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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A randomized trial of a lab-embedded discourse intervention to improve research ethics – PNAS ( Dena K. Plemmons, et al | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 4, 2020
 

Significance
The ethical practice of research requires researchers to give reasons and justifications for their actions, both to the other members of their research team as well as to external audiences. We developed a project-based training curriculum intended to make ethics discourse a routine practice in university science and engineering laboratories. Here, we report the results of a randomized control trial implemented among science and engineering laboratories in two research-intensive institutions. We demonstrate that, compared with the control laboratories, treatment laboratory members perceived improvements in the quality of discourse on research ethics within their laboratories as well as enhanced awareness of the relevance and reasons for that discourse for their work as measured in surveys administered 4 mo after the intervention.

Abstract

An interesting, hands-on and open access discussion about research integrity training in laboratory settings.

We report a randomized trial of a research ethics training intervention designed to enhance ethics communication in university science and engineering laboratories, focusing specifically on authorship and data management. The intervention is a project-based research ethics curriculum that was designed to enhance the ability of science and engineering research laboratory members to engage in reason giving and interpersonal communication necessary for ethical practice. The randomized trial was fielded in active faculty-led laboratories at two US research-intensive institutions. Here, we show that laboratory members perceived improvements in the quality of discourse on research ethics within their laboratories and enhanced awareness of the relevance and reasons for that discourse for their work as measured by a survey administered over 4 mo after the intervention. This training represents a paradigm shift compared with more typical module-based or classroom ethics instruction that is divorced from the everyday workflow and practices within laboratories and is designed to cultivate a campus culture of ethical science and engineering research in the very work settings where laboratory members interact.
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Keywords
research ethics, randomized trial, authorship, data management

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(Europe) Science shouldn’t be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe – The Guardian (Carey Gillam0

Posted by Admin in on March 3, 2020
 

We must be able to trust the integrity of scientific research as we work to protect our families and our planet

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies submitted to regulators to prove the safety of the popular weedkilling chemical glyphosate came from a large German laboratory that has been accused of fraud and other wrongdoing.

The issues in play here are not abstract or hypothetical.  They touch on public safety and the public’s faith in science.

The findings come amid global debate over whether or not glyphosate causes cancer and other health problems and if regulators and chemical companies proclaiming the chemical’s safety actually have credible science on their side.Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.
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Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.
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How Universities Cover Up Scientific Fraud – Areo (Justin T Pickett | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 1, 2020
 

I learned a hard lesson last year, after blowing the whistle on my coauthor, mentor and friend: not all universities can be trusted to investigate accusations of fraud, or even to follow their own misconduct policies. Then I found out how widespread the problem is: experts have been sounding the alarm for over thirty years.

Whistleblower points to a pattern of faux investigations into research misconduct aimed at protecting the host institution.

One in fifty scientists fakes research by fabricating or falsifying data. They make off with government grant money, which they share with their universities, and their made-up findings guide medical practice, public policy and ordinary people’s decisions about things like whether or not to vaccinate their children. The fraudulent science we know about has caused thousands of deaths and wasted millions in taxpayer dollars. That is only scratching the surface, however—because most fraudsters are never caught. As Ivan Oransky notes in Gaming the Metrics, “the most common outcome for those who commit fraud is: a long career.”
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There are two reasons for this. First, many scientists who witness fraud don’t report it, because they believe nothing would happen if they did and they fear retaliation. Second, when fraud is reported, the job of investigating it falls to the fraudsters’ universities. Most whistleblowers inform their universities directly. Even if they don’t, federal agencies, like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, refer fraud accusations back to universities for investigation, and publishers and the Committee on Publication Ethics tell journal editors to do the same.
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(US) Texas A&M chancellor fires back at Harvard over criticism of controversial beef study – The Texas Tribune (Sami Sparber | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 29, 2020
 

John Sharp sent Harvard’s president an open letter calling for an investigation into Harvard scientists whose actions he said “are false and harmful to Texas A&M University and its faculty.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that a Texas A&M researcher received funding from a beef industry-backed program for research separate from the study on the risks of eating red meat.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp called out Harvard on Wednesday after some Harvard faculty alleged that Texas A&M food scientists are beholden to the beef industry.

Sharp fired back with an open letter urging Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow to investigate faculty who he says “mischaracterized scientific research and falsely accused Texas A&M scientists of selling out to industry interests.”

The accusations against scientists at A&M — the leading agriculture school in the nation’s largest beef-producing state — coincide with an emerging scientific dispute over the health benefits of curtailing meat consumption. And A&M is pushing back hard in defense of its researchers.

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