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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2020

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.

An earlier report of a single retraction leads to an avalanche and research misconduct investigations.

Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies.

Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data.

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Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings (TRUST Resource | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 11, 2020

Access by researchers to any biological or agricultural resources, human biological materials, traditional knowledge, cultural artefacts or non-renewable.

A useful TRUST resource to guide international research (of any discipline) that is conducted in poor settings. The resource includes 18 articles.

Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings. This Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings counters ethics dumping by: providing guidance across all research disciplines. presenting clear, short statements in simple language to achieve the highest possible accessibility.

ThisGlobalCodeofConductforResearchin Resource-Poor Settings counters ethics dumping by:

• Providing guidance across all research disciplines

Access the resource

(Russia) Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up – The Washington Post (Robyn Dixon | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 7, 2020

MOSCOW — Eight years ago, President Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia must become a leading scientific power. That meant at least five top-100 Russian universities by 2020, and a dramatic increase in the number of global citations of Russian scientific papers.

A ‘good’ example of how a top-down edict for more high exposure research performance, without at the same time investing in research culture, is a recipe for disaster.

Now a group at the center of Putin’s aspirations, the Russian Academy of Sciences, has dropped a bombshell into the plans. A commission set up by the academy has led to the retraction of at least 869 Russian scientific articles, mainly for plagiarism.

“This is the largest retraction in Russian scientific history. Never before have hundreds of papers been retracted,” said Andrei Zayakin, scientific secretary of the RAS Commission for Countering the Falsification of Scientific Research. “Before two years ago, there might have been single cases, but not even dozens.”

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Competition drives researchers to counselling – and exit door – Times Higher Education (Jack Grove | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 5, 2020

Poll of 4,000 researchers reveals half have sought or wanted help for mental health problems, and four in 10 are victims of bullying or harassment

Half of researchers have sought or wanted professional help to deal with anxiety or depression, according to a landmark survey that blames competition and targets for creating an “aggressive” culture of bullying and overwork.

Further to the item we posted yesterday, this item from the UK should give everyone pause.  The toxic work environment in research institutions have real consequences that we cannot ignore or dismiss.

Thirty-four per cent of the 4,000 researchers who completed the Wellcome Trust poll, most of whom were based in the UK, said that they had sought professional help for depression or anxiety during their research career, and a further 19 per cent had wanted to do so.

Women were more likely to have sought help than men, with 38 per cent having done so, compared with 25 per cent of males. Only 44 per cent of respondents agreed that their workplace offered adequate well-being support.

Among other findings, the survey, published on 15 January, reveals:

  • Forty-three per cent of respondents said that they had experienced bullying or harassment at work, with women more likely to be victims (49 per cent) than men (34 per cent).


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