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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Australia) Skin cancer doctor in hot water after papers retracted – The Age (Liam Mannix and Tom Cowie | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 24, 2019
 

For most, sailing the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship is a relaxing escape. But skin cancer expert Professor Anthony Dixon was working. And a storm was about to hit the credibility of his research.

Over the 12-day cruise, the professor spent nine hours teaching doctors and nurses how to recognise skin cancer. A prominent educator, Professor Dixon has trained dozens of health professionals in his methods, many of them on cruise ships.

But two of his journal articles were about to be retracted after complaints from other cancer experts that they contained factual errors. Such retractions are considered rare and necessary to prevent inaccurate information being available to other practitioners.

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‘Misunderstanding of the academic rules’ leads to retraction of arthritis paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 19, 2019
 

A group of arthritis researchers in China have lost a 2019 paper which was effectively an English-language reprint of an earlier article in a Chinese journal. Two of the authors blamed a “misunderstanding of the academic rules” on the part of their colleagues for the duplication.

A painful reminder about language, multiple publications and mentoring.  This case also highlights the real problem we have with the publish at any price mentality that is so completely pervasive.

The article, “The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis,” appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. But, as the retraction notice explains, the work wasn’t original:
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We, the Editor and Publishers of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, have retracted the following article:
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H Sun, Y Wang, H Yao, L Wang, S Wu, Y Si, Y Meng, J Xu, Q Wang, X Sun & Z Li (2019). The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 48(5). DOI: 10.1080/03009742.2019.1574890.

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Contract cheating will erode trust in science – Nature (Tracey Bretag | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 13, 2019
 

To combat academic dishonesty, focus on educational systems and not just individual offenders, says Tracey Bretag.

Stories of students paying others to do their work come from all around the world. In the 2015 MyMaster scandal in Australia, hundreds of students who were enrolled in more than a dozen universities paid a total of at least Aus$160,000 (US$108,000) to a ‘service’ that provided ghost-written essays and responses to online tests. In 2018, YouTube stars on more than 250 channels received money for promoting a cheating service called EduBirdie. Similar companies have been uncovered in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists should not deceive themselves: they are not immune.

Part of a series that we call “KPI=Key Perverse Incentives”. Our current system aids and abets the worst behaviour rather than promoting scholarship for improving the world.

Academics call this ‘contract cheating’. My colleagues and I have assembled what is, to our knowledge, the largest data set on the topic — with responses from some 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers across 8 Australian universities. We found that roughly 6% of students have engaged in the practice; that most who cheat do so more than once; and that both post- and undergraduate students engage in it. Cheating is not new, but the proliferation of commercial, online services in the past 5–10 years has made it easier than ever.
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And cheating is becoming increasingly normal. Since the 1990s, universities around the world have reimagined themselves as commercial enterprises that promote educational ‘products’ to student ‘consumers’. In 2017, a commentator likened the brash marketing strategies of some UK universities to the advertising of shampoo, and hundreds of academic papers have openly criticized the ‘marketization’ of higher education. It’s no wonder students opt to take the most convenient route to an academic credential — just as they would shop around for any other deal. In our survey, more than one-third of teachers specifically blamed contract cheating on the commercialization of higher education.
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“Do we have the will to do anything about it?” James Heathers reflects on the Eysenck case – Retraction Watch (James Heathers | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 12, 2019
 

We have a tension about resolving inaccuracies in scientific documents when they’re past a certain age.

The Hans Eysenck’s case is a useful and fruitful case for talking about the societal impacts of research misconduct, and to talk about fabrication and conflicts of interest, but it should also be used as a prompt for a proportional response to breaches and our shared responsibilities with regard to research integrity.

Specifically, what should we do with old papers that are shown to be not just wrong, which is a fate that will befall most of them, but seriously misleading, fatally flawed, or overwhelmingly likely to be fabricated, i.e. when they reach the (very high) threshold we set for retraction?
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To my way of thinking, there are three components of this:
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(1) the continuing use of the documents themselves as citable objects in contemporary research – some research stays current and relevant, other research is consigned to obscurity, or is so completely superseded that it has no bearing on contemporary research whatsoever.
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(2) the profile of the authors – some authors of such documents are alive, famous, and have theories with contemporary relevance. Others are dead, obscure, and have theories which have no continuation in any other papers. Like it or not, these authors are treated differently.
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