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

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesResearch Misconduct

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Retraction Watch: We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.0

Posted by Admin in on October 27, 2018

Readers, this is a big day for us.

We’re officially launching the Retraction Watch Database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package of stories and infographics based on it that we developed with our partners at Science Magazine. In that package, you’ll learn about trends — some surprising, some perhaps not — and other tidbits such as which countries have the highest retraction rates. Thanks as always to our partners at Science, particularly Jeffrey Brainard and Jia You, who crunched the numbers and developed the package.

We think this is wonderful news because the database will be of great assistance to researchers of all experience levels. We know collaborating with someone with a previous retraction can be costly and citing a retracted paper is unwise, but finding reliable information hasn’t always been easy. We recommend this service for inclusion in your research integrity resources and professional development material.  Full disclosure: AHRECS proudly sponsor Retraction Watch

As readers no doubt know, we’ve been working on the database for some years. Some have asked us why it has taken so long — can’t we just pull retractions from existing databases like PubMed, or publishers’ sites? The answer is resoundingly no. All of those databases are missing retractions, whether by design or because notices aren’t transmitted well. That’s why we found more than 18,000, far more than you’ll find elsewhere. And we also went through each one and assigned it a reason, based on a detailed taxonomy we developed over eight years of reporting on retractions.
Now that you know how much work the database is, please consider thanking Alison Abritis, our researcher, who has done the lion’s share of the work on this project. She had some help — see below — but without Alison’s expertise and painstaking efforts, we wouldn’t have a database. And true to form, Alison has created an exhaustive user’s guide that we would strongly urge you to review if you’re planning to use the database for anything other than simple searches.

Read the rest of this notice
Access the database

Austrian agency shows how to tackle scientific misconduct – Nature (Editorial | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 22, 2018

A decade on from a major academic scandal, officials there have got their act together.

Many countries are trying to clamp down on scientific misconduct. Last week, the UK government promised to look into setting up an independent body to oversee institutional investigations into research misconduct, and the Netherlands has revamped its research-integrity code. Last month, India said it would crack down on widespread academic plagiarism. And earlier this year, Chinese officials pledged to get tough on academic fraud with new laws that include a dedicated government agency to police misconduct.

The problem is that much of this renewed political attention is not translating into meaningful action. High-profile cases of exposed malpractice continue to pile up, and surveys of researchers regularly confirm that poor behaviour is shockingly more common than many who promote the values of science might want to accept.

So it is promising to report from a meeting in Vienna last week that was held to celebrate ten years of the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity. The organization is not perfect, but it has much to be proud of. Its work shows what can be achieved given the requisite political will. And it reveals some of the problems that remain, in Austria and elsewhere. Officials in countries that are looking for ways to tackle misconduct should pay close attention.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

(US) Mount Sinai multiple sclerosis researcher admits to misconduct – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2018

A researcher who has received millions in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and who runs a lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has confessed to falsifying data in a 2014 paper.

Gareth John, who studies multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, “has expressed remorse for his actions,” according to a report released last week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity.

John falsified data in two different figures in a 2014 paper in Development, “Combinatorial actions of Tgfβ and Activin ligands promote oligodendrocyte development and CNS myelination,” according to the report. In one figure, a Western blot, he “removed the lower set of bands, reordered the remaining bands and used those bands to represent the actin control,” among other falsifications, and in another, he cut and pasted bands “onto a blank background and used those false bands to create a graph.”

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Code0

Posted by Admin in on October 8, 2018

The Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Investigation Guide) forms a critical part of Australia’s framework for research integrity, established by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the 2018 Code).

The Investigation Guide assists institutions to manage, investigate and resolve complaints about potential breaches of the 2018 Code by outlining a preferred model that can be implemented by institutions engaged in research, regardless of the size or type.

Developed jointly by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia, the Investigation Guide has broad applicability across all research disciplines.

The Investigation Guide should be read alongside the 2018 Code.

Additional resources

The Investigation Guide is one of the supplementary guides that will support the 2018 Code.  For further information please refer to the following webpage about the release of the 2018 Code.

Read the rest of this discussion piece