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Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector (University Foreign Interference Taskforce November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 28, 2019
 

CONTEXT STATEMENT

A defining factor in the world-class performance and reputation of Australia’s university system is its openness to the world. the globally engaged nature of our universities is indispensable to their success. Indeed, it is the bedrock of their competitiveness.

This global engagement enables Australia to make cutting-edge research breakthroughs as our own world-class academics work in collaboration with others worldwide at the forefront of their field. It enables us to educate many of the world’s best students, who return home after graduation with an enduring knowledge of, and lifelong affection for Australia, a powerful soft power asset for the nation. It enables Australia to recruit outstanding global experts to teach and conduct research in our universities, catapulting our capacity ahead of our competitors. And it ensures the learning and the alumni networks of Australian university students are enriched by classmates from all around the world. International experience and collaboration is integral to the academic career path around the world. A global exchange of ideas is enabled by this exchange of people.

The Australian government supports such international collaborations through its programs and policy settings across a wide range of initiatives and portfolios. these include appropriate visa settings and the new global talent visa; a comprehensive program of Australian trade commission work to promote international education; the new colombo Plan; the eligibility of international academics for several Australian national competitive grant schemes; the provision of targeted research funds such as the Australia-china science and Research Fund and the Australia-India strategic Research Fund; and providing support for Australian students and academic staff to travel internationally…

CONTENTS
Context Statement 4
the threat environment 6
Introduction 7
How to use these guidelines 9
Governance and risk frameworks 10
Due diligence 14
Communication and education 20
Knowledge sharing 22
Cyber security 24
Best practice considerations 25
Appendix 1: University Foreign Interference Taskforce 33
Appendix 2: Government departments and contacts 34
Appendix 3: Case studies 38
Appendix 4: Scenario 40
Appendix 5: Glossary 41
Appendix 6: Acronyms 43
Appendix 7: Resources and guidance materials 44

University Foreign Interference Taskforce (2019). Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector. Retrieved from Analysis and Policy Observatory Website: 29/12/19
https://apo.org.au/node/267726

Friday afternoon’s funny – Who wins?0

Posted by Admin in on December 27, 2019
 

Source from https://twitter.com/PHDcomics

Obviously. The Funds are strong with this one. (to quote from one of the comments).  Gary is proudly a sci-fi nut, so the inclusion of this image in our newsroom will be no surprise to his family and friends.  Who would win?  Captain Picard.

Gazing into the Abyss of P-Hacking: HARKing vs. Optional Stopping – R-Bloggers (Angelika Stefan | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 26, 2019
 

Almost all researchers have experienced the tingling feeling of suspense that arises right before they take a look at long-awaited data: Will they support their favored hypothesis? Will they yield interesting or even groundbreaking results? In a perfect world (especially one without publication bias), the cause of this suspense should be nothing else but scientific curiosity. However, the world, and specifically the incentive system in science, is not perfect. A lot of pressure rests on researchers to produce statistically significant results. For many researchers, statistical significance is the cornerstone of their academic career, so non-significant results in an important study can not only question their scientific convictions but also crash their hopes of professional promotion. (Although, fortunately things are changing for the better).

Now, what does a researcher do confronted with messy, non-significant results? According to several much-cited studies (for example John et al., 2012; Simmons et al., 2011), a common reaction is to start sampling again (and again, and again, …) in the hope that a somewhat larger sample size can boost significance. Another reaction is to wildly conduct hypothesis tests on the existing sample until at least one of them becomes significant (see for example: Simmons et al., 2011; Kerr, 1998 ). These practices, along with some others, are commonly known as p-hacking, because they are designed to drag the famous p-value right below the mark of .05 which usually indicates statistical significance. Undisputedly, p-hacking works (for a demonstration try out the p-hacker app). The two questions we want to answer in this blog post are: How does it work and why is that bad for science?

As many people may have heard, p-hacking works because it exploits a process called alpha error accumulation which is covered in most introductory statistics classes (but also easily forgotten again). Basically, alpha error accumulation means that as one conducts more and more hypothesis tests, the probability increases that one makes a wrong test decision at least once. Specifically, this wrong test decision is a false positive decision or alpha error, which means that you proclaim the existence of an effect although, in fact, there is none. Speaking in statistical terms, an alpha error occurs when the test yields a significant result although the null hypothesis (“There is no effect”) is true in the population. This means that p-hacking leads to the publication of an increased rate of false positive results, that is, studies that claim to have found an effect although, in fact, their result is just due to the randomness of the data. Such studies will never replicate.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Rude paper reviews are pervasive and sometimes harmful, study find – Science (Christie Wilcox | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 26, 2019
 

There’s a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That’s the reviewer that doesn’t bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outright offensive comments, and—of course—urges the irrelevant citation of their own work. Such unprofessional conduct is so pervasive there’s even a whole Facebook group, more than 25,000 members strong, named “Reviewer 2 Must Be Stopped!” But it is no laughing matter, concludes a new study that finds boorish reviewer comments can have serious negative impacts, especially on authors belonging to marginalized groups.

Peer reviewers are supposed to ensure that journals publish high-quality science by evaluating manuscripts and offering suggestions for improvement. But often, referee comments stray far from that mission, found the new PeerJ study, which surveyed 1106 scientists from 46 countries and 14 disciplines. More than half of the respondents—who were promised anonymity—reported receiving at least one “unprofessional” review, and a majority of those said they had received multiple problematic comments.

Those comments tended to personally target a scientist, lack constructive criticism, or were just unnecessarily harsh or cruel, the authors report. For example, one author received a review that stated: “The phrases I have so far avoided using in this review are ‘lipstick on a pig’ and ‘bullshit baffles brains.’” Another reported receiving this missive: “The author’s last name sounds Spanish. I didn’t read the manuscript because I’m sure it’s full of bad English.”

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