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Fudged research results erode people’s trust in experts – The Conversation (Gavin Moodie | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on August 11, 2019
 

Reports of research misconduct have been prominent recently and probably reflect wider problems of relying on dated integrity protections.

The recent reports are from Retraction Watch, which is a blog that reports on the withdrawal of articles by academic journals. The site’s database reports that journals have withdrawn a total of 247 papers with an Australian author going back to the 1980s.

This compares with 324 papers withdrawn with Canadian authors, 582 from the UK and 24 from New Zealand. Australian retractions are 1.2% of all retractions reported on the site, a fraction of Australia’s 4% share of all research publications.

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Junior researchers are losing out by ghostwriting peer reviews – Nature (Virginia Gewin | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 26, 2019
 

Graduate students and postdocs who produce reviews under a senior colleague’s name receive no credit or acknowledgement for their work, and miss a chance to become acquainted with journal editors.

A large proportion of graduate students and postdocs ghostwrite peer reviews for senior colleagues and supervisors, receiving no professional credit for their work, finds a study1.

Co-authors of the article, which was posted on the preprint server bioRxiv on 26 April, surveyed 498 early-career researchers at institutions in the United States (74%), Europe (17%), Asia (4%) and elsewhere to assess how often junior scientists contribute to such reports and how they feel about them. Half of survey respondents said that they had ghostwritten a peer review, but 80% of those said that they felt the practice was unethical, according to the article.

The survey took pains to distinguish ghostwriting from co-reviewing, a well-established form of training in which an invited reviewer shares a manuscript with junior researchers to solicit their assessment of the paper’s quality; those researchers can expect to receive some type of credit for their efforts. With ghostwriting, by contrast, a principal investigator (PI) uses part or all of a junior researcher’s review contributions and provides no credit. Roughly 75% of survey respondents said that they had co-reviewed; 95% found it to be a beneficial practice and 73% deemed it ethical.

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Research integrity is much more than misconduct – Nature (C. K. Gunsalus | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 20, 2019
 

All researchers should strive to improve the quality, relevance and reliability of their work.

Start a conversation about research integrity and many researchers will assume you’re talking about misconduct. Too often, they are wrong.

Research misconduct encompasses fraud, fabrication and plagiarism. It is essential to deal with such dishonesty thoroughly and fairly, but it’s patching up a tear after the damage is done. Research integrity includes such investigations, but it is much more. It is about creating systems that boost the quality, relevance and reliability of all research.

The distinction is clear at the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity, being held this week in Hong Kong. Yes, there are sessions on misconduct — but there are many more on improving science overall. The biggest impact on research integrity is achieved through sustained improvements in day-to-day research practices — better record-keeping, vetting experimental designs, techniques to reduce bias, rewards for rigorous work, and incentives for sharing data, code and protocols — rather than narrow efforts to find and punish a few bad actors. (Both are important, of course, and sometimes the same policies can address both problems.)

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SPEECH: Actions to advance research integrity – Dr Alan Finkel AO (6th World Conference on Research Integrity | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 17, 2019
 

Looking around the room today, I’m reminded that research truly is a human pursuit: it thrives on face-to-face connections.

It’s easy to forget that, when you’re a student, and it’s late at night, and you’re the last person left in the lab – again.

So, every so often, it’s worth pausing to remember just how many people are out there, working hard, gathering data – just like you.

Worldwide, there are more than eight million researchers.

Every year, we produce well over a quarter of a million new PhDs.

China alone has added more than a million people to its research workforce since 2011.

Not all of these researchers will work in academia – but those who do are highly productive.

They publish in the order of four million academic journal articles every year, spread across more than 40,000 journals.

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