ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesResearcher responsibilities

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Study pulls back curtain on contracts between Coca-Cola and the researchers it funds – STAT (Andrew Josep | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 6, 2019

When it funds scientific research, Coca-Cola includes a provision in its contracts with academic institutions that allows the beverage giant to pull its funding for a study at any point, according to a group of researchers who obtained several such agreements.

The policies could pressure recipients of the funding to pursue research that dovetails with Coca-Cola’s goals out of fear of having their project canceled, the researchers said in a paper published Tuesday, though they added that they found no example of that occurring.

The paper, which was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, comes amid increasing scrutiny of the food and beverage industry’s funding of and influence over academic research. The industry has taken a number of steps to improve transparency and safeguard the independence of studies it sponsors. Notably, Coca-Cola in 2015 started listing on its website the institutions and researchers it funded and the following year outlined principles that would guide its support for scientific research.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career – Nature (Gabriel Popkin | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 5, 2019

Open science can lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther knew that scientists had already collected a vast amount of field data on forests worldwide. But almost all of those data were sequestered in researchers’ notebooks or personal computers, making them unavailable to the wider scientific community. In 2012, Crowther, then a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, began to e-mail and cold-call researchers to request their data. He started to assemble an inventory, now hosted by the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative, an international research collaboration, that contains data on more than 1 million locations. Data are stored in CSV files (plain-text files that contain a list of data) on servers at Crowther’s present laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and on those of a collaborator at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; he hopes to outsource database storage to a third-party organization with expertise in archiving and access.

After years of courting and cajoling, Crowther has persuaded about half of the data owners to make their data public. The other half, he laments, say that they support open data in principle, but have specific reasons for keeping their data sets private. Mainly, he explains, they want to use their data to conduct and publish their own studies.

Crowther’s database challenges reflect the current state of science: partly open, partly closed, and with unclear and inconsistent policies and expectations on data sharing that are still in flux. High-level bodies such as the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission have called for science to become more open and endorsed a set of data-management standards known as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles. Government funding agencies in the United States, Europe and Australia require researchers to devise plans for data management and, in some cases, data sharing; some private funders also require them. Many journals, including Nature, have adopted policies that encourage or require authors to make data available. A plethora of open-access repositories host data sets from almost all fields, and scientists have been publicly criticized by colleagues for not sharing data.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Better Metadata Could Help Save The World! – Scholarly Kitchen (Alice Meadows | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 4, 2019

The title of this post may seem like a farfetched claim, however, no one can deny that we are currently faced with increasingly critical challenges — climate crisis, shrinking biodiversity, hunger, poverty, disease, and more. I think most of us would agree this means it’s essential for the research findings that could help address these challenges to be shared as quickly and widely as possible — and for the data behind those findings to be FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). And that means…metadata!

As a community, we have a collective responsibility for sharing research outputs, including their metadata. That’s why Metadata 2020 is so timely and important (disclaimer: I am co-chair of their Researcher Communications project group). This community-led initiative aims to improve metadata in order to enhance discoverability, encourage new services, create efficiencies, and — ultimately — accelerate scholarly research. Lofty goals, to be sure! Which means that to succeed in achieving them we need the support of everyone who is involved in creating, curating, and consuming metadata.

Per the FAIR principles, “Metadata and data should be easy to find for both humans and computers.  Machine-readable metadata are essential for automatic discovery of datasets and services.” Building on this, the Metadata 2020 project group on Best Practices and Principles has developed a set of draft principles, which were recently released for community comment. They state that for metadata to support the community, they should be:

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Implementation of a responsible conduct of research education program at Duke University School of Medicine (Papers: Christian Simon, et al 02 June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 2, 2019

Academic medical centers rarely require all of their research faculty and staff to participate in educational programs on the responsible conduct of research (RCR). There is also little published evidence of RCR programs addressing high-profile, internal cases of misconduct as a way of promoting deliberation and learning. In the wake of major research misconduct, Duke University School of Medicine (DUSoM) expanded its RCR education activities to include all DUSoM faculty and staff engaged in research. The program included formal deliberation of the Translational Omics misconduct case, which occurred at Duke. Over 5,000 DUSoM faculty and staff participated in the first phase of this new program, with a 100% completion rate. The article reports on the program’s development, challenges and successes, and future directions. This experience at Duke University illustrates that, although challenging and resource intensive, engagement with RCR activities can be integrated into programs for all research faculty and staff. Formal, participatory deliberation of recent cases of internal misconduct can add a novel dimension of reflection and openness to RCR educational activities.

KEYWORDS: Responsible conduct of research, research integrity, RCR education, ethics education

Simon, C., Beerman, R.W., Ariansen, J.L., Kessler, D, Sanchez, A.M, King, K., Sarzotti-Kelsoe, M., Samsa, G. Bradley, A., Torres, L., Califf, R. & Swamy G.K. (2019) Implementation of a responsible conduct of research education program at Duke University School of Medicine. Accountability in Research, 26:5, 288-310, DOI: 10.1080/08989621.2019.1621755
Publisher (Open Access):