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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Better Metadata Could Help Save The World! – Scholarly Kitchen (Alice Meadows | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 4, 2019

The title of this post may seem like a farfetched claim, however, no one can deny that we are currently faced with increasingly critical challenges — climate crisis, shrinking biodiversity, hunger, poverty, disease, and more. I think most of us would agree this means it’s essential for the research findings that could help address these challenges to be shared as quickly and widely as possible — and for the data behind those findings to be FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). And that means…metadata!

As a community, we have a collective responsibility for sharing research outputs, including their metadata. That’s why Metadata 2020 is so timely and important (disclaimer: I am co-chair of their Researcher Communications project group). This community-led initiative aims to improve metadata in order to enhance discoverability, encourage new services, create efficiencies, and — ultimately — accelerate scholarly research. Lofty goals, to be sure! Which means that to succeed in achieving them we need the support of everyone who is involved in creating, curating, and consuming metadata.

Per the FAIR principles, “Metadata and data should be easy to find for both humans and computers.  Machine-readable metadata are essential for automatic discovery of datasets and services.” Building on this, the Metadata 2020 project group on Best Practices and Principles has developed a set of draft principles, which were recently released for community comment. They state that for metadata to support the community, they should be:

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What universities can learn from one of science’s biggest frauds – Nature (Holly Else – June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 3, 2019

Detailed analysis of misconduct investigations into huge research fraud suggests institutional probes aren’t rigorous enough.

By day, Andrew Grey studies bone health. But over the past few years, he’s developed another speciality: the case of one of science’s most prolific fraudsters.

From 1996 to 2013, Yoshihiro Sato, a Japanese bone-health researcher plagiarized work, fabricated data and forged authorships — prompting retractions of more than 60 studies in the scholarly literature so far. Grey and colleagues at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Aberdeen, UK, are among the researchers who have raised concerns about Sato’s work over the past decade or so, and they have studied the case in detail — in particular, how universities involved in the research investigated concerns about his work and allegations of misconduct.

At the World Conference on Research Integrity in Hong Kong from 2 to 5 June, Grey’s team described its years-long efforts to clean up Sato’s literature, and presented its analysis of the inquiries conducted by four universities in Japan and the United States ensnared in the scandal (the team published its analysis of three investigations in a paper in February1). Grey says their findings provide evidence to support a growing view in the academic community: that university investigations into research misconduct are often inadequate, opaque and poorly conducted. They challenge the idea that institutions can police themselves on research integrity and propose that there should be independent organizations to evaluate allegations of research fraud should.

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Implementation of a responsible conduct of research education program at Duke University School of Medicine (Papers: Christian Simon, et al 02 June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 2, 2019

Academic medical centers rarely require all of their research faculty and staff to participate in educational programs on the responsible conduct of research (RCR). There is also little published evidence of RCR programs addressing high-profile, internal cases of misconduct as a way of promoting deliberation and learning. In the wake of major research misconduct, Duke University School of Medicine (DUSoM) expanded its RCR education activities to include all DUSoM faculty and staff engaged in research. The program included formal deliberation of the Translational Omics misconduct case, which occurred at Duke. Over 5,000 DUSoM faculty and staff participated in the first phase of this new program, with a 100% completion rate. The article reports on the program’s development, challenges and successes, and future directions. This experience at Duke University illustrates that, although challenging and resource intensive, engagement with RCR activities can be integrated into programs for all research faculty and staff. Formal, participatory deliberation of recent cases of internal misconduct can add a novel dimension of reflection and openness to RCR educational activities.

KEYWORDS: Responsible conduct of research, research integrity, RCR education, ethics education

Simon, C., Beerman, R.W., Ariansen, J.L., Kessler, D, Sanchez, A.M, King, K., Sarzotti-Kelsoe, M., Samsa, G. Bradley, A., Torres, L., Califf, R. & Swamy G.K. (2019) Implementation of a responsible conduct of research education program at Duke University School of Medicine. Accountability in Research, 26:5, 288-310, DOI: 10.1080/08989621.2019.1621755
Publisher (Open Access):

‘Search for inspiration’ lands too close to plagiarism, forcing retraction of grief paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 30, 2019

A pair of grief scholars in Denmark have lost a 2018 paper on ghostly apparitions after one of the researchers copied text from another article.

This is another unfortunate example of an author copying text (with the intention of replacing it later), forgetting to rewrite it and suffering a forced retraction.  A prompt to be careful of this is a useful inclusion in professional development activities.

The study, “How many bereaved people hallucinate about their loved one? A systematic review and meta-analysis of bereavement hallucinations,” appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders, an Elsevier publication. Authors Karina Stengaard Kamp and Helena Due — yes, a second author named Due — are with The Aarhus Bereavement Research Unit at Aarhus University.

As the retraction notice explains:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors.

After publication it came to their attention that parts of the wording especially in the last part of the discussion section (i.e., Methodological challenges and recommendation for future research, Strengths and limitations, and Conclusion) are too close to the cited manuscript (Lundorff et al., 2017). This mistake has sprung from the first author’s inexperience, and…


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