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)

A Russian Biologist Wants To Create More Gene-Edited Babies – NPR (Rob Stein | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 20, 2019
 

A Russian scientist says he wants to create more genetically modified babies, flouting international objections that such a step would be premature, unethical and irresponsible.

Denis Rebrikov, a molecular biologist who heads a gene-editing lab at the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Moscow, claims he has developed a safe — and therefore acceptable — way to create gene-edited babies.

“How it can be unethical if we will make [a] healthy baby instead of diseased?” Rebrikov told NPR during his first broadcast interview. “Why? Why [is it] unethical?”

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Alarmed by new ‘CRISPR babies’ plan, top science figures say they’re powerless to stop it – STAT (Rick Berke | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 19, 2019
 

ASPEN, Colo. — Two influential leaders in science for the first time publicly condemned a Russian biologist who said he plans to produce gene-edited babies but conceded that it was beyond their organizations’ authority to halt him from doing so.

In separate interviews with STAT over the weekend, Margaret Hamburg, co-chair of an international advisory committee on human genome-editing, and Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, said they were deeply concerned by the plans outlined by Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov.

Still, said Hamburg, “I don’t know where we get the teeth to do some of what may ultimately need to be done’’ to respond in such situations.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

On the use of blockchain-based mechanisms to tackle academic misconduct (Vijay Mohan | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 18, 2019
 

Highlights

  • There exists a Prisoners’ Dilemma in academia, where researchers engage in misconduct in equilibrium.
  • Conventional “centralized” solutions under the current system may not work.
  • New advances in distributed ledger technology, like blockchain, provide a decentralized alternative.
  • The incentive structures in academia may necessitate a solution involving a permissioned blockchain.
  • Open Science is necessary to fight misconduct.

Abstract
Current incentives for publishing in academic journals result in a “winner-take-all” contest-like situation, with significant benefits for publishing research in quality journals. At the same time, empirically, we observe a greater incidence of research misconduct. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the nature and extent of the misconduct problem, to show why it may persist in the absence of conscious remedial action, and to discuss solutions that help lower the likelihood of spurious research escaping undetected. A simple model is constructed to emphasize that there exists the potential for a Prisoners’ Dilemma in academia, where scholars engage in misconduct at equilibrium (the Academic Dilemma). The paper then examines why conventional “centralized” regulatory solutions under the current system are not likely to succeed in resolving the problem, analyzes the properties of a decentralized solution utilizing blockchains, and argues that once incentive structures in academia are factored in, a permissioned blockchain may emerge as an effective middle-ground solution for mitigating scientific misconduct. In doing so, the paper highlights the importance of new technologies and recent advancements in Open Science for battling misconduct, and takes stock of the evolving nature of academic publishing.

Keywords
Academic misconduct, Prisoners’ dilemma, Blockchain, Open science, Decentralized cooperation

Mohan, V. (2019) On the use of blockchain-based mechanisms to tackle academic misconduct. Research Policy. 48(9), November 2019, 103805
Publisher: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048733319301258

Knowledge and attitudes among life scientists towards reproducibility within journal articles (Papers: Evanthia Kaimaklioti Samota and Robert P. Davey | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 16, 2019
 

Abstract

We constructed a survey to understand how authors and scientists view the issues around reproducibility, and how solutions such as interactive figures could enable the reproducibility of experiments from within a research article. This manuscript reports the results of this survey on the views of 251 researchers, including authors who have published in eLIFE Sciences, and those who work at the Norwich Biosciences Institutes (NBI). The survey also outlines to what extent researchers are occupied with reproducing experiments themselves and what are their desirable features of an interactive figure. Respondents considered various features for an interactive figure within a research article that would allow for them to better understand and reproduce in situ the experiment presented in the figure. Respondents said that the most important element that would enable the better reproducibility of published research would be that authors describe methods and analyses in detail. The respondents believe that having interactive figures in published papers is a beneficial element. Whilst interactive figures are potential solutions for demonstrating technical reproducibility, we find that there are equally pressing cultural demands on researchers that need to be addressed to achieve greater success in reproducibility in the life sciences.

Samota, E. K. and R. P. Davey (2019). Knowledge and attitudes among life scientists towards reproducibility within journal articles. bioRxiv: 581033. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/581033
Publisher: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/581033v2
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed

0