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Caught Our Notice: Reporter’s inquiry prompts financial disclosure in autism paper – Retraction Watch (Alison Abritis | October 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Caught Our Notice: Reporter’s inquiry prompts financial disclosure in autism paper – Retraction Watch (Alison Abritis | October 2017)

Published/Released on October 30, 2017 | Posted by Admin on November 29, 2017 / , , , ,
 


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Title: Promoting child-initiated social-communication in children with autism: Son-Rise Program intervention effects

This case is a 'good' example for professional development activities, especially with HDR candidates and supervisors, of where an undisclosed conflict of interest can not only completely undermine the impact of a research output and damage the reputation of a research team, it runs the risk that an entire area of research could be sullied.

What caught our attention: When journalist Brendan Borrell was investigating a controversial autism treatment program for Spectrum, he came across a study where lead author Kat Houghton failed to disclose a prior relationship with the treatment center that taught the program, called Son-Rise.
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The Spectrum article notes:
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“In 2013, psychologist Kat Houghton, a former employee of the Option Institute, published the first attempt to evaluate the Son-Rise Program, studying only 12 children with autism. According to court records, the institute agreed to pay Houghton $16,500 to gather, code and analyze data for the treatment study, but Houghton did not disclose any conflict of interest in the published article. Houghton directed questions about the research funding to psychologist Charlie Lewis at Lancaster University in the U.K., who is a co-author on the study and her Ph.D. advisor. Lewis says he was unaware that Houghton was explicitly paid for that research, but that they had both been “passionately committed to an unbiased study design and a completely independent research process.”
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