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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Russia) Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up – The Washington Post (Robyn Dixon | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 7, 2020
 

MOSCOW — Eight years ago, President Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia must become a leading scientific power. That meant at least five top-100 Russian universities by 2020, and a dramatic increase in the number of global citations of Russian scientific papers.

A ‘good’ example of how a top-down edict for more high exposure research performance, without at the same time investing in research culture, is a recipe for disaster.

Now a group at the center of Putin’s aspirations, the Russian Academy of Sciences, has dropped a bombshell into the plans. A commission set up by the academy has led to the retraction of at least 869 Russian scientific articles, mainly for plagiarism.
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“This is the largest retraction in Russian scientific history. Never before have hundreds of papers been retracted,” said Andrei Zayakin, scientific secretary of the RAS Commission for Countering the Falsification of Scientific Research. “Before two years ago, there might have been single cases, but not even dozens.”
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Tell it like it is – Nature Human Behaviour (Editorial | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 2, 2020
 

Every research paper tells a story, but the pressure to provide ‘clean’ narratives is harmful for the scientific endeavour.

Research manuscripts provide an account of how their authors addressed a research question or questions, the means they used to do so, what they found and how the work (dis) confirms existing hypotheses or generates new ones. The current research culture is characterized by significant pressure to present research projects as conclusive narratives that leave no room for ambiguity or for conflicting or inconclusive results.

We have seen this in grant applications where, in several instances, the applicants almost deliberately ignored work of others that contradicted their hypotheses or findings rather than to place their own work in context.

The pressure to produce such clean narratives, however, represents a significant threat to validity and runs counter to the reality of what science looks like.
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Prioritizing conclusive over transparent research narratives incentivizes a host of questionable research practices: hypothesizing after the results are known, selectively reporting only those outcomes that confirm the original predictions or excluding from the research report studies that provide contradictory or messy results. Each of these practices damages credibility and presents a distorted picture of the research that prevents cumulative knowledge.
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What To Do When You Don’t Trust Your Data Anymore – Laskowski Lab at UC Davis (January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 1, 2020
 

Science is built on trust. Trust that your experiments will work. Trust in your collaborators to pull their weight. But most importantly, trust that the data we so painstakingly collect are accurate and as representative of the real world as they can be.

An important story and lessons about collaborative research, correcting the record and data management.

And so when I realized that I could no longer trust the data that I had reported in some of my papers, I did what I think is the only correct course of action. I retracted them.
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Retractions are seen as a comparatively rare event in science, and this is no different for my particular field (evolutionary and behavioral ecology), so I know that there is probably some interest in understanding the story behind it. This is my attempt to explain how and why I came to the conclusion that these papers needed to be removed from the scientific record.
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(China) Publishers urged to take stronger stance on Uighur persecution – Times Higher Education (Ellie Bothwell | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on January 30, 2020
 

Scholars say ensuring vulnerable minorities have given consent to use of their data does not go far enough

Academics are pushing journal publishers to take more drastic action in response to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims in the wake of increasing scrutiny over the global science community’s role in the continued persecution.

There have been rising concerns over Western journals’ publication of papers focusing on the DNA of minority ethnic groups by Chinese scientists affiliated with the country’s surveillance agencies.

More than 1 million Uighurs and other members of predominantly Muslim minority groups are believed to have been locked up in internment camps and there are worries that this research is being used to build databases, facial recognition systems and other methods for monitoring these groups.

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