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Could a New Project Expose Predatory Conferences? – Technology Networks (Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 9, 2019

By now, predatory conferences should be on your radar. These “scholarly” events are organized on a strictly for-profit basis, pay lip service to peer review, and publish almost anything sent their way — for a fee, of course. (An associate professor submitted a nuclear physics paper written using iOS autocomplete to one such conference. It passed review with flying colors.)

For years, shady individuals have been exploiting early-career researchers’ eagerness to publish. But unless you were desperate  — or painfully naive — fake conferences were pretty easy to spot and avoid. Up till now.

Effective predators adapt, and today’s breed of predatory conference is a much better mimic of the real deal. Their organizers are tech-savvy enough to create counterfeit websites that masquerade as those belonging to learned societies. I know of at least one medical association that had its conference website cloned by scammers and placed online at a web address that was just close enough to the real thing to be believable.

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How often do authors with retractions for misconduct continue to publish? – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 8, 2019

How does retraction change publishing behavior? Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey, who were two members of a team whose work led to dozens of retractions for Yoshihiro Sato, now third on the Retraction Watch leaderboard, joined forces with Vyoma Mistry to find out. We asked Bolland to answer several questions about the new University of Auckland team’s paper, which appeared in Accountability in Research.

Retraction Watch (RW): You “undertook a survey of publication rates, for authors with multiple retractions in the biomedical literature, to determine whether they changed after authors’ first retractions.” What did you find?

Mark Bolland (MB): We wondered whether people continue to publish after they have had more than one of their papers retracted. We identified 100 authors with more than one first-author retraction from the Retraction Watch database (the top 10 from the Retraction watch leaderboard, 40 with at least 10 retractions, and 50 with 2-5 retractions). 82 authors were associated with a retraction in which scientific misconduct was listed as a reason for retraction in the Retraction Watch database.

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Study pulls back curtain on contracts between Coca-Cola and the researchers it funds – STAT (Andrew Josep | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 6, 2019

When it funds scientific research, Coca-Cola includes a provision in its contracts with academic institutions that allows the beverage giant to pull its funding for a study at any point, according to a group of researchers who obtained several such agreements.

The policies could pressure recipients of the funding to pursue research that dovetails with Coca-Cola’s goals out of fear of having their project canceled, the researchers said in a paper published Tuesday, though they added that they found no example of that occurring.

The paper, which was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, comes amid increasing scrutiny of the food and beverage industry’s funding of and influence over academic research. The industry has taken a number of steps to improve transparency and safeguard the independence of studies it sponsors. Notably, Coca-Cola in 2015 started listing on its website the institutions and researchers it funded and the following year outlined principles that would guide its support for scientific research.

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Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career – Nature (Gabriel Popkin | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 5, 2019

Open science can lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther knew that scientists had already collected a vast amount of field data on forests worldwide. But almost all of those data were sequestered in researchers’ notebooks or personal computers, making them unavailable to the wider scientific community. In 2012, Crowther, then a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, began to e-mail and cold-call researchers to request their data. He started to assemble an inventory, now hosted by the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative, an international research collaboration, that contains data on more than 1 million locations. Data are stored in CSV files (plain-text files that contain a list of data) on servers at Crowther’s present laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and on those of a collaborator at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; he hopes to outsource database storage to a third-party organization with expertise in archiving and access.

After years of courting and cajoling, Crowther has persuaded about half of the data owners to make their data public. The other half, he laments, say that they support open data in principle, but have specific reasons for keeping their data sets private. Mainly, he explains, they want to use their data to conduct and publish their own studies.

Crowther’s database challenges reflect the current state of science: partly open, partly closed, and with unclear and inconsistent policies and expectations on data sharing that are still in flux. High-level bodies such as the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission have called for science to become more open and endorsed a set of data-management standards known as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles. Government funding agencies in the United States, Europe and Australia require researchers to devise plans for data management and, in some cases, data sharing; some private funders also require them. Many journals, including Nature, have adopted policies that encourage or require authors to make data available. A plethora of open-access repositories host data sets from almost all fields, and scientists have been publicly criticized by colleagues for not sharing data.

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