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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Spam me once, shame on you. (Academic) spam me 3000 times…? – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | December 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 23, 2016

One of the drawbacks of having any kind of digital presence relating to research is the ensuing avalanche into your in-tray of offers from academic publications who are desparate to publish your sage utterances sight unseen. As my grandma used to say if it sounds too good to be true it is almost certainly not true

Every year, academics get thousands of spam emails inviting them to submit manuscripts or attend conferences — but don’t bother asking to “unsubscribe” for Christmas.
Spoiler alert, for those of you planning to read the rest of this post: It doesn’t make much of a difference.
That’s according to the conclusions of a study published in one of our favorite issues of the BMJ — the Christmas issue. After a group of five self-described “intrepid academics” tried to unsubscribe from the 300+ spam invitations they received on average each month, the volume decreased by only 19% after one year.

Read the rest of this discussion piece
Also read this paper about trying to unsubscribe from spam lists

We read spam a lot: prospective cohort study of unsolicited and unwanted academic invitations (Papers: Andrew Grey, et al | September 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 23, 2016

Objectives To assess the amount, relevance, content, and suppressibility of academic electronic spam invitations to attend conferences or submit manuscripts.

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting Email accounts of participating academics.

Participants Five intrepid academics and a great many publishers, editors, and conference organisers.

Intervention Unsubscribing from sender’s distribution lists.

Main outcome measures Number of spam invitations received before, immediately after, and one year after unsubscribing from senders’ distribution lists. The proportion of duplicate invitations was also assessed and the relevance of each invitation graded to the recipient’s research interests. A qualitative assessment of the content of spam invitations was conducted.

Results At baseline, recipients received an average of 312 spam invitations each month. Unsubscribing reduced the frequency of the invitations by 39% after one month but by only 19% after one year. Overall, 16% of spam invitations were duplicates and 83% had little or no relevance to the recipients’ research interests. Spam invitations were characterised by inventive language, flattery, and exuberance, and they were sometimes baffling and amusing.

Conclusions Academic spam is common, repetitive, often irrelevant, and difficult to avoid or prevent.

Grey A, Bolland MJ, Dalbeth N, Gamble G, Sadler L. (2016) We read spam a lot: prospective cohort study of unsolicited and unwanted academic invitations BMJ 2016; 355
Publisher (Open access):

 Also read this lighthearted discussion piece about academic spam

The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles (Papers: Ernest Hugh O’Boyle Jr., et al 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on December 21, 2016

The issue of a published literature not representative of the population of research is most often discussed in terms of entire studies being suppressed. However, alternative sources of publication bias are questionable research practices (QRPs) that entail post hoc alterations of hypotheses to support data or post hoc alterations of data to support hypotheses. Using general strain theory as an explanatory framework, we outline the means, motives, and opportunities for researchers to better their chances of publication independent of rigor and relevance. We then assess the frequency of QRPs in management research by tracking differences between dissertations and their resulting journal publications. Our primary finding is that from dissertation to journal article, the ratio of supported to unsupported hypotheses more than doubled (0.82 to 1.00 versus 1.94 to 1.00). The rise in predictive accuracy resulted from the dropping of statistically nonsignificant hypotheses, the addition of statistically significant hypotheses, the reversing of predicted direction of hypotheses, and alterations to data. We conclude with recommendations to help mitigate the problem of an unrepresentative literature that we label the “Chrysalis Effect.”

Keywords: philosophy of science statistical methods ethics morality and moral behavior

O’Boyle EH, Banks GC, Gonzalez-Mulé E (2016) The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles. Journal of Management.  Doi: 10.1177/0149206314527133
Research Gate:…

I was assaulted while researching, but was too scared to speak out – The Guardian (Academics Anonymous | December 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 20, 2016

While in the early stages of my PhD fieldwork, I was sexually assaulted by a member of the community where I was conducting my work. I had just met this man while making contacts to do my research, and thought he seemed friendly. He took advantage of my vulnerability as a lone female student, and when we next met, he pursued me after I made clear I was not interested. I struggled against him until he decided I was not worth the trouble, and resorted to calling me a lesbian. He let me go – but not before reminding me that he knew where I was staying.

I did not have a full sense of how alone I was until this happened. I was in a remote town, thousands of miles and several days from home. It does not matter exactly where; it could have been anywhere. I had good working relationships there, but I did not know where to turn.

Shortly after it happened, a neighbour told me that this man had a history of violence and was someone to avoid. I was afraid that saying anything to anyone would escalate the situation and spell the end of my research. Besides, everything I’d been taught about fieldwork – that it should be tough and I’d better know how to handle myself – told me to forget it had ever happened. I felt ashamed.

Read the rest of this discussion piece