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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum (Papers: Lynette B Fernandes 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 25, 2016
 

Abstract: Responsible conduct in learning and research (RCLR) was progressively introduced into the pharmacology curriculum for undergraduate science students at The University of Western Australia. In the second year of this undergraduate curriculum, a lecture introduces students to issues such as the use of animals in teaching and responsible conduct of research. Third year student groups deliver presentations on topics including scientific integrity and the use of human subjects in research. Academic and research staff attending these presentations provide feedback and participate in discussions. Students enrolled in an optional capstone Honours year complete an online course on the responsible conduct of research and participate in an interactive movie. Once RCLR became established in the curriculum, a survey of Likert-scaled and open-ended questions examined student and staff perceptions. Data were expressed as Approval (% of responses represented by Strongly Agree and Agree). RCLR was found to be relevant to the study of pharmacology (69-100% Approval), important for one’s future career (62-100% Approval), and stimulated further interest in this area (32-75% Approval). Free entry comments demonstrated the value of RCLR and constructive suggestions for improvement have now been incorporated. RCLR modules were found to be a valuable addition to the pharmacology undergraduate curriculum. This approach may be used to incorporate ethics into any science undergraduate curriculum, with the use of discipline-specific topics. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2016.

KEYWORDS: ethics education; ethics in science and scientific research; integration of research into undergraduate teaching; pharmacology; responsible conduct

Fernandes LB (2016) Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum. Biochemistry Molecular Biology Education. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20990
Publisher: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20990.

What We Know About Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies (Papers: Gabrielle Berman, et al)0

Posted by Admin in on July 24, 2016
 

This working paper identifies and explores the issues that should be considered when undertaking ethical research involving children in humanitarian settings. Both the universal (i.e. relevant to all research involving children) and specific ethical issues that may arise when involving children in research in humanitarian settings are examined. This is undertaken through a review of the literature, relevant case studies, and a reflection on the ethical issues highlighted in UNICEF’s Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation, Data Collection and Analysis (the Ethics Procedure). The key findings of this overview highlight that many of the ethical issues that are present in other settings remain relevant and applicable in the context of humanitarian settings. These include: an institution’s capacity to appropriately and respectfully engage children in research, understanding power relations, securing informed consent and assent, ascertaining harms and benefits, maintaining privacy and confidentiality, and ensuring appropriate communication of findings.

Berman G, Hart J, O’Mathúna D, Mattellone E, Potts A, O’Kane Clare, Shusterman J and Tanner T (2016). What We Know about Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies, Innocenti Working Papers. 2016 (18) UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence
Publisher: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/849/

“We should err on the side of protecting people’s reputation:” Management journal changes policy to avoid fraud – Retraction Watch (Dalmeet Singh Chawla July 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 17, 2016
 

How can academic journals ensure the integrity of the data they publish? For one journal, the key is looking deeply at statistics, which revealed crucial problems in the research of recent high-profile fraudsters such as Anil Potti. Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Management, Patrick Wright from the University of South Carolina, recently authored an editorial about how he’s taken those lessons to heart — and why he believes retractions don’t always hurt a journal’s reputation.

RW: Can you take us through the changes in the editorial policy of your journal?

PW: In large part it is two-fold. One is to allow reviewers to self identify when they do not feel fully capable of doing a strong critique of statistical analyses. They always could do that in their comments to the editor (and often did), but we wanted to be sure that Action Editors could identify situations where a paper was being evaluated by reviewers who were not skilled in the statistical techniques used. When that happens, Action Editors can bring in a third reviewer to focus on those analyses.

Read the full interview

Are Research Ethics Obsolete In The Era Of Big Data? (Papers: June 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 14, 2016
 

This story began simply enough as I was writing this past May about the OkCupid data release. The researchers involved in the study had mass downloaded the profiles of more than 70,000 OkCupid users, republishing for the world the most intimate details of these users right down to their wildest sexual

This thought provoking and troubling discussion piece brings together recent commentary about the OkCupid, Ashley Maddison and Emotional Contagion cases, as well as the research use of data dumps by whitleblowers and hackers. It raises important ethical questions of researchers, research ethics reviewers and regulators. Truly sobering stuff.

 fantasies. In their now-unavailable paper the authors had argued that “Some may object to the ethics of gathering and releasing this data. However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it in a more useful form.” In a now-famous tweet, the lead author said that no effort had been put into anonymizing the data because “[The] Data is already public.”

The academic community reacted swiftly to the data release, condemning it as a stark violation of research ethics. Many cited the American Psychological Associations’ Code of Conduct which places strong limitations on when informed consent can be ignored and general human subjects protections, suggesting that if only the researchers had gone through an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval process, the study would have been stopped before it began. Yet, this suggests that universities and their IRBs have finally caught up to the digital “big data” era and would have actually declined this study if it had been brought before them for review.

For those unfamiliar with how academic research works, some countries like the United States require most research institutions like universities receiving federal funds to have what is called an Institutional Review Board (IRB) that essentially is a panel of campus experts who review proposed research and determine whether any potential ethical concerns it might pose are mitigated by the methodology or nature of the specific project. These IRBs largely follow the so-called federal Common Rule. Before conducting a given study, a researcher submits it to the IRB board at her university and only after the IRB approves the research may the study actually begin. If the IRB declines to authorize the study, the researcher must work with the IRB to alter its nature or methods to address the IRB’s concerns, but if the researcher is unable to meet the IRB’s demands then the research, in theory, must not be conducted.

Leetaru K (2016, 17 June) Are Research Ethics Obsolete In The Era Of Big Data? Forbes/Tech
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2016/06/17/are-research-ethics-obsolete-in-the-era-of-big-data/#1a083ad31cb9

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