ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
Generic filters
Exact text matches only
Search into
Filter by Categories
Research integrity
Filter by Categories
Human Research Ethics

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us


Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture (Papers: Nicole Ling Yeo-Teh & Bor Tang | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 25, 2020


We have included 17 links to other items about promoting a positive research culture through HDR professional development and mentoring.

Hofmann and Holm’s (2019) recent survey on issues of research misconduct with PhD graduates culminated with a notable conclusion by the authors: ‘Scientific misconduct seems to be an environmental issue as much as a matter of personal integrity’. Here, we re-emphasise the usefulness of an education-based countermeasure against toxic research environments or cultures that promote unethical practices amongst the younger researchers. We posit that an adequately conducted course in research ethics and integrity, with a good dose of case studies and analyses, can function in a manner that is metaphorically akin to vaccination. The training would cultivate the ability to analyse and build confidence in young researchers in making decisions with sound moral reasoning as well as in speaking up or arguing against pressure and coercions into unacceptable behaviour. A sufficiently large number of young researchers exposed to research ethics trainings would essentially provide a research community some degree of lasting herd immunity at its broadest base. Beyond passive immunity, a crop of research ethics-savvy young researchers could also play active and influential roles as role models for others at their level and perhaps even help correct the wayward attitudes of some senior researchers and initiate prompt action from institutional policy makers in a bottom-up manner.

Authorship, research environment, research ethics, research misconduct, responsible conduct of research courses

Yeo-Teh, N. S. L., & Tang, B. L. (2020). Research ethics courses as a vaccination against a toxic research environment or culture. Research Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

Developing Grad Students’ Scientific Literacy Skills – Inside Higher Ed (David A. Sanders | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 21, 2020

Mentors can use a number of pedagogical techniques, and recent developments in the realm of scientific publication have provided new opportunities, writes David A. Sanders.

It is axiomatic that students need to learn to read and write. At first, one might assume that this task is accomplished early in their education. But, in fact, learning to read and write is a continuing, lifelong process.

Essential skills that should form a component of HDR capacity and the work of supervisors.

That is nowhere better demonstrated than in the training of a scientist. Their required reading and writing skills differ from those that a nonscientist might develop. For example, critical evaluation of experimental data presented in a number of formats is a central component of scientific reading. You have to learn how to examine each figural or tabular presentation of results and determine for yourself whether it supports the interpretation and conclusions that the authors of a published article have provided.

In most cases, budding scientists acquire the requisite capacities in graduate school. Mentors can use a number of pedagogical techniques, and recent developments in the realm of scientific publication have provided new opportunities for inculcating literacy and effective composition.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

What Research Institutions Can Do to Foster Research Integrity (Papers: Lex Bouter | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 20, 2020


A great open access reference when talking about research integrity and informing responsible practice.  We have included links to 38 other related reads.

In many countries attention for fostering research integrity started with a misconduct case that got a lot of media exposure. But there is an emerging consensus that questionable research practices are more harmful due to their high prevalence. QRPs have in common that they can help to make study results more exciting, more positive and more statistically significant. That makes them tempting to engage in. Research institutions have the duty to empower their research staff to steer away from QRPs and to explain how they realize that in a Research Integrity Promotion Plan. Avoiding perverse incentives in assessing researchers for career advancement is an important element in that plan. Research institutions, funding agencies and journals should make their research integrity policies as evidence-based as possible. The dilemmas and distractions researchers face are real and universal. We owe it to society to collaborate and to do our utmost best to prevent QRPs and to foster research integrity.

Bouter, L. (2020) What Research Institutions Can Do to Foster Research Integrity. Science and Engineering Ethics.
Publisher (Open Access):

A message for mentors from dissatisfied graduate students – Nature (Chris Woolston | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 8, 2020

In this second article to mark Nature’s 2019 graduate survey, respondents call for more one-to-one support and better career guidance.

When Peter Butler started his PhD programme in physics at the University of Bristol, UK, he saw himself spending many hours at a whiteboard working on problems, with his supervisor by his side. Those long hours of togetherness never materialized. In that sense, he says, “I didn’t get what I expected.” However, he adds that his supervisor gave him plenty of good strategic advice and helped him to get published. And having to turn to other people for support was useful, he adds. “I had to act like a scientist.”

This commentary and the survey that underpins it (data available online) points to serious dissatisfaction among HDR candidates, which should prompt institutions to reflect on their guidance and monitoring of supervisors.  We have included links to ten related items.

Butler was one of more than 6,300 graduate students worldwide who responded to Nature’s fifth biennial PhD survey. These students had much to say about the state of mentorship at their institutions and in the scientific community. Their answers and free-text comments made clear that they often aren’t getting what they expect, or need, from their supervisors. The full data set is available at One telling statistic was that nearly one in four said they would change their supervisor if they could start their programme again; the 2017 figure was similar.

The survey — created with Shift Learning, a London-based market-research company — had its bright spots. Overall, 67% of respondents said they were satisfied with their relationship with their supervisors, with 41% of those in Africa and South America saying they were very satisfied. Some are especially grateful. “When I started my PhD, I didn’t know about all of the possibilities,” says Marina Kovačević, a PhD student in physical chemistry at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. Now, she hopes to run her own laboratory, a goal that her co-supervisors encourage by letting her help to write proposals and take on other tasks of a lab leader. ”She is truly one of the most devoted PhD students,” says one supervisor, Branislav Jovic.

Read the rest of this discussion piece