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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(China) Ideological ‘rectification’ hits social sciences research – University World News (Yojana Sharma | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 15, 2019
 

Social sciences research in China, not as well funded in the past as the hard sciences, is undergoing an even further narrowing so that research more closely serves the purposes of the state, experts have said, with some going as far as to say social sciences in China have undergone political rectification under Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

As part of China’s control over the intelligentsia, there has been greater focus on moulding the social sciences, including law, economics, political science, sociology and ethnic studies, to be politically correct, according to Carl Minzner, professor of law at Fordham University, New York, and an expert on Chinese law and politics.

“In the past four or five years they [the Chinese leadership] have been in an effort to politically sanitise the social sciences in China,” Minzner told University World News. “They were worried that they had lost control over the narrative, and that there were too many critical voices emerging within university classrooms in China.”

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(China) Five ways China must cultivate research integrity – Nature (Li Tang | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 14, 2019
 

A swift increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct; it is time to seize solutions.

How researchers in China behave has an impact on the global scientific community. With more than four million researchers, China has more science and technology personnel than any other nation. In 2008, it overtook the United Kingdom in the number of articles indexed in the Web of Science, and now ranks second in the world. In 2018, China published 412,000 papers.

But China also produces a disproportionate number of faked peer reviews and plagiarized or fraudulent publications. Its share of retracted papers is around three times that expected from its scientific output (see ‘Outsized retractions’).

The past few years have witnessed high-profile cases of faked peer reviews, image manipulations and authorships for sale, some involving prominent Chinese scientists. In May last year, China asked two groups to foster research integrity and manage misconduct cases: its Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) . In November 2018, 41 national government agencies endorsed a set of 43 penalties for major academic misconduct. These range from terminating grants to restricting academic promotion and revoking business licences. This year, the government issued a foundational document to promote the scientific enterprise and foster a culture of academic integrity1.

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The science institutions hiring integrity inspectors to vet their papers – Nature (Alison Abbott | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 13, 2019
 

Some researchers have their manuscripts screened for errors before they go to journals

On 15 June 2017, scientists at a respected biological institute in Germany were thrown into crisis by an alarming announcement. An investigation into the Leibniz Institute on Aging had found that its director, cell biologist Karl Lenhard Rudolph, had published eight papers with data errors, including improperly edited or duplicated parts of images.

A novel approach that research institutions should seriously consider before finding themselves in the same situation as the Leibniz Institute on Aging.

Investigators didn’t find deliberate fraud, but Rudolph wasn’t able to present original data to explain the problems. The Leibniz Association, which runs the institute in Jena and had commissioned the probe, concluded that Rudolph hadn’t supervised his lab group properly, and so was guilty of “grossly negligent scientific misconduct”. It applied the strictest sanctions it could, barring the institute from applying for research funding from the association while under Rudolph’s leadership for three years. It also ordered the centre to undergo an international review, even though the last one had been completed only a couple of years earlier. Rudolph resigned as director.
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It was the second calamity in a year for the centre, which is also known as the Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI). Police had raided it in 2016 after allegations that the centre had violated European regulations on animal experiments. The experiments were suspended, and although the FLI was cleared of the allegations, not all of the experiments had been re-authorized when the Rudolph affair broke. “The second crisis sent us into shock — it seemed more personal,” says molecular geneticist Christoph Englert, a group leader at the FLI, which employs 270 scientists. Most researchers at the centre hadn’t even known their director was under investigation.
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(China) China’s Genetic Research on Ethnic Minorities Sets Off Science Backlash – New York Times (By Sui-Lee Wee and Paul Mozur | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 12, 2019
 

Scientists are raising questions about the ethics of studies backed by Chinese surveillance agencies. Prestigious journals are taking action.

BEIJING — China’s efforts to study the DNA of the country’s ethnic minorities have incited a growing backlash from the global scientific community, as a number of scientists warn that Beijing could use its growing knowledge to spy on and oppress its people.

Two publishers of prestigious scientific journals, Springer Nature and Wiley, said this week that they would re-evaluate papers they previously published on Tibetans, Uighurs and other minority groups. The papers were written or co-written by scientists backed by the Chinese government, and the two publishers want to make sure the authors got consent from the people they studied.

Springer Nature, which publishes the influential journal Nature, also said that it was toughening its guidelines to make sure scientists get consent, particularly if those people are members of a vulnerable group.

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