ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

How scientific publishers can end bullying and harassment in the sciences – Forbes (Ethan Siegel | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2018

When it comes to exploring the Universe, many young people get literally starry-eyed at the prospect. The cosmic story of what the Universe is, how it works, where it came from, what its fate is, and how it got to be this way, is a story we all have in common. Millions of children grow up wanting to be scientists; millions still pursue this dream in college and beyond. While some choose other fields or avenues for a variety of reasons, a great many people — particularly women and people of color — leave the field directly due to bullying and harassment. Enduring abuse shouldn’t be a required skill for a successful scientific career, and many people and organizations are working tirelessly to root out this systemic injustice.

Many have claimed that this is a complex problem with no easy solutions. But there is a simple solution right in front of us, for every field. If the publishers of scientific journals everywhere enforced a universal code of ethics — if you violate the code, you cannot publish your scientific work — systematic bullies and harassers would be eliminated from their fields. It’s a proposal that demands consideration.

In 2017, scientists conducted the largest, most comprehensive study ever of gendered and racial harassment in the fields of astronomy and planetary science. From the women who responded, 85% reported encountering sexist remarks, with 79% reporting sexist remarks from their peers and 44% reporting sexist remarks from their supervisors. Among all people of color, 68% experienced racist remarks, with 58% reporting racist remarks from their peers and 10% reporting it from their own supervisors. When the #astroSH hashtag trended on Twitter back in 2016, hundreds of stories emerged from people who were bullied and harassed, often to the point where they wound up leaving the field.

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Message from Professor Colin Thomson AM0

Posted by Admin in on August 10, 2018

Dear Colleague,

I hope this finds you well and my apologies for this unsolicited email. Hopefully you already know about Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS – and that I am one of its three senior consultants (along with Prof. Mark Israel and Dr Gary Allen).

If you don’t already know, the AHRECS site includes a freely available Resource Library of over 1200 papers, books, news and other resources relating to both human research ethics and to research integrity ( and is also home to the free Research Ethics Monthly (

We are currently finalising plans for two web-based 30-minute panel discussions to be held in November covering:

  1. implementing the 2018 edition of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and
  2. the updated National Statement.

The panels will both be moderated by one of AHRECS’ senior consultants and will include a nominee of the NHMRC.  We plan to also include a researcher, a research office staff member and a HREC Chair.  These live activities will be accessible free of charge and information on dates, times and how to join either or both of them will be available on the AHRECS website before the end of October.

We are using these live panel discussions to introduce and promote a subscription service designed to raise revenue to cover our costs for more of these activities. Modelled on the idea of patronage, where patrons choose the level of support with which they are comfortable, our new service will allow Australian subscriber/patrons to download vignettes and other material for use in their in-house professional development activities. We expect to be adding at least one item to this area every month together with commentary on major breaking news and publications, as well as other exclusive information. We will put video copies of the panel discussions into the subscribers’ area.

We invite you to join this service.  Subscriptions start at USD1/month and USD15/month* grants access to all the material. This can be paid for using a credit card or PayPal account. After each payment we can provide an invoice showing it as paid (for accounting purposes)

Please consider visiting to subscribe.

Kind regards,

Prof. Colin Thomson AM

* The amount is in US dollars because we are using a US service provider to host our subscribers’ area. On current exchange rates this equate to just over $20 per month.

These Professors Don’t Work for a Predatory Publisher. It Keeps Claiming They Do – The Chronicle of Higher Education (Emma Pettit | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 8, 2018

The emails came often enough for Thomas L. Traynor to save a generic response on his computer: Dear _______, your suspicions are correct. The journal to which you’ve submitted is a fraud.

The practices of illegitimate publishers never cease to amaze and can seem impossible to deal with, especially when experienced researchers have to establish their own website to set the record straight.

Years ago, Traynor, an interim dean and economics professor at Wright State University, learned that a journal was misusing his name online. On its website, the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science lists a range of scholars, including Traynor, on its editorial and international advisory boards.

But Traynor and other supposed board members contacted by The Chronicle said they’ve never been associated with the publication, nor did they grant it permission to use their names. A few have spent years attempting and failing to correct it. All the while, emails have trickled in to their inboxes from disgruntled submitters of papers, asking where their money went or why the edits were so paltry.

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Also see the purported Editor-in-Chief of the predatory journal created a website:

Repeat Offenders: When Scientific Fraudsters Slip Through the Cracks – Undark (Alison McCook | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 6, 2018

Balancing due process with the academic community’s right to know is no easy task, but critics say more could be done to weed out bad actors.

SOMETIME AFTER 2010 — he isn’t exactly sure when — Richard Miller, a professor of pathology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, looked up a former faculty member who had worked in his lab on the popular government research database, Medline. When he saw that the researcher, Ricky Malhotra, was publishing new work out of the University of Chicago, Miller said he was “surprised and upset.” That’s because he knew something about Malhotra that he bet Malhotra’s new employers didn’t.

The issues at play here are far from easy, especially during an active investigation where the guilt of a person hasn’t been determined, but the damage (and for some areas of research the very real peril to the community) should prompt a discussion of what to do when a cheat/bad researcher changes institution.

If someone had called Miller to discuss his former mentee, he could have told them Malhotra left his lab — which focuses on the genetics of aging — after confessing to fabricating data. It wasn’t a minor case: In 2007, Malhotra admitted to performing 60 percent or less of the approximately 80 experiments expected from him, among other infractions.

But no one called Miller, and now that he knew Malhotra was conducting research at another institution, he was torn. On the one hand, he thought “it would be good for the scientific community to call the University of Chicago and tell them what was going on,” Miller said. At the same time, the University of Michigan was still conducting an investigation of Malhotra’s misdeeds there, and that investigation was confidential. “I wasn’t sure,” Miller said, “how to reconcile those two separate obligations.”

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