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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Sexual misconduct in academia: reassessing the past – Times Higher Education (‘Collaborators’ | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 16, 2018
 

The #MeToo movement has cast historical behaviour and curricula in a new, shadowy light. Four writers give us their perspectives

More than six months after the Harvey Weinstein scandal catapulted sexual harassment to the top of the cultural agenda, academia is among the industries still grappling with the extent of the problem that it faces, and what to do about it.

The AHRECS team enthusiastically congratulates Australian universities like Griffith University for events and initiatives like this. It is high time for research institutions to embed discussions about sexual harassment into research professional development strategies, including for HDR candidates and supervisors. Sexual harassment in research is research misconduct, in the same way as other forms of research misconduct might be triggers for action as per an EBA, student misconduct policy, corruption investigation or court process.

The #TimesUpAcademia (https://twitter.com/hashtag/timesupacademia) Twitter campaign launched last month by the Scotland-based journalist Vonny Leclerc elicited a considerable response. An open-source document created late last year by former US academic Karen Kelsky contains nearly 2,500 reports of sexual misconduct in mostly US and Canadian universities. And a survey by the UK’s National Union of Students, published in April, found that although most students objected to sexual approaches from academics, fewer than one in 10 reported it when it occurred.
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In response to the NUS survey, campaign organisation the 1752 Group, which was closely involved in the survey, said that UK universities’ current disciplinary procedures are unfit for purpose, and it called on them to “introduce professional boundaries that clearly define the expected relationship between a staff member and a student”, that “reect the complexities of power and consent in the teaching relationship” and that punish transgressors.
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India cracks down on plagiarism at universities – Science (Shekhar Chandra | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 15, 2018
 

But some researchers say new rules don’t go far enough.

India has for the first time introduced regulations to detect and punish acts of plagiarism at universities. Punishments for researchers or students caught breaking the rules range from requiring that a manuscript be withdrawn to sacking or expulsion, depending on the extent of the plagiarism.

The regulations define plagiarism as “taking someone else’s work or idea and passing them as one’s own”, and will apply to the 867 universities and their affiliated institutions that report to the nation’s education regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC announced on 3 August that the rules came into effect retroactively from 23 July.

Previously, punishments for researchers caught plagiarizing were left to the discretion of the institution. The new rules also make it mandatory for institutions to use plagiarism-detection software, such as Turnitin, on students’ theses and researchers’ manuscripts. Currently, only some universities use detection software.

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Inside India’s fake research paper shops: pay, publish, profit – The Indian EXPRESS (Shyamlal Yadav | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 15, 2018
 

Despite UGC blacklist, hundreds of ‘predatory journals’ thrive, cast shadow on quality of faculty and research nationwide.

In the world of academia, getting published in an international research journal is almost the holy grail, it helps bump up the CV for hiring and helps in the competition for tenure or promotion. It takes rigorous research, an original contribution, exhaustive peer or expert reviews, and dogged persistence.

But then, there’s also an easy way — pay and publish.

An investigation by The Indian Express shows that India has emerged as one of the biggest markets for a business in which over 300 publishers manage what are called “predatory journals” that claim to be international and publish papers for a listed “charge” or “fee” that ranges from $30-$1,800 per piece.

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Did a study of Indonesian people who spend most of their days under water violate ethical rules? – Science (Dyna Rochmyaningsih | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on August 14, 2018
 

In April, a paper showing why Indonesia’s Bajau people are such great divers drew worldwide attention as a striking example of recent human evolution. But the study, published in Cell, has created a different kind of stir in Indonesia, where some say it is an example of “helicopter research” carried out by scientists from rich countries with little consideration for local regulations and needs.

When conducting research in another country it is essential to rigorously determine what local research ethics arrangements and regulations apply to your planned work. While a local contact/assistant can be helpful (sometimes essential for respecting local traditions and protocols) a researcher experienced in the relevant (sub)discipline/design is more likely to be able to alert you to the jurisdiction’s ethical and legal requirements.

“Too many mistakes were made here,” says geneticist Herawati Sudoyo, who heads the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta. Indonesian officials say the research team failed to obtain ethical approval from a local review board and took DNA samples out of the country without the proper paperwork. And some Indonesian scientists complain that the only local researcher involved in the study had no expertise in evolution or genetics. But Eske Willerslev, director of the University of Copenhagen’s (KU’s) Centre for GeoGenetics, says the team he headed had a permit from the Indonesian government and worked hard to follow the rules. “I would never participate in research that I felt was unethical,” Willerslev says. The government hasn’t informed him about problems, he says, but, “If we have made an error that violates national or international guidelines, we would like to apologize for that.”
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The issue escalated in late May, when Pradiptajati Kusuma, a geneticist at the Eijkman Institute who has also studied the Bajau, suggested in a tweet that the team could have faced prosecution under strict new rules on foreign research, proposed by the Indonesian government and now under debate. “Jail? Possible,” Kusuma wrote. He later deleted the tweet, but Melissa Ilardo, the Cellstudy’s first author, says she was so rattled that she canceled a July trip to Indonesia during which she planned to inform the Bajau about her study. “I did everything I could to conduct this research ethically and properly, and this is breaking my heart,” says Ilardo, a Ph.D. student at KU at the time of the fieldwork and now at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
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