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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Publishing needs more science, fewer stories: Q&A with founders of ScienceMatters – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook June 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on June 28, 2016

Retraction Watch interview: Ever wish you could just publish an exciting result, without having to wait for the entire string of data that follows in order to tell an entire story, which then gets held up for months by peer review at traditional journals? So do a lot of other researchers, who are working on ways to sidestep those barriers. One new project: ScienceMatters, a publishing platform where scientists can submit single, robust results for relatively quick peer review. We spoke with co-founders Lawrence Rajendran and Mirko Bischofberger about how this new next-generation journal platform works, and why it’s important.

Read the interview here…

AAA Comments on Notice of Proposed Rule Making for IRBs (Papers: Rena Lederman & Lise Dobrin 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on June 22, 2016

Below are some excerpts from the 18-page comment submitted by the AAA to the Office of Human Research Protections on January 6, 2016, in response to the proposed changes in the “Common Rule”, the federal regulations that motivate the system of research ethics review that is implemented by IRBs. The AAA comment was authored on the AAA’s behalf by Rena Lederman (Princeton University) and Lise Dobrin (University of Virginia). An overview of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and the full text of the AAA’s response can be found here.

On the NPRM’s proposal to expand the definition of “human subject” to include even non-identified biospecimens:
The American Anthropological Association is in general accord with the principle of “autonomy” (or “respect for persons”) underlying this NPRM proposal to change the definition of Human Subject. Anthropologists and their study participants have objected to the reduction of biospecimens to “data” (i.e., values detachable from their sources); they have pointed out that blood, tissue samples and the like can come to stand for persons and be invested with specific social, cultural, and ritual values.

On the problematic omission of sociocultural anthropology’s signature methods from both the Common Rule and the proposed rule change:
Our first and most important general comment is that several of the proposed changes will deepen, rather than alleviate, ambiguity. This is especially true with respect to sociocultural anthropologists’ most characteristic research activity – “participant observation” (also referred to as “ethnographic fieldwork”, “fieldwork”, and similar terms) – which finds no place within the existing Common Rule at all. Insofar as the proposed changes likewise make no mention of participant observation, anthropologists and others who employ this approach—along with their IRBs—are left entirely in the dark. This situation promises to keep ethnographic field projects that rely on participant observation in “expedited” or “full board” categories when according to the logic behind the NPRM they should be “exempt” or “excluded”…

Lederman R & Dobrin L (2016) AAA Comments on Notice of Proposed Rule Making for IRBs. AAA Ethics Blog

The AAA issued an update about the changes to the common rule on 23 May 2016. You can view the update here

An Ethical Framework for the development and review of health research proposals involving humanitarian contexts, Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Action, Project Final Report0

Posted by Admin in on June 18, 2016

“The authors propose an ethical framework to 1) guide development of research designs and protocols intended for implementation in humanitarian crises and complex emergency contexts to help ensure their ethical viability, and 2) support ethical review of such protocols by independent ethical review bodies (REBs, IRBs), funders, and other organizations of interest, and 3) serve general educational purposes and enhance public understanding of the issues involved in and ethical principles guiding research in such settings. The framework is designed as a tool – offering a practical and easily implementable approach in which key ethical principles are considered in a clustered, hierarchical order. Implementation and assessment of the utility of this approach by researchers and by REBs/IRBs considering research protocols involving humanitarian crisis setting will guide further refinement of this ethical framework.”

Keywords: Evidence, Health, Principles & ethics, Research methodology

Agency: DFID – Department for International Development (UK), ELRHA – Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance

Curry D, Waldman R & Caplan A (2014) An Ethical Framework for the development and review of health research proposals involving humanitarian contexts, Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Action, Project Final Report.

Chronic Poverty Research Centre Methods Toolbox (Resources)0

Posted by Admin in on June 16, 2016

“Despite the growing consensus that poverty is multi-dimensional and complex, a lot of research is based on using approaches and methods that cannot capture a full picture. To deepen the understanding of poverty, much research needs to be multi-disciplinary and involve a mix of quantitative, qualitative and participatory approaches.

This toolbox provides a guide to the variety of approaches and methods available and how they can be mixed to produce both rigorous and policy relevant research. Through identifying further resources (and especially websites) where you can explore methodological tools and issues in greater detail, the toolbox allows researchers to check that their research designs reflect ‘good practice’.

The CPRC Methods toolbox is available to download in full, or by sections below. The document contains links that can be accessed by viewing the Toolbox online.”

Chronic Poverty Research Centre (2001) Chronic Poverty Research Centre Methods Toolbox.