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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Legal threats, opacity, and deceptive research practices: A look at more than 100 retractions in business and management – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | November 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 11, 2019

What can studying retractions in business and management journals tell us? Earlier this year, Dennis Tourish, of the University of Sussex, and Russell Craig, of the University of Portsmouth, both in the UK, published a paper in the Journal of Management Inquiry that analyzed 131 such retractions. The duo — who were also two of three authors of a recent paper on retractions in economics— also interviewed three journal editors involved in retractions, two co-authors of retracted papers who were not responsible for the fraud, and one researcher found to have committed fraud. We asked Tourish, the author of an upcoming book on “fraud, deception and meaningless research” in management studies, some questions about the study by email.

A useful paper and Retraction Watch interview about retractions in business and management journals.

Retraction Watch (RW): You found a “large proportion of retractions in high-quality journals.” Would you say that is consistent with findings in other fields?

Dennis Tourish (DT): Yes, it is consistent with some research we have done into retractions in economics and psychology. We know that similar patterns have been reported in studies of retractions in the life sciences. There are two main possible explanations for this. Higher ranked journals may have more editorial resources and may be more diligent at identifying papers with problems. It is also possible that their high status makes them an attractive outlet for those who engage in fraud and poor practices generally. Academics are under more pressure than ever to publish in such journals. It would not be surprising that many academics are tempted to take unethical shortcuts.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Research Ethics Policy Note no. 12 – Research Involving Illegal Activities0

Posted by Admin in on February 7, 2019

The University of Sheffield Research Ethics Policy Note no. 12
Research Involving Illegal Activities

This is a complex area. There is a long tradition of social science research into illegal activity that has enriched public debate about crime and a range of other public issues. Similarly, researchers in psychology or medicine, for example, might in the course of their research learn about criminal activity. But what is the legal and ethical position of the researcher in such circumstances?

Researchers have the same legal obligations that they would have in any other context, as citizens or legal residents. As a private member of society, there is, however, no general legal obligation in the United Kingdom to report to the relevant authorities all illegal activity that one observes or learns about.

However, there may be moral obligations to report in the following circumstances:

Access  the policy

Political Research and Human Research Ethics Committees (Papers: Anthony J. Langlois | 2011)0

Posted by Admin in on February 5, 2019

Human Research Ethics Committees have become an established part of the institutional structure of research in the humanities and social sciences over the last two decades in Australia, a development which many in the political disciplines have regarded with ambiguity or outright hostility. My purpose is to consider some of the particular problems which arise for the political disciplines from the form of research ethics review which has become institutionalised in Australia, and to suggest some reforms which would significantly ameliorate these problems.

My argument is that the conceptual framework on which research ethics review is built, and consequently the institutional model by which ethical review is applied within Australian universities is not appropriate to some forms of political research, with serious detrimental consequences. These consequences may include, but are not limited to: research findings being potentially skewed; research going underground or being undertaken in ways which diverge from what has been approved by committees; self censorship; disengagement with institutional research governance procedures; the generation of risk for researchers who are operating outside institutional approvals because they feel they “have to”; the construction of unnecessary prejudice against the legitimate aims of research ethics review procedures; and, finally, and most disturbingly, important and legitimate research not being undertaken.

Raise the issue of research ethics with a politics researcher in the hallways of any Australian university, and you are likely to meet with a litany of complaints which match in some measure or another my list above. Being a politics academic and – until recently -­‐ the chair of a university wide human research ethics committee, has been an interesting experience; one which has led me to offer the following analysis and suggestions for reform.

Anthony J. Langlois (2011) Political Research and Human Research Ethics Committees. Australian Journal of Political Science, 46:1, 141-156, DOI: 10.1080/10361146.2010.544287

The picture talk project: Aboriginal community input on consent for research (Papers: Emily FM Fitzpatrick, et al | 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 3, 2019


The consent and community engagement process for research with Indigenous communities is rarely evaluated. Research protocols are not always collaborative, inclusive or culturally respectful. If participants do not trust or understand the research, selection bias may occur in recruitment, affecting study results potentially denying participants the opportunity to provide more knowledge and greater understanding about their community. Poorly informed consent can also harm the individual participant and the community as a whole.

Invited by local Aboriginal community leaders of the Fitzroy Valley, the Kimberley, Western Australia, The Picture Talk project explores the consent process for research. Focus groups of Aboriginal community members were conducted to establish preferences for methods of seeking individual consent. Transcripts were analysed through NVivo10 Qualitative software using grounded theory with inductive and deductive coding. Themes were synthesised with quotes highlighted.

Focus groups with Aboriginal community members (n = 6 focus groups of 3–7 participants) were facilitated by a Community Navigator as a cultural guide and interpreter and a researcher. Participants were recruited from all main language groups of the Fitzroy Valley – Gooniyandi, Walmajarri, Wangkatjungka, Bunuba and Nikinya. Participants were aged ≥18 years, with 5 female groups and one male group. Themes identified include: Reputation and trust is essential; The Community Navigator is key; Pictures give the words meaning – milli milli versus Pictures; Achieving consensus in circles; Signing for consent; and Research is needed in the Valley.

Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley recommend that researchers collaborate with local leaders, develop trust and foster a good reputation in the community prior to research. Local Aboriginal researchers should be employed to provide cultural guidance throughout the research process and interpret local languages especially for elders. Pictures are preferred to written text to explain research information and most prefer to sign for consent. The Fitzroy Valley welcomes research when collaborative and for the benefit of the community. Future research could include exploring how to support young people, promote health screening and improve understanding of medical knowledge.

Research, Consent, Qualitative Methods, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Community, Focus Groups, Pictures, Yarning

Fitzpatrick EFM, Carter M, Oscar J, D’Antoine H, Carter M, Lawford T and Elliott EJ (2019) The picture talk project: Aboriginal community input on consent for research. BMC Medical Ethics (2019) 20:12
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