ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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


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:
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed

Guest Post — Open Research in Practice: Moving from Why to How? – Scholarly Kitchen (Fiona Murphy, et al | June 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 11, 2019

Today’s research knowledge can be harvested and data analyzed faster than has been possible in all previous generations combined. As a result, Open Research practices and outputs face a number of tensions between initial intentions and unforeseen consequences. For example, the FAIR Data Principles propose that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable — but nothing has prepared us for the use and misuse of personal data. Even if they start out ethically approved and safe in the researcher’s toolkit, they can later be sold to a third party in exchange for analytical services, enabling machines to identify disease states from a picture, classify your intelligence and demographic profile in four “likes” or less, or traffic organs and direct market to those that need them on social media.

And so our questions about Open Research are also changing — from “why” to “how” — amidst growing awareness that the required skill sets, both technical and social, are not yet part of the standard training programs for researchers. Consider, for example, the questions and challenges that early career researchers face as they critique a distinguished professor’s work while conducting an open peer review. How do they balance the need for research integrity and rigorous review without career-ending consequences? How do we protect reviewers who review in good faith only to be raked through the coals on social media, while the perpetrators are funded and their work is published.

So, if you actually want to practice Open Research, how do you learn about it? How do you balance effort with effect? How do you discover and validate the standards that are being adopted by your communities?

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A peer review card exchange game (Papers: Ružica Tokalićb & Ana Marušić | August 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 6, 2019


Peer review aims to ensure the quality of research and help journal editors in the publication process. COST action PEERE, which explores peer review, including its efficiency, transparency and accountability, organised a peer review school endorsed by EASE. We developed a card exchange game based on responsibility and integrity in peer review for a hands-on training session.

We used the approach for the development of training materials about responsible research and innovation developed by the HEIRRI project, and the principles of the card game for the popularisation of the philosophy of science.

We created 32 card statements about peer review, distributed across 6 domains: Responsiveness, Competence, Impartiality, Confidentiality, Constructive criticism and Responsibility to science. We adapted the instructions for the game and tested the game during the peer review school at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia, May 2018. The feedback by the participants was very positive.

The Peer Review Card Exchange Game could be used as an introductory activity for teaching integrity and ethics in peer review training.


Peer review, training, card game, research integrity

Tokalićb, R. & Marušić, A (2018) A peer review card exchange game. Journal: European Science Editing. 44(3) August 2018
Publisher (Open Access):
Supplement: ESE Peer Review Card Exchange Game_Supplement 1 Cards
Supplement 2: ESE Peer Review Card Exchange Game_Supplement 2 Instructions

(US) Rounding up the Belmont Report Retrospectives – Amp@sand (May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 27, 2019

Last month brought the 40th anniversary of the publishing of the Belmont Report, and along with that milestone came a reflection on how its values, conclusions, and imperatives have changed in the intervening years. A celebration of its durability has been accompanied by a necessary reckoning with the ways that a 40-year-old document may be ill-equipped to process the ethical issues brought about by technological, cultural, and political changes. Here, we’ve gathered a range of resources that look back on 40 years of the Belmont Report.

Safeguards for human studies can’t cope with big data
This provocative piece explores the ways in which the Belmont Report is insufficient for dealing with revolutionary digital technologies, arguing that “data science overlooks risks to human participants by default” and that it is “past time for a Belmont 2.0.” That new summit, the author argues, would need to engage with the currently “poorly understood risks and harms” that big data researches poses to humans.

A Belmont Report for Health Data (abstract available)
The New England Journal of Medicine
HIPAA offers robust protection of a limited range of data, but in 2019, the demands on humans’ health data come from far more directions than the 1996 legislation could anticipate. The authors of this NEJM piece call for a coordinated expansion of the scope of ethical review of the gathering, use, and manipulation of health data to account for sources such as “social-media platforms, health and wellness apps, smartphones [and] life insurers,” citing concerns about reidentification of deidentified data, discrimination, health profiling, and more.

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