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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

‘Misunderstanding of the academic rules’ leads to retraction of arthritis paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 19, 2019

A group of arthritis researchers in China have lost a 2019 paper which was effectively an English-language reprint of an earlier article in a Chinese journal. Two of the authors blamed a “misunderstanding of the academic rules” on the part of their colleagues for the duplication.

A painful reminder about language, multiple publications and mentoring.  This case also highlights the real problem we have with the publish at any price mentality that is so completely pervasive.

The article, “The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis,” appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. But, as the retraction notice explains, the work wasn’t original:

We, the Editor and Publishers of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, have retracted the following article:

H Sun, Y Wang, H Yao, L Wang, S Wu, Y Si, Y Meng, J Xu, Q Wang, X Sun & Z Li (2019). The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 48(5). DOI: 10.1080/03009742.2019.1574890.


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Born Digital – The Expanding Universe of Research Content – Scholarly Kitchen (Judy Luther | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 18, 2019

Beginning with the launch of the Internet, enabling technologies have expanded the number of formats that are widely used. Images, audio, video, data, code, and other forms of digital content are common in the researcher’s workflow and have become a necessary part of scholarly communications. Meanwhile, scholarly publishing has remained predominantly page based and dependent on PDFs, though that may be about to change.

DOIs signal research content
DOIs have been associated with scholarly publishing since Crossref began providing connections between research articles in 1999. When Datacite was launched a decade later, they expanded to providing DOIs for datasets and other research objects. Then three years ago, Crossref released a schema for Preprints as the precursor to the published work. Amy Brand’s recent post in the Scholarly Kitchen noted that 87% of Crossref DOIs are assigned to journal articles and book chapters, with only 5.5% assigned to conferences. The remaining items are almost all text based works.

As a result, DOIs have primarily represented published works and data as supplemental material to the Version of Record. This signaled that research had been reviewed, curated, published, and preserved for future reference as part of the scholarly record. Given that library budgets funded these publications, preservation was an essential requirement as the digital content was no longer housed within each institution.

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The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women’s health – The Guardian (Gabrielle Jackson | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 14, 2019

Centuries of female exclusion has meant women’s diseases are often missed, misdiagnosed or remain a total mystery

From the earliest days of medicine, women have been considered inferior versions of men. In On the Generation of Animals, the Greek philosopher Aristotle characterised a female as a mutilated male, and this belief has persisted in western medical culture.

The historical, and continued, exclusion of women from clinical trials is a significant problem that really hasn’t been addressed by drives by granting bodies.  Similar exclusion tends to be the experience of people whose first language isn’t English, people living with a disability and First Nation peoples. Researchers and research ethics review bodies can play an important role in addressing this major problem.

“For much of documented history, women have been excluded from medical and science knowledge production, so essentially we’ve ended up with a healthcare system, among other things in society, that has been made by men for men,” Dr Kate Young, a public health researcher at Monash University in Australia, tells me.

Young’s research has uncovered how doctors fill knowledge gaps with hysteria narratives. This is particularly prevalent when women keep returning to the doctor, stubbornly refusing to be saved.

“The historical hysteria discourse was most often endorsed when discussing ‘difficult’ women, referring to those for whom treatment was not helpful or who held a perception of their disease alternative to their clinician,” Young wrote in a research paper published in the journal Feminism & Psychology.


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Contract cheating will erode trust in science – Nature (Tracey Bretag | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 13, 2019

To combat academic dishonesty, focus on educational systems and not just individual offenders, says Tracey Bretag.

Stories of students paying others to do their work come from all around the world. In the 2015 MyMaster scandal in Australia, hundreds of students who were enrolled in more than a dozen universities paid a total of at least Aus$160,000 (US$108,000) to a ‘service’ that provided ghost-written essays and responses to online tests. In 2018, YouTube stars on more than 250 channels received money for promoting a cheating service called EduBirdie. Similar companies have been uncovered in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists should not deceive themselves: they are not immune.

Part of a series that we call “KPI=Key Perverse Incentives”. Our current system aids and abets the worst behaviour rather than promoting scholarship for improving the world.

Academics call this ‘contract cheating’. My colleagues and I have assembled what is, to our knowledge, the largest data set on the topic — with responses from some 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers across 8 Australian universities. We found that roughly 6% of students have engaged in the practice; that most who cheat do so more than once; and that both post- and undergraduate students engage in it. Cheating is not new, but the proliferation of commercial, online services in the past 5–10 years has made it easier than ever.

And cheating is becoming increasingly normal. Since the 1990s, universities around the world have reimagined themselves as commercial enterprises that promote educational ‘products’ to student ‘consumers’. In 2017, a commentator likened the brash marketing strategies of some UK universities to the advertising of shampoo, and hundreds of academic papers have openly criticized the ‘marketization’ of higher education. It’s no wonder students opt to take the most convenient route to an academic credential — just as they would shop around for any other deal. In our survey, more than one-third of teachers specifically blamed contract cheating on the commercialization of higher education.

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