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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Weakened code risks Australia’s reputation for research integrity – The Conversation (David Vaux, et al | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 29, 2018

In 2018, Australia still does not have appropriate measures in place to maintain research integrity. And recent changes to our code of research conduct have weakened our already inadequate position.

We agree there needs to be strong central facilitation of both good practice and oversight of the substance of review decisions. There is no clear way for issues to be shared across the sector. Within the national framework we have, institutions must establish robust arrangements that are transparent and effective – there must be an investment in the culture of research practice.

In contrast, China’s recent move to crack down on academic misconduct moves it into line with more than twenty European countries, the UK, USA, Canada and others that have national offices for research integrity.
Australia risks its reputation by turning in the opposite direction.|
For science to progress efficiently, and to remain credible, we need good governance structures, and as transparent and open a system as possible. Measures are needed to identify and correct errors, and to rectify misbehaviour.
In Australia, one such measure is the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. But recently published revisions of this code allow research integrity to be handled internally by institutions, and investigations to be kept secret. This puts at risk the hundreds of millions of dollars provided by the taxpayer to fund research.


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Rules for authorship must be clarified – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 22, 2018

Recently, I wrote a post on honorary authorships in the academia. When I in that post tried to render the ICMJE criteria for academic authorship, I felt dull since I could not figure out how to express in my own words the fourth criterion:

When national bodies and institutions are thinking about articulating their criteria for authorship this is a useful read. We have included links to a dozen or so other useful authorship reads.

”Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.”

To count as an author of an academic publication, it is not sufficient to contribute to the research, to drafting or revising the intellectual content of the text, and to approve the final version. You must also satisfy this fourth criterion, which has to do with responsibility for research misconduct.

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The Dying Scientist and his Rogue Vaccine Trial – Wired (Amanda Schaffer | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 18, 2018

Bill Halford was convinced he’d found a miracle cure, but he was running out of time to prove it. So he teamed up with a Hollywood executive and recruited a band of desperate patients.

IN A PHOTO from 2009, Bill Halford, who was then 40 years old, looks like a schoolboy who hasn’t quite grown into his big ears. He wears an ill-fitting red shirt tucked into belted khakis; his jawline is square and his eyes are full of wonder. The picture was taken at Southern Illinois University, where he was a respected professor. A few years before, he had made a significant discovery—one that would determine the course of his life.

Halford, a microbiologist, had taken an interest in the peculiar nature of herpes—how it lies dormant in the nervous system and reactivates to cause disease. Herpes is one of the most pervasive viral infections in the world, sometimes causing painful genital blisters, and it has frustrated scientists attempting to find a cure. But in 2007, Halford realized that a weakened form of the virus he’d been studying might serve as a vaccine. He designed an experiment in which he inoculated mice with this variant, then exposed them to the wild-type form of the virus. In 2011 he published the results: Virtually all the mice survived. By contrast, animals that were not injected with his vaccine died in large numbers. It was promising science.

That same year, however, Halford became seriously ill. At first he thought he had a sinus infection, but it turned out to be a rare and aggressive form of cancer, sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. Halford was 42 years old at the time, with two teenage children. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation followed by surgery, but he was told that the form of cancer he had did not usually stay at bay for long. Halford had always been determined—“a 90-hours-a-week sort of researcher,” as his wife, Melanie Halford, puts it. The cancer diagnosis only seemed to harden his focus. Others had tried, and failed, to develop a herpes vaccine, but Halford was convinced that his method—using a live, attenuated form of the virus—would succeed. He would use whatever time he had left to show he was right.

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Paper Accepted…Unless the Letter Was Forged – Scholarly Kitchen (Angela Cochran | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 15, 2018

Predation. It’s discussed all the time. Predatory journals are scamming unsuspecting authors by promising quick publication, and low, low fees to a never-heard-of-before open access journal. Alternatively, it may be true that some authors are the ones taking advantage of low cost OA in order to push through shoddy work and get credit for it. Conferences are another headache. Researchers attend conferences to get their work published and to network. There is no shortage of conferences promising to do just that only for attendees to realize when they get there that all is not what was advertised. In fact, a new website with a familiar name is offering attendees help in identifying these conferences.

Another scam seems to be taking hold in certain parts of the world. Over the last 5 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has become aware of seven fake acceptance letters for our journals. Here’s how this goes:

An author contacts us and says, “Thank you for accepting my paper. Your letter said that the paper would be in the December issue but I looked and it’s not there. Please inform me of the new publication date.”

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