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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

People will not trust unkind science – Nature (Gail Cardew | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 22, 2020

A mean and aggressive research working culture threatens the public’s respect for scientists and their expertise, says Gail Cardew.

Earlier this month, a survey from Wellcome in London confirmed that unkindness, and worse, is pervasive in science (see Academic leaders expressed alarm — both for the health of young researchers and for how such pressure could erode the quality of science. I think there is more to worry about.

Treating collaborators and more junior staff with empathy and respect isn’t only an important contribution to an institution’s research culture it may impact on how the general public regard research.

What hope is there for those in science to build a trusting and respectful relationship with the public when so many scientists are schooled in a culture lacking these qualities?

The need for trust and respect is particularly acute now, when people, as the British politician Michael Gove infamously put it, “have had enough of experts”. Similar arguments have come from around the world.

According to a 2019 report by public-opinion research firm Ipsos Mori, the way people behave, especially their ability to think of others’ interests, influences their trustworthiness. Competence is not enough ( This is backed up by a survey of people living on potentially contaminated land, which found that citizens who said they did not trust the science were not questioning scientists’ expertise, but whether scientists shared the public’s interest (


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Developing Grad Students’ Scientific Literacy Skills – Inside Higher Ed (David A. Sanders | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 21, 2020

Mentors can use a number of pedagogical techniques, and recent developments in the realm of scientific publication have provided new opportunities, writes David A. Sanders.

It is axiomatic that students need to learn to read and write. At first, one might assume that this task is accomplished early in their education. But, in fact, learning to read and write is a continuing, lifelong process.

Essential skills that should form a component of HDR capacity and the work of supervisors.

That is nowhere better demonstrated than in the training of a scientist. Their required reading and writing skills differ from those that a nonscientist might develop. For example, critical evaluation of experimental data presented in a number of formats is a central component of scientific reading. You have to learn how to examine each figural or tabular presentation of results and determine for yourself whether it supports the interpretation and conclusions that the authors of a published article have provided.

In most cases, budding scientists acquire the requisite capacities in graduate school. Mentors can use a number of pedagogical techniques, and recent developments in the realm of scientific publication have provided new opportunities for inculcating literacy and effective composition.

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What Research Institutions Can Do to Foster Research Integrity (Papers: Lex Bouter | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 20, 2020


A great open access reference when talking about research integrity and informing responsible practice.  We have included links to 38 other related reads.

In many countries attention for fostering research integrity started with a misconduct case that got a lot of media exposure. But there is an emerging consensus that questionable research practices are more harmful due to their high prevalence. QRPs have in common that they can help to make study results more exciting, more positive and more statistically significant. That makes them tempting to engage in. Research institutions have the duty to empower their research staff to steer away from QRPs and to explain how they realize that in a Research Integrity Promotion Plan. Avoiding perverse incentives in assessing researchers for career advancement is an important element in that plan. Research institutions, funding agencies and journals should make their research integrity policies as evidence-based as possible. The dilemmas and distractions researchers face are real and universal. We owe it to society to collaborate and to do our utmost best to prevent QRPs and to foster research integrity.

Bouter, L. (2020) What Research Institutions Can Do to Foster Research Integrity. Science and Engineering Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

(Australia) Thousands of researchers in Australia appear on editorial boards of ‘predatory’ journals – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020

One in four said they were not aware of their names being used.

More than 3,700 researchers based at Australian institutions — roughly 7% of the country’s academic community — as of mid-2019 appeared on the editorial boards of journals that are potentially predatory.

Given the toxic effects of junk science these numbers are troubling.  What we find especially troubling is the three quarters who were aware their names are being used to prop up questionable publishers.  We have included links to 40 related items.

That’s the finding of a new study, which examined how often researchers affiliated with Australian universities are listed on the editorial boards of journals with ‘questionable’ reputations.

Conducted by Michael Downes, an independent researcher in Queensland, Australia, the study looked at the 1,165 “potential predatory publishers” identified by librarian Jeffrey Beall on his widely read but controversial blog. The blog was discontinued in 2017, but the list remains online.

According to Downes, one-third of these publishers have disappeared, haven’t thrived, or have become inactive since 2017. In addition to those that remain active, Downes identified 162 journals that he classified as potentially predatory.

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