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

Flying Blind – the Australian Health Data Series: Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) (Nadia Levin | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 17, 2020

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

In our previous blog, The Ethics Quagmire: Case Studies you might have read the case study by Kathy Tannous concerning the difficulties she has faced getting ethics approval from three ethics committees. But are there problems closer to home for researchers, in their own institutions, even when only one HREC is involved? We think so. But the solution may also lie with these institutions, in the better application of existing guidelines. We explain how below.

A set of three reports that make useful observations about health data management/sharing, research ethics review and the operation of HRECs.

Earlier this year, the Productivity Commission handed the Australian Government its report on Data Availability and Use and Research Australia is working with the Taskforce within the Prime Minister’s Department who is developing the Government’s response. A particular area of focus for us, as the national peak body for the medical research pipeline, is the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs).

HRECs are responsible for providing ethics approval for most publicly funded human research in Australia that involves people; the research can’t proceed without it. This includes research as diverse as a clinical trial, where patients are receiving experimental new medications and treatments, to surveys and research using existing datasets- the types of data based research considered by the Productivity Commission.

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Flying Blind – the Australian Health Data Series: The Ethics Quagmire: Case Studies (Uma Srinivasan | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 17, 2020

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

In Flying Blind 2, we have been highlighting the tortuous route of the researcher’s journey, as they negotiate the ethics processes and the myriad data sources required for their research. In the next few blogs, Australian health and medical researchers who have been through the journey, present real-life case studies and  back-of-the-envelope calculations of what it takes to identify existing data sets and negotiating the ethics processes, to link the data sets to support their research.

What is sad for Australian health research is that these numbers do not reflect reseachers’ time spent in actually performing research!

We hope the case studies will shine a light on the complexities and the lack of efficiency and transparency around tapping into de-identified pre-existing administrative data sets from multiple states and federal health data sources.

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The Repetition Compulsion – Inside Higher Ed (Scott McLemee | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 16, 2020

Scott McLemee explores various scholars’ rationales for self-plagiarism.

Last spring the American Society for Engineering Education’s magazine Prism ran an opinion piece titled “Plagiarism Is Not a Victimless Crime” by Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. It ended with an admonishment to scholarly editors and publishers: “Exposing plagiarists without implementing an unforgiving policy (punishment) that terminates the practice is to do nothing.” So far, so punitive. But in an interesting detour, Bejan threw down the gauntlet at publishers who “playact as enemies of plagiarism” by accusing authors of “self-plagiarism” when they recycle portions of their own work.

“The term is nonsense,” Bejan wrote. “One does not steal from oneself; one owns what one creates. Accusing the creative author of self-plagiarism is like accusing Picasso, Matisse and Brancusi of thievery because they sold many pieces of art that looked like their own art from a few years back.” The first part of his complaint — what we might call the argument from oxymoronicism — is sure to be raised whenever the concept of self-plagiarism comes up.

Less familiar, perhaps, is the notion of self-copying as one of the privileges of creativity. Bejan may be responding to an essay by David Goldblatt called “Self-Plagiarism” (the top JSTOR search result on the topic by relevance) that appeared in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism in 1984. Goldblatt’s understanding of originality is stringent, almost punishing. Artists who “ride on the coattails of their previous successes” — who “mak[e] no aesthetic progress” and resort to “insignificantly repeating features that have been created at some other time, even if those features were created by the artist him or herself” — are guilty of “enjoying the status of ‘artist’ when that status has expired.” Aesthetic progress, it seems, is a jealous god, and vengeful in his wrath. Bejan’s remarks on Picasso et al. seem a lot more generous.

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When it comes to good practice in science, we need to think global but act local – Nature (Editorial | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 15, 2020

International codes of conduct are important, but grass-roots efforts are the key to embedding research integrity.

When it comes to research integrity, scientists use the language of aspiration, whereas policymakers talk about hard rules and enforcement.

An excellent discussion about a useful approach institutions can take to research integrity.  Also see the discussion about The Embassy of Good Science) discussed here:

That’s one conclusion from an in-depth analysis of published research and policy documents in research integrity (S. P. J. M. Horbach and W. Halffman Sci. Eng. Ethics 23, 1461–1485; 2017). There are other disconnects, too. Countries, disciplines and sectors often approach integrity in different ways. For some, it can be confined to preventing data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. But integrity is much broader, encompassing quality and relevance, as well as recognition of diversity and inclusion.

The need for a unified approach is slowly gaining recognition. The World Science Forum, a biennial meeting of researchers and policymakers from different countries, issued a declaration at its November conference in Budapest that called for, among other things, “harmonisation and enforcement of standards of conduct of scientific research across borders and across public and private research”. The declaration also supported processes by which scientists “can report suspected research misconduct and other irresponsible research practices, without fear of reprisal”, and it urged clearer procedures for responding to such concerns.

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