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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Historicizing the crisis of scientific misconduct in Indian science (Papers: Mahendra Shahare & Lissa Roberts | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on July 11, 2020


The Indian experience and recent approach is worth emulating.  National approaches should focus on institutions, structural incentives and only after that research culture.

A flurry of discussions about plagiarism and predatory publications in recent times has brought the issue of scientific misconduct in India to the fore. The debate has framed scientific misconduct in India as a recent phenomenon. This article questions that framing, which rests on the current tendency to define and police scientific misconduct as a matter of individual behavior. Without ignoring the role of individuals, this article contextualizes their actions by calling attention to the conduct of the institutions, as well as social and political structures that are historically responsible for governing the practice of science in India since the colonial period. Scientific (mis)conduct, in other words, is here examined as a historical phenomenon borne of the interaction between individuals’ aspirations and the systems that impose, measure, and reward scientific output in particular ways. Importantly, historicizing scientific misconduct in this way also underscores scientist-driven initiatives and regulatory interventions that have placed India at the leading edge of reform. With the formal establishment of the Society for Scientific Values in 1986, Indian scientists became the first national community worldwide to monitor research integrity in an institutionally organized way.

Scientific misconduct, fraud in science, research integrity, the Society for Scientific Values, India

Shahare, M., & Roberts, L. (2020). Historicizing the crisis of scientific misconduct in Indian science. History of Science

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):

Copyright Dough: a game to teach, and bring discussion, about copyright licences and exceptions – UK Copyright Literacy ( | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 15, 2020

Today’s guest blog post is from Hannah Pyman who is an Information Literacy Co-ordinator at the University of Essex. Within this role, she specialises in scholarly communication and research support. Having only been in this newly developed role since September 2019, Hannah is working with her colleagues to better establish how information literacy and scholarly communication work together in practice. Copyright Dough is a clear example of this, illustrating how information literacy techniques can be used to promote a broader understanding of a complex area of scholarly communication. Hannah also graduated from the University of Sheffield in January 2020 with an MA in Library and Information Services Management.

They had us at playdough. This is a fun way to get workshop participants hand-on with copyright and applying their knowledge in a delightfully kinaesthetic activity.

While we all see copyright as a topic of great excitement(!), it’s no secret that sometimes it can be difficult to get others to see the same. My colleague Katrine Sundsbo and I therefore took it upon ourselves to develop a new game to help engage users in the joys of copyright licences and exceptions. However, we were keen to ensure that every participant still went away from the game sessions having learnt a helpful amount about the sometimes-complicated world of copyright. Our other criteria was that the game could be shared amongst the community, as open education is something we are keen to pursue. So with those criteria in mind, Copyright Dough was born.

What is Copyright Dough?

Copyright Dough is an interactive game that gives participants a chance to put themselves in the position of different stakeholders. Within the game, we have termed these stakeholder roles as ‘creators’, ‘researchers’, ‘teachers’, and ‘students’. Each player begins the game by being given a card with one of these roles, along with some light-hearted information about their role’s character to help inspire them later (it is safe to say that we had a great time coming up with a whole range of guilty pleasures!).

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Friday afternoon’s funny – An innovation too far?0

Posted by Admin in on May 1, 2020

Cartoon by Don Mayne
Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)

Engaging professional development is essential for promoting a healthy research culture.  Drawing on innovations with regard to pedagogy is just smart, but there are techniques that work in some contexts that would be absurd with experienced researchers.