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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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Geoscience society rescinds award to top seismologist after ethics investigation – Nature (Sara Reardon | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 10, 2018
 

The American Geophysical Union says it received a ‘conduct-related complaint’ against Thomas Jordan.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has quietly reversed a decision it made in 2017 to award its highest honour, the William Bowie Medal, to seismologist Thomas Jordan. The action came after an AGU investigation determined that Jordan, the former director of the Southern California Earthquake Center in Los Angeles, had violated the AGU’s ethics policy — which he disputes.

“Last fall AGU received a formal ethics complaint regarding the 2017 named Bowie Medalist’s fitness for AGU’s highest honor,” chief executive Christine McEntee wrote in an e-mail to the AGU Council on 3 May. “This was a conduct-related complaint.” According to the e-mail, obtained by Nature, the AGU Ethics Committee investigated the complaint and recommended that the organization’s board of directors not award the medal to Jordan; the board agreed.

Jordan appealed against the decision, as allowed by the AGU ethics policy, but the board ultimately decided in late April not to give him the award.

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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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Vulnerable patients – easy targets for companies willing to sacrifice ethics for profits – The Hill (Jody Lyneé Madeira | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 5, 2018
 

A small medical device has just become embroiled in a large controversy, suggesting violations of fundamental ethical norms and settled principles of scientific research.

Stories like this highlight why people living with a chronic medical condition (and their families) need to be discerning and cautious when it comes to glowing media reports about amazing new treatments.

At first glance, the Bridge — a neuro-modulation device that attaches behind the ear — resembles a hearing aid with wires. The Bridge received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance in November 2017 for easing opioid withdrawal symptoms during detoxification; before, it was approved only for acupuncture.
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This device is supposed to help patients get through the difficult opioid withdrawal process. It’s used in pilot programs in several states, available in at least one major Indiana hospital chain, and is starting to be covered by insurance.
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