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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Turning the tables: A university league-table based on quality not quantity (Papers: Adrian G. Barnett & David Moher | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 8, 2019
 

Abstract

Background:
Universities closely watch international league tables because these tables influence governments, donors and students. Achieving a high ranking in a table, or an annual rise in ranking, allows universities to promote their achievements using an externally validated measure. However, league tables predominantly reward measures of research output, such as publications and citations, and may therefore be promoting poor research practices by encouraging the “publish or perish” mentality.

Methods:
We examined whether a league table could be created based on good research practice. We rewarded researchers who cited a reporting guideline, which help researchers report their research completely, accurately and transparently, and were created to reduce the waste of poorly described research. We used the EQUATOR guidelines, which means our tables are mostly relevant to health and medical research. We used Scopus to identify the citations.

Results:
Our cross-sectional tables for the years 2016 and 2017 included 14,408 papers with 47,876 author affiliations. We ranked universities and included a bootstrap measure of uncertainty. We clustered universities in five similar groups in an effort to avoid over-interpreting small differences in ranks.

Conclusions:
We believe there is merit in considering more socially responsible criteria for ranking universities, and this could encourage better research practice internationally if such tables become as valued as the current quantity-focused tables.

Keywords
meta-research, research quality, research reporting, league tables

Barnett, A.G. and Moher D. Turning the tables: A university league-table based on quality not quantity [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2019, 8:583 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.18453.2)
Publisher (Open Access): https://f1000research.com/articles/8-583/v2

South Korea clamps down on academics attending ‘weak’ conferences – Nature (Mark Zastrow | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 7, 2019
 

A new policy will attempt to stop researchers travelling to meetings with little academic value.

South Korea’s education ministry wants to stop academics from participating in conferences that it considers “weak” and of little academic value. The ministry announced on 17 October that it will require all universities to adopt measures to vet academics’ travel to overseas conferences so as to “prevent researchers from engaging in poor academic activities”.

We applaud South Korea for this move.  We have seen reference to decidedly questionable events cropping up in the grant peer review processes we participate in. This adds further. to the work of panels and could seriously corrupt processes that are essential to good/safe practice and the prudent use of tax-payer monies.

The ministry’s order comes after a report that it released in May which found that 574 professors from 90 universities around the country had participated in conferences that it called “weak”.
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It is thought that some researchers knowingly elect to pay the fees to attend conferences of little value, or publish in low quality journals1 — some of which are considered ‘predatory’ — because they are a quick and easy way to add a publication or presentation to their CVs, or gain experience in presenting at international conferences.
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Changgu Lee, a materials scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, welcomes the oversight from the education authority. “Those who have lots of research money and want to have a vacation in a nice place without being bothered by academic responsibility attend those conferences,” he says.

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Where Research Meets Profits – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 6, 2019
 

Recent allegations of copyright violations against a professor who shared his own work on his website spark debate about ownership and whether peer reviewers should be paid.

Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.

So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.

In response, psychologists started a petition to the APA, saying that if it didn’t stop policing authors’ personal websites for the sharing of science, then it needed to pay peer reviewers $300 for each article review.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Data Management Expert Guide (Guidance: CESSDA | December 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on November 5, 2019
 

This guide is designed by European experts to help social science researchers make their research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

You will be guided by different European experts who are – on a daily basis – busy ensuring long-term access to valuable social science datasets, available for discovery and reuse at one of the CESSDA social science data archives.

Target audience and mission
This guide is written for social science researchers who are in an early stage of practising research data management. With this guide, CESSDA wants to contribute to professionalism in data management and increase the value of research data.

Overview
If you follow the guide, you will travel through the research data lifecycle from planning, organising, documenting, processing, storing and protecting your data to sharing and publishing them. Taking the whole roundtrip will take you approximately 15 hours, however you can also hop on and off at any time.

CESSDA Training Working Group (2017 – 2018). CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide.
Bergen, Norway: CESSDA ERIC. Retrieved from https://www.cessda.eu/DMGuide

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