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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Australia Queensland case) Universal Medicine research conducted by devotees won’t be pulled by Queensland uni – ABC (Josh Robertson | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 25, 2019

A top Australian university has stood by studies into the health benefits of a group that a jury found was a “dangerous cult” making false healing claims, despite its own medical researchers failing to disclose they were devotees.

The investigation finding, as reported by the ABC, isn’t the most bewildering/troubling element of this case – but it’s pretty close.

A 10-month investigation by the University of Queensland (UQ) has cleared the researchers of academic misconduct despite finding they did not fully detail their involvement with Universal Medicine (UM).

The studies were published in overseas journals and explored the benefits of UM treatments including “esoteric breast massage” and proposed clinical studies in Vietnamese hospitals that would be forbidden in Australia.

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A decade of empirical research on research integrity: what have we (not) looked at? (Papers: Noémie Aubert Bonn & Wim Pinxten | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 20, 2019

In the past decades, increasing visibility of research misconduct scandals created momentum for discourses on research integrity to such an extent that the topic became a field of research itself. Yet, a comprehensive overview of research in the field is still missing. Here we describe methods, trends, publishing patterns, and impact of a decade of research on research integrity.

To give a comprehensive overview of research on research integrity, we first systematically searched SCOPUS, Web of Science, and PubMed for relevant articles published in English between 2005 and 2015. We then classified each relevant article according to its topic, several methodological characteristics, its general focus and findings, and its citation impact.

We included 986 articles in our analysis. We found that the body of literature on research integrity is growing in importance, and that the field is still largely dominated by non-empirical publications. Within the bulk of empirical records (N=342), researchers and students are most often studied, but other actors and the social context in which they interact, seem to be overlooked. The few empirical articles that examined determinants of misconduct found that problems from the research system (e.g., pressure, competition) were most likely to cause inadequate research practices. Paradoxically, the majority of empirical articles proposing approaches to foster integrity focused on techniques to build researchers’ awareness and compliance rather than techniques to change the research system.

Our review highlights the areas, methods, and actors favoured in research on research integrity, and reveals a few blindspots. Involving non-researchers and reconnecting what is known to the approaches investigated may be the first step to generate executable knowledge that will allow us to increase the success of future approaches.

Bonn, N.A. & Pinxten, W. (2019) A decade of empirical research on research integrity: what have we (not) looked at? bioRxiv. 567263; doi:
Publisher (Open Access):

The CRISPR-baby scandal: what’s next for human gene-editing – Nature (David Cyranoski | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 12, 2019

As concerns surge after a bombshell revelation, here are four questions about this fast-moving field.

In the three months since He Jiankui announced the birth of twin girls with edited genomes, the questions facing the scientific community have grown knottier.

By engineering mutations into human embryos, which were then used to produce babies, He leapt capriciously into an era in which science could rewrite the gene pool of future generations by altering the human germ line. He also flouted established norms for safety and human protections along the way.

There is still no definitive evidence that the biophysicist actually succeeded in modifying the girls’ genes — or those of a third child expected to be born later this year. But the experiments have attracted so much attention that the incident could alter research for years to come.

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The Fraud Finder: A conversation with Elisabeth Bik – The Last Word on Nothing (Sally Adee | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 10, 2019

When you think of plagiarism, poems and books probably spring to mind more easily than, say, scientific papers. And words more easily than images. But plagiarism is not uncommon in science papers, and it often takes the form of images fiddled with and grafted from elsewhere. Whether they’re a consequence of laziness or a desire to mislead, these have played a role in the replication crisis many disciplines are now facing.

It’s a lot more difficult to detect plagiarism and fraud in scientific images than in written text. And even when you have irrefutable proof of wrongdoing, there are some surprising barriers to holding its authors to account. Nonetheless, some people are up to the task.

Meet Elisabeth Bik: by day, a mild-mannered director of science at a microbiome startup. By night (and on weekends), she takes to the internet and sifts through the scientific literature for the subtle visual fingerprints of misconduct. She has identified more than a thousand fraudulent images, and her work has led at least one journal to change the way it screens submissions. Her work has been featured several times by Retraction Watch, a blog that flays scientific malfeasance*.

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