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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Why researchers should get the same client confidentiality as doctors – The Conversation (Nathan Emmerich December 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on January 1, 2017

Social scientists routinely promise confidentiality to those who participate in their research. They tell participants that they will not inform anyone else about their involvement with the research or they will not reveal what they have said. This is done to encourage and ensure frank participation. But while ethics committees and review boards often mandate these promises of confidentiality, it is rare for such bodies, or universities, to speak up for researchers when they are faced with demands that they break confidentiality.

Take the ongoing struggle over the Boston College Tapes, for example. The tapes were the result of a project to create an oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In order to interview a number of former members of loyalist and republican paramilitaries about their involvement in the violence of the past, researchers promised that what was said would only be released posthumously.

Nevertheless, legal action taken by the Police Service of Northern Ireland could force Boston College – where the tapes are held – to release interviews with former IRA volunteer turned academic, Anthony McIntyre, who was also a lead researcher on the project. The PSNI says it wants the tapes in relation to the notorious 1972 IRA murder of Jean McConville. The subpoena is currently being challenged by McIntyre.

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Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries – LSE Impact Blog (Fiona Murphy | October 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on December 30, 2016

The process of compiling and submitting data papers to journals has long been a frustrating one to the minority of researchers that have tried. Fiona Murphy, part of a project team working to automate this process, outlines why publishing data papers is important and how open data can be of benefit to all stakeholders across scholarly communications and higher education.

Giving Researchers Credit for their Data – or ‘Data2Paper’ as we’re now more snappily calling it – is a cloud-based app which uses existing DataCite and ORCID-derived metadata to automate the process of compiling and submitting a data paper to a journal without the researcher having to leave the research space or wrestle directly with the journal’s submission system (an occasional source of frustration):

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Caring for Data: Law, Professional Codes and the Negotiation of Confidentiality in Australian Criminological Research. Report for the Criminology Research Council (Australia) (Papers: Robert Chalmers and Mark Israel | 20050

Posted by Admin in on December 18, 2016


In this report, we offer guidance to criminologists attempting to navigate, and manage the impact of, laws that relate to the protection and disclosure of confidential and personal information that they gather in the course of their research.

We start by providing examples of the impact of relevant laws on the practice of criminologists to set this work in it proper context, and then provide a general overview of laws relating to issues such as privacy, confidentiality and compelled disclosure. Drawing on this background, Section Three provides brief responses to Frequently Asked Questions covering the ways researchers gather, store, use, disclose and reuse information. We conclude by examining possible future developments.

Throughout the report we attempt to illustrate how the practice of criminological research practically intersects with relevant laws. This intersection can be painful as relevant laws are by no means tailored to suit the environment of such research. However, our aim is to help criminologists and their institutions reach better informed decisions about management of legal risks although, of course, this report is not a substitute for specific advice.

Chalmers, R & Israel, M (2005) Caring for Data: Law, Professional Codes and the Negotiation of Confidentiality in Australian Criminological Research. Report for the Criminology Research Council (Australia). 57 pages.

500+ Resources – Part Three of Nominations of best resources0

Posted by Admin in on December 12, 2016

This third nomination of favourite resources is from one of the AHRECS  senior consultants Associate Professor Martin Tolich. This week we’re going to be sharing some more nominations of people’s nomination of favourite resources? Got your own favourite? Drop us a line to with your suggestion.

Extremism is a research ethics minefield | AHRECS Resource Library entry

Researchers work through sensitive topics when researching children and death thinking they have advanced along the continuum reaching the third untouchable rail. In the United States Social Security is the untouchable third rail that politicians will not touch. In Canada no government dares to touch health care. In research ethic committees their third rail is death. Their resistance to permitting researchers to engage the bereaved in research, working from the self-fulfilling prophecy that any study investigating the vulnerability of the bereaved is undermined by the participants’ acute vulnerability. What the Norwegian article demonstrates is there are other third rails along the continuum. In Extremism is a research ethics minefield” the resource expands what there is to know about research ethics.