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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Scientists reveal what they learnt from their biggest mistakes – Nature Index (Gemma Conroy | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 23, 2020

How retractions can be a way forward.

Be it a botched experiment or a coding error, mistakes are easily made but harder to handle, particularly if they find their way into a published paper.

Although retracting a paper due to an error may not seem a desirable career milestone, it is seen as important for building trust within the research community and upholding scientific rigor.

2017 study found that authors who retract their papers due to a mistake earn praise from peer-reviewers and other researchers for their honesty.

Below are four lessons from researchers who have retracted flawed papers.

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(China) Chinese scientist Li Ning gets 12 years in prison for embezzling US$4.3 million of government funds – South China Morning Post (Stephen Chen | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 14, 2020

  • Cloning expert and his colleague Zhang Lei from China Agricultural University in Beijing found guilty of moving funds to private firms the pair controlled
  • Court rejects claims money was moved to prevent a funding gap
A Chinese scientist arrested in 2014 for embezzling more than 34 million yuan (US$4.3 million) of research funds has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Another case that highlights how seriously China is taking research misconduct.

Dr Li Ning, an expert in cloning and former director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, was found guilty of illegally transferring the funds in the form of “investments” to several companies he controlled, though there was no evidence he spent any of the money on himself, the Intermediate People’s Court of Songyuan in northeast China’s Jilin province said in its verdict.

Li was also fined 3 million yuan, while his assistant, Dr Zhang Lei, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison and fined 200,000 yuan on the same charge.

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On the Willingness to Report and the Consequences of Reporting Research Misconduct: The Role of Power Relations (Papers: Serge P. J. M. Horbach, et al | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 11, 2020

While attention to research integrity has been growing over the past decades, the processes of signalling and denouncing cases of research misconduct remain largely unstudied. In this article, we develop a theoretically and empirically informed understanding of the causes and consequences of reporting research misconduct in terms of power relations. We study the reporting process based on a multinational survey at eight European universities (N = 1126). Using qualitative data that witnesses of research misconduct or of questionable research practices provided, we aim to examine actors’ rationales for reporting and not reporting misconduct, how they report it and the perceived consequences of reporting. In particular we study how research seniority, the temporality of work appointments, and gender could impact the likelihood of cases being reported and of reporting leading to constructive organisational changes. Our findings suggest that these aspects of power relations play a role in the reporting of research misconduct. Our analysis contributes to a better understanding of research misconduct in an academic context. Specifically, we elucidate the processes that affect researchers’ ability and willingness to report research misconduct, and the likelihood of universities taking action. Based on our findings, we outline specific propositions that future research can test as well as provide recommendations for policy improvement.

Horbach, S.P.J.M., Breit, E., Halffman, W. et al.  (2020) On the Willingness to Report and the Consequences of Reporting Research Misconduct: The Role of Power Relations. Science Engineering Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

(Taiwan) Researcher formerly of OSU and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica gets 10-year ban – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 6, 2020

After a 20-month investigation, Taiwan’s leading science institution has hit a former star cancer researcher with a 10-year ban for research misconduct.

Troubling news from Taiwan shows not even high flyers can evade the consequences if they are caught cheating.

Academia Sinica (AS) said its inquiry found that Ching-shih Chen, formerly a distinguished research fellow at the center, was guilty of fabricating or falsifying data in several of the nearly two dozen papers he’d published while affiliated with the institution from 2014 to 2018. AS said Chen was being directed to retract one of the affected papers and correct three others.

A 2018 article in the Taipei Times quoted an AS official, Henry Sun, saying that Chen, who resigned his post there that year, admitted that his staff had “beautified” his results and that he kept loose reins over this lab.

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