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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

In major shift, medical journal to publish protocols along with clinical trials – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook May 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on May 17, 2016
 

A major medical journal has updated its instructions to authors, now requiring that they publish protocols of clinical trials, along with any changes made along the way.

We learned of this change via the COMPare project, which has been tracking trial protocol changes in major medical journals — and been critical of the Annals of Internal Medicine‘s response to those changes. However, Darren Taichman, the executive deputy editor of the journal, told us the journal’s decision to publish trial protocols was a long time coming:

This change was something we planned prior to COMPARE and were intending to implement with an update of our online journal that is in process. However, the barrier COMPARE encountered in obtaining a protocol for one of the studies in their audit prompted us to implement it earlier.

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Handbook of Academic Integrity (Books: Tracey Bretag ed 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on May 17, 2016
 

“The book brings together diverse views from around the world and provides a comprehensive overview of the subject, beginning with different definitions of academic integrity through how to create the ethical academy. At the same time, the Handbook does not shy away from some of the vigorous debates in the field such as the causes of academic integrity breaches. There has been an explosion of interest in academic integrity in the last 10-20 years. New technologies that have made it easier than ever for students to ‘cut and paste’, coupled with global media scandals of high profile researchers behaving badly, have resulted in the perception that plagiarism is ‘on the rise’. This, in combination with the massification and commercialisation of higher education, has resulted in a burgeoning interest in the importance of academic integrity, how to safeguard it and how to address breaches appropriately. What may have seemed like a relatively easy topic to address – students copying sources without attribution – has in fact, turned out to be a very complex, interdisciplinary field of research requiring contributions from linguists, psychologists, social scientists, anthropologists, teaching and learning specialists, mathematicians, accountants, medical doctors, lawyers and philosophers, to name just a few. Despite or perhaps because of this broad interest and input, there has been no single authoritative reference work which brings together the vast, growing, interdisciplinary and at times contradictory body of literature. For both established researchers/practitioners and those new to the field, this Handbook provides a one-stop-shop as well as a launching pad for new explorations and discussions.”

Bretag, T (Ed.) (2016) In  Handbook of Academic Integrity. Springer. ISBN 978-981-287-097-1
Publisher: http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789812870971

Clarifying ethical responsibilities in paediatric biobanking (Papers Merle Spriggs & Craig L. Fry)0

Posted by Admin in on May 11, 2016
 

ABSTRACT

Background: The creation of biobanks for storage of human specimens and use in health and medical research is expanding globally. Biobanks hold significant potential to facilitate such research. However, important ethical questions arise, particularly in the pediatric setting, in relation to consent, future use, and the balance of benefits against potential harms. To date, these ethical issues have been undertheorized and under-researched in the biobanks domain. The aim of this study was to examine stakeholder attitudes regarding the ethical responsibilities of researchers, biobank custodians, Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), research institutions, and parents.

Methods: A qualitative study using semistructured interviews with a purposive sample of key informants (n = 14) with relevant expertise was conducted. Participants were interviewed about their pediatric biobank experiences, the main ethical issues observed as an HREC member, researcher, or custodian, and future needs.

Results: Participants expressed concerns about consent processes in the biobanking context, including issues regarding the provision of information, level of understanding, voluntariness, and the point at which children have a role or can consent for themselves. Other major issues raised were biobank quality management, the return of results, and the idea of human tissue as a scarce precious resource. Key informants also highlighted uncertainties about the custodianship of biobank samples and reasonable limits on the custodian’s role.

Conclusions: Pediatric biobanks are a valuable resource, presenting unique opportunities to advance children’s health and well-being. Properly run pediatric biobanks entail responsibilities for institutes, custodians, researchers, and research ethics committees. We discuss ethical implications for pediatric biobank policy and practices, as well as future information needs in light of the study findings.

Spriggs, M. & Fry, C. (2015). Clarifying ethical responsibilities in paediatric biobanking. AJOB Empirical Bioethics DOI:10.1080/23294515.2015.1049718
http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/QDVEzAwZsTqT9QkwvBjB/full xxxx

The Oaxaca Incident: A geographer’s efforts to map a Mexican village reveal the risks of military entanglement – The Chronicle of Higher Education (Paul Voosen 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on May 10, 2016
 

An American scholar. A Mexican village. The U.S. military. What could go wrong?

On most maps, Tiltepec doesn’t look like much. A Zapotec village of several hundred indigenous people, Tiltepec clings to the steep slopes of the Sierra Juárez, a formidable range in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Its people have lived there for generations in relative isolation under the shadow of Cerro Negro, where once their ancestors forced conquistadors off a cliff to the Rio Vera below. The valley teems with ancient earthen terraces, platforms, and sacred caves. Yet find Tiltepec on government maps and all you’ll see is bare topography and a name. Viewed on Google Earth, it’s even less — a few patches of white rectangles drowned in forest. For most of the world, Tiltepec might as well not exist.

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