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

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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Friday afternoon’s funny – Protocol violation0

Posted by Admin in on June 9, 2017

Cartoon by Don Mayne

The enforcement of rules from a rulebook might be valid and helpful for sports (though we’d argue it frequently isn’t) but the fluid nature of a typical research project and the sheer volume of projects a typical research institution can have active at any moment means that a sanction/enforcement approach is rarely helpful, sustainable or efficient. That’s why we believe the resourcing reflective practice approach is a more constructive strategy.

Why do researchers commit misconduct? A new preprint offers some clues – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 7, 2017

“Why Do Scientists Fabricate And Falsify Data?” That’s the start of the title of a new preprint posted on bioRxiv this week by researchers whose names Retraction Watch readers will likely find familiar. Daniele Fanelli, Rodrigo Costas, Ferric Fang (a member of the board of directors of our parent non-profit organization), Arturo Casadevall, and Elisabeth Bik have all studied misconduct, retractions, and bias. In the new preprint, they used a set of papers from PLOS ONE shown in earlier research to have included manipulated images to test what factors were linked to such misconduct. The results confirmed some earlier work, but also provided some evidence contradicting previous findings. We spoke to Fanelli by email.

Retraction Watch (RW): This paper builds on a previous study by three of your co-authors, on the rate of inappropriate image manipulation in the literature. Can you explain how it took advantage of those findings, and why that was an important data set?

Daniele Fanelli (DF): The data set in question is unique in offering a virtually unbiased proxy of the rate of scientific misconduct. Most data that we have about misconduct comes either from anonymous surveys or from retracted publications. Both of these sources have important limitations. Surveys are by definition reports of what people think or admit to have done, and usually come from a self-selected group of voluntary respondents. Retractions result from complex sociological processes and therefore their occurrence is determined by multiple uncontrollable factors, such as the policies of retracting journals, the policies of the country in which authors are working, the level of scrutiny that a journal or a field is subject to, the willingness of research institutions to cooperate in investigations, etc.

Read the rest of this interview

They agreed to listen to a complaint about a paper. Then the harassment began – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on June 5, 2017

We receive our fair share of tips, and most are well-intentioned attempts to clean up the scientific literature. However, sometimes would-be critics can veer into personal attacks. As chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, Virginia Barbour has seen a lot. But nothing quite prepared her for being cyberbullied by someone the organisation had agreed to listen to when they raised a complaint about a published paper. In this guest post, Barbour tells the story of how COPE’s attempts to assist led to hundreds of harassing emails and unfounded accusations of a cover-up, which the complainant spread indiscriminately.

The AHRECS team know Ginny, respect her work and respect the contribution COPE makes to the research integrity sphere, so we found this account doubly concerning.

By its very nature, publication and research ethics often includes issues that are hard to resolve and it’s not uncommon for journals to receive concerns from individuals about specific papers. COPE has guidance for its members on what to do when they are contacted by such individuals. We urge and support editors and publishers in taking issues raised seriously. Nonetheless, such individuals (whether anonymous or not) can experience difficulties in getting their cases heard and, in rare and unusual cases, face extreme measures to silence them.
At COPE, we therefore also have a mechanism whereby readers can raise concerns about an issue in a COPE member journal, if the journal and publisher have not been able to resolve the issue. We have devoted increasing resources to this mechanism, even though is not the primary reason for which COPE was set up. As a membership organisation, COPE does not have regulatory authority over journals or publishers, but we can review the process the journal or publisher followed to determine if best practice was followed.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research0

Posted by Admin in on June 3, 2017

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

1.1 Introduction
The search for knowledge about ourselves and the world around us is a fundamental human endeavour. Research1 is a natural extension of this desire to understand and to improve the world in which we live, and its results have both enriched and improved our lives and human
society as a whole.

In order to maximize the quality and benefits of research, a positive research environment is required. For researchers, this implies duties of honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to the use of professional standards. For the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (the Agencies) and institutions that receive Agency funding, it calls for a commitment to foster and maintain an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

This RCR Framework sets out the responsibilities and corresponding policies for researchers, institutions, and the Agencies, that together help support and promote a positive research environment. It specifies the responsibilities of researchers with respect to research integrity, applying for funding, financial management, and requirements for conducting certain types of research, and defines what constitutes a breach of Agency policies. For institutions, it details the minimum requirements for institutional policies for addressing allegations of all types of policy breaches, and institutions’ responsibilities for promoting responsible conduct of research and reporting to the Agencies. This RCR Framework also sets out the process to be followed by them Agencies, and administered by the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR) and the Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research (PRCR), when addressing allegations of breaches of Agency policies

Canadian revision of RCR now out…
Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016)