research article that would allow for them to better understand and reproduce in situ the experiment presented in the figure. Respondents said that the most important element that would enable the better reproducibility of published research would be that authors describe methods and analyses in detail. The respondents believe that having interactive figures in published papers is a beneficial element. Whilst interactive figures are potential solutions for demonstrating technical reproducibility, we find that there are equally pressing cultural demands on researchers that need to be addressed to achieve greater success in reproducibility in the life sciences.

Samota, E. K. and R. P. Davey (2019). Knowledge and attitudes among life scientists towards reproducibility within journal articles. bioRxiv: 581033. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/581033
Publisher: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/581033v2
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed

Tell the World – Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison – ABC Four Corners (July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 16, 2019
 

On 15th July, ABC 4Corners ran a documentary examining develop the use of AI to profile and track activities non-Han populations in China. One Australian commentator argued that, in providing technical assistance, Australian universities were being ‘complicit in the human rights abuses’ (Assoc Prof James Leibold, La Trobe University). UTS told 4Corners that it was reviewing its relationships with a Chinese state-owned military tech company while Curtin is reviewing its research approval procedures.

Other universities may want to consider the mechanisms that they have that allow them to explore the ethics of the end use of technology that they develop and the degree to which it might be intended for or repurposed for the use of state security or military purposes. The biomedical literature has explored the dangers of dual use, but the 4Corners investigation pointed to problems that are much easier to anticipate, in this case work contracted directly with Australian university partners by Chinese state enterprises with military connections.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: I think… universities here in Australia that have connections with any Party State company, particularly in the military or security sector, needs to end those contracts, and to pull out of those collaborative arrangement. I mean, essentially by doing that, we’re being complicit in the human rights abuses that are occurring in Xinjiang and in China more widely.

EXCERPT FROM THE ITEM

“People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.” China researcher

It’s a remote corner of the world, but what is taking place there is nothing short of breathtaking.

“My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by… masked police. Heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken (sic) them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.” Australian Uyghur

Xinjiang province is a vast area of deserts and mountains where the ancient Silk Road once ran. Today its Uyghur population is being systematically rounded up with estimates of as many as a million citizens being held in detention.

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(Includes audio and transcript)

UGC move to thwart ‘pay and publish trash’ culture – Hindustan Times (Rajeev Mullick | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 15, 2019
 

UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has issued a public notice on academic integrity for Indian academic community dated.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it clear that any publications in predatory, dubious journals or presentations and dubious conferences will not be considered for academic selection, confirmation, promotion, performance and appraisal, besides award of scholarship or academic degrees or credits in any form.

This move by an Indian research funding body is commendable and worth emulating by bodies in other jurisdictions and by institutions.  We have included links to eight related items.

UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has issued a public notice on academic integrity for Indian academic community dated June 14, 2019. It reads: With immediate effect, research publications only from journals indexed in UCG-CARE List should be used for all academic purposes. Any attempt of compromised academic integrity should be challenged, questioned and de-recognised all levels, it reads.
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The UGC has setup a consortium for academics and research ethics (CARE) to identify, monitor and maintain ‘UCG-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals’ available at the , with useful resources as relevant publications, audio visual materials, videos, web link etc. UCG-CARE website also provides FAQ’s, feedback and grievance redressal mechanism.
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Credit data generators for data reuse – Nature (Heather H. Pierce, et al | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 14, 2019
 

To promote effective sharing, we must create an enduring link between the people who generate data and its future uses, urge Heather H. Pierce and colleagues.

Much effort has gone towards crafting mandates and standards for researchers to share their data1–3. Considerably less time has been spent measuring just how valuable data sharing is, or recognizing the scientific contributions of the people responsible for those data sets. The impact of research continues to be measured by primary publications, rather than by subsequent uses of the data.

To incentivize the sharing of useful data, the scientific enterprise needs a well-defined system that links individuals with reuse of data sets they generate4. To further this goal, the Association of American Medical Colleges (where H.H.P. and A.D. work) and the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (where E.S. and B.E.B. work), along with The New England Journal of Medicine, convened a 2018 workshop of representatives from 50 organizations to discuss and validate such a system. The workshop included major journals, funders, data-citation groups and academic centres (see Supplementary Information, Participant list) and was preceded by numerous meetings.

Here we propose a system for leveraging existing initiatives and infrastructure to track the use, reuse and impact of scientific data through the consistent adoption of unique identifiers. Our system begins when researchers deposit a data set that they have generated. It then links every use and published analysis of that data set back to the original researchers (see ‘Virtuous cycle’).

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