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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

“Always read the small print”: a case study of commercial research funding, disclosure and agreements with Coca-Cola (Papers: Sarah Steele| May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 27, 2019
 

Abstract
Concerns about conflicts of interest in commercially funded research have generated increasing disclosure requirements, but are these enough to assess influence? Using the Coca-Cola Company as an example, we explore its research agreements to understand influence. Freedom of Information requests identified 87,013 pages of documents, including five agreements between Coca-Cola and public institutions in the United States, and Canada. We assess whether they allowed Coca-Cola to exercise control or influence. Provisions gave Coca-Cola the right to review research in advance of publication as well as control over (1) study data, (2) disclosure of results and (3) acknowledgement of Coca-Cola funding. Some agreements specified that Coca-Cola has the ultimate decision about any publication of peer-reviewed papers prior to its approval of the researchers’ final report. If so desired, Coca-Cola can thus prevent publication of unfavourable research, but we found no evidence of this to date in the emails we received. The documents also reveal researchers can negotiate with funders successfully to remove restrictive clauses on their research. We recommend journals supplement funding disclosures and conflict-of-interest statements by requiring authors to attach funder agreements.

Keywords
Coca-Cola Research funding Transparency Industry funding Conflicts of interest

Steele, S., Ruski, G,. McKee, M. & Stuckler, D. (2019). “Always read the small print”: a case study of commercial research funding, disclosure and agreements with Coca-Cola. Journal of Public Health Policy.
Publisher (Open Access): https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057%2Fs41271-019-00170-9

(Australia) University of Sydney pulls claims elderberries can fight flu – The Age (Liam Mannix | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 25, 2019
 

One of the country’s leading universities has been forced to retract a claim its study showed eating elderberries could help beat the flu after admitting it was overhyping its own science.

The University of Sydney also concealed the research was part-funded by company Pharmacare – which sells elderberry-based flu remedies – at the company’s request.

Although it was declared in the study itself, the university also failed to publicise that a Pharmacare employee was involved in the research.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Trump’s science adviser on research ethics, immigration and presidential tweets – Science (Sara Reardon | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 18, 2019
 

Five months into the job, Kelvin Droegemeier tells Nature what it’s like to work with the US president.

When meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February, he inherited an office that had been without a leader for two years — and became the top science adviser to President Donald Trump.

Trump’s push to cut government spending on research, and his policies on issues such as immigration, have caused controversy in science. Nature spoke to Droegemeier in mid-April — two months into his tenure — about these policies, his plans and what it’s like to work with the president. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The number of OSTP staff dropped precipitously during Trump’s first two years in office. What is the situation now?

The lights were definitely on, and there was a lot of work actually getting done. We have people cycle through. Some of them are on detail for a year, so there’s kind of a constant refresh. I have brought additional people on board in some of the areas that I’m going to be working on a little bit more.

Read the rest of this interview

Friday afternoon’s funny – How safe is your data?0

Posted by Admin in on May 17, 2019
 

Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com

Like most of Don’s work, this chuckle should prompt an important reflection. Do you have a robust plan for your research data?  Does it include:

  1. Data backup and disaster recovery?
  2. (If it is personally identified, sensitive, commercially valuable or otherwise risky) Involve storing the data in a coded form separate from the code key.
  3. Access control/privileges
  4. Discussion about
    1. Data transport
    2. Ethics
    3. Privacy
    4. GDPR
    5. Ownership and use
  5. Metadata
  6. A plan with regard to retention and disposal

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