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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Queensland, Australia) Analysis challenges slew of studies claiming ocean acidification alters fish behavior – Scienced0

Posted by Admin in on January 11, 2020
 

Over the past decade, marine scientists published a series of studies warning that humanity’s burgeoning carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could cause yet another devastating problem. They reported that seawater acidified by rising CO2—already known to threaten organisms with carbonate shells and skeletons, such as corals—could also cause profound, alarming changes in the behavior of fish on tropical reefs. The studies, some of which made headlines, found that acidification can disorient fish, make them hyperactive or bolder, alter their vision, and lead them to become attracted to, rather than repelled by, the smell of predators. Such changes, researchers noted, could cause populations to plummet.

But in a Nature paper published today, researchers from Australia, Canada, Norway, and Sweden challenge a number of those findings. In a major, 3-year effort that studied six fish species, they could not replicate three widely reported behavioral effects of ocean acidification. The replication team notes that many of the original studies came from the same relatively small group of researchers and involved small sample sizes. That and other “methodological or analytical weaknesses” may have led the original studies astray, they argue.

“It’s an exceptionally thorough replication effort,” says Tim Parker, a biologist and an advocate for replication studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Marine scientist Andrew Esbaugh of the University of Texas, Austin, agrees that it’s “excellent, excellent work.”

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(India) PhD students to mandatorily learn about research and publication ethics – The Times of India (Sheetal Banchariya | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 7, 2020
 

UGC has made a two-credit course compulsory at the PhD level looking at the increasing cases of plagiarism and publication misconducts.

This is a great initiative, which is worthy of adoption across Australasia.  Such a tangible institutional investment in research integrity will yield excellent results and should be seen as an essential component of an institution’s research training agenda.

With an increase in researches, maintaining quality remains a concern for Indian universities. To introduce students to the basics of research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a two-credit course on research ethics and publication misconducts.
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All the PhD students will have to mandatorily pursue the 30-hour course from the academic session 2020-21. The course is divided into six units focussing on the basics of philosophy of science and ethics, research integrity, publication ethics and hands-on sessions to identify research misconducts and predatory publishers.

“In the last 15 years, the number of cases related to unethical practices such as plagiarism, pay and publish have increased. The course follows the management principle known as Corrective and Prevention Actions (CAPA), which will help students identify and stay away from the predatory publishers and dubious journals,” says Bhushan Patwardhan, vice chairman, UGC.

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(China/Gene) Chinese scientist who produced genetically altered babies sentenced to 3 years in jail – Science (Dennis Normile | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 5, 2020
 

He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who stunned the world last year by announcing he had helped produce genetically edited babies, has been found guilty of conducting “illegal medical practices” and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Given the degree of recklessness and premeditation, the lifetime health effects and that the genetic modifications are inheritable, some may feel an even harsher sentence would have been warranted.  Nevertheless, it is welcome to see the Chinese court impose large fines and prison sentences.

A court in Shenzhen found that He and two collaborators forged ethical review documents and misled doctors into unknowingly implanting gene-edited embryos into two women, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency. One mother gave birth to twin girls in November 2018; it has not been made clear when the third baby was born. The court ruled that the three defendants had deliberately violated national regulations on biomedical research and medical ethics, and rashly applied gene-editing technology to human reproductive medicine.
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All three pleaded guilty, according to Xinhua. The court also fined He, formerly of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and known as JK to friends and colleagues, 3 million Chinese yuan ($429,000). His collaborators were identified as Zhang Renli, of a medical institution in Guangdong province, and Qin Jinzhou, from a Shenzhen medical institution; Zhang received a 2-year prison sentence and was fined 1 million yuan, according to Xinhua, whereas Qin was given 18 months in prison with a 2-year reprieve, and a 500,000 yuan fine.
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Don’t let researchers recommend who reviews their work – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on January 3, 2020
 

Some funders and publishers call it unethical, for others, it’s par for the course.

Why do some other funders and scholarly publishers still allow researchers to suggest reviewers to evaluate their work?

The US National Science Foundation and the UK Research and Innovation — Britain’s central research funder — are among those who still consider recommended reviewers, even though the evidence is clear that using these referees leaves the process open to bias and misconduct.

Between 2012 and 2016, more than 500 papers were retracted for compromised, rigged, or faked peer review. This was largely due to authors giving fake email addresses for real experts or fabricating experts entirely when suggesting who would be fit to evaluate their work.

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