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Trump’s science adviser on research ethics, immigration and presidential tweets – Science (Sara Reardon | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 18, 2019
 

Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.

When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited an office that had been without a leader for two years — and became the top science adviser to President Donald Trump.

Trump’s push to cut government spending on research, and his policies on issues such as immigration, have caused controversy in science. Nature spoke to Droegemeier in mid-April — two months into his tenure — about these policies, his plans and what it’s like to work with the president. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The number of OSTP staff dropped precipitously during Trump’s first two years in office. What is the situation now?

The lights were definitely on, and there was a lot of work actually getting done. We have people cycle through. Some of them are on detail for a year, so there’s kind of a constant refresh. I have brought additional people on board in some of the areas that I’m going to be working on a little bit more.

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Cabell’s Predatory Journal Blacklist: An Updated Review – Scholarly Kitchen (Rick Anderson | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 15, 2019
 

A couple of years ago, I published in The Kitchen a review of what was then a new product: Cabell’s Blacklist, a directory of journals that are published using questionable, suspicious, or objectively deceitful and dishonest strategies. The Blacklist was designed to take the place of the controversial Beall’s List, which had recently shut down after being operated out of the library office of Jeffrey Beall for about five years. Beall’s List had offered a mixed bag of benefits and problems from the start, and Cabell’s (publisher of a long-respected serials directory) sought to create a more rigorous and consistent version of the same service.

We have written previously about the limitations of black and whites lists (see further reading). Even though this sounds like a promising fee-for-service tool, researchers should continue to engage in due-diligence when considering a publisher.

A very quick summary for those who may — against all odds — still be blissfully unaware of what terms like “predatory publishing or “deceptive publishing” refer to: what are commonly called predatory publishers are those who lie about their business practices for the purpose of attracting paying authors. These journals misrepresent themselves with regard to, for example, editorial board members (claiming people as editors without permission), peer review practices (falsely claiming to provide meaningful peer review), impact metrics (mostly by lying about their Journal Impact Factor), organizational affiliations (usually claiming a relationship with a nonexistent organization), etc. The common feature of all such journals is that instead of rigorously evaluating and vetting submitted articles, they will instead publish anything submitted as long as the author is willing to pay an article processing charge (APC). By injecting non-vetted content into the scholarly and scientific marketplace and misrepresenting it as peer-reviewed science, these journals contaminate and undermine both the legitimacy and the trustworthiness of scholarly discourse.
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Thus, the introduction of Cabell’s Blacklist in 2017 was a welcome development. It promised a tool that can be used by authors needing help deciding where to publish, by academics and other employers seeking to check the legitimacy of job applicants’ claimed applications or editorial board memberships, or anyone else interested in monitoring the behavior of deceptive publishers. And for those who question the necessity of such a tool, it’s worth noting that Cabell’s Blacklist currently includes almost 12,000 journals — and its list of titles under consideration for inclusion in the Blacklist comes to over 1,000 more.
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Aboriginal genome analysis comes to grips with ethics – Nature (Ewen Callaway | September 2011)0

Posted by Admin in on May 12, 2019
 

Sequencing effort provides a model for future studies of museum samples.

En route from Sydney to Perth, Australia, in the early 1920s, British ethnologist Alfred Cort Haddon acquired a tuft of human hair from a young Aboriginal man. He added it to his sizeable collection of hair from people living around the world.

Ninety years later, those locks have yielded the first complete genome sequence of an Aboriginal Australian, and provided clues about the timing of human migrations from Africa to Asia1 (see ‘Early human explorers charted a bold course’). The work has also underscored the bioethical dilemmas involved in plumbing the genomes of indigenous populations — especially when the DNA comes from an archived specimen such as Haddon’s. “To be sequencing DNA from the hair of a deceased indigenous person is uncharted ethical territory,” says Emma Kowal, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Melbourne.

The genome project, led by Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen, received approval for the work from a group that represents Aboriginals in the region in which the man probably lived. But some scientists are jittery about how others in the Aboriginal community might receive the project, and worry that it could set back efforts to engage Aboriginals in genetic research. “In a sense, every Aboriginal Australian has had something about themselves revealed to the world without their consent,” says Hank Greely, who directs the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University in California.

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(US) Major U.S. cancer center ousts ‘Asian’ researchers after NIH flags their foreign ties – Science (Mara Hvistendahl | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 11, 2019
 

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The MD Anderson Cancer Center here has ousted three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, informed it that the scientists had committed potentially “serious” violations of agency rules involving confidentiality of peer review and the disclosure of foreign ties. The researchers are among five MD Anderson scientists that NIH cited in letters to the cancer center, which is part of the University of Texas (UT) system. MD Anderson officials say they invoked termination proceedings against three of the researchers, are still investigating allegations against one, and determined termination was not warranted for the fifth scientist.

The new developments are linked to a sweeping effort launched last year by NIH to address growing U.S. government fears that foreign nations, particularly China, are taking unfair advantage of federally funded research. NIH says its inquiries about the foreign ties of specific NIH-funded researchers have prompted at least 55 institutions to launch investigations. The cases at MD Anderson, which received $148 million in NIH funding in 2018, are the first publicly known instances where NIH’s inquiries appear to have led an institution to invoke termination proceedings against researchers judged to have violated the rules.

Cancer center officials have not named any of the five researchers. MD Anderson President Peter Pisters says all are “Asian”; Science has confirmed that three are ethnically Chinese. Several faced NIH inquiries about their ties to China, according to internal cancer center documents and NIH emails provided by MD Anderson to the Houston Chronicle and reviewed by Science. Those documents also show that MD Anderson has been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for several years on undisclosed national security investigations, which included searches of faculty email accounts and in one instance, video surveillance. Those investigations could be linked to the recent departures and to the NIH letters; MD Anderson had put at least one faculty member named by NIH on leave in December 2017, months before NIH sent its letter and 1 week after FBI gained access to several MD Anderson network accounts.

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