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

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

Good practice

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Interest in ‘self-plagiarism’1

 

Mark Israel

Mark Israel’s article in Research Ethics Monthly on ‘Self-plagiarism?’ has been receiving a little interest outside Australia and New Zealand. It was reposted by the LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog, and listed by Retraction Watch. Given that it offered guidance on the ethics of republishing in another language, it was nice to hear that the five pieces of advice had been translated into Mandarin by Zheng-Rong Gan for use at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan (reproduced below with her permission).

  • Assess whether your reasons are ethically defensible; 評估這麼做的理由在倫理上是否站得住腳
  • Seek the agreement of those involved in your first publication – co-authors, editors and publishers; in some cases, publishers will want a specific form of acknowledgement; 尋求出現在第一次出版相關文章/文字者的同意,其中可能包含共同作者、編輯、出版商(有時會要求有特定的認可方式)
  • Seek the agreement of those involved in the new publication that will be reproducing material – any co-authors, editors and publishers; 尋求此次新出版相關文章/文字者的同意,其中可能包含共同作者、編輯、出版商等
  • Clearly acknowledge in the new publication that you are drawing on the earlier publication and do so with the agreement of the various parties, 在新出版品中清楚註記出處,且註記方式能被原出版者及新出版者所認可
  • Where it would be misleading not to do so, also note the relationship between publications in your CV and any job or grant applications在您的學術履歷、研究經費或升等之類文件,務必清楚註記這些前後出版品的關係,以避免被誤解或重複計算發表篇數等

There were a few responses to the LSE Blog. One respondent pointed out the concept of ‘self-plagiarism’ is self-contradictory as one cannot plagiarise one’s own work. Mark Israel agrees with this respondent, notes that the term is in wide use and recognises that its use should be challenged. The same respondent pointed to the Ingelfinger Rule which has been adopted by journals who refuse to publish articles that have already been published elsewhere. The Rule has been modified and challenged over time, most recently in relation to the use of preprint servers (see Resnik, 2018).

Contributor
Mark Israel, Senior Consultant AHRECS | Profile | mark.israel@ahrecs.com

This post may be cited as:
Israel, M. (27 March 2019) Interest in ‘self-plagiarism’. Research Ethics Monthly. Retrieved from: https://ahrecs.com/research-integrity/interest-in-self-plagiarism

 

 

 

Why do we need Category D appointments on HRECs and how should we find suitable people?0

 

Judith C S Redman

The compulsory presence of the Category D members on Australian Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) can be controversial. Category D used to be termed ‘minister of religion’ and most HRECs recruited ordained Christian ministers to fill these roles, although at least one of the Monash University HREC Category D members has been a rabbi (recruited by me). People question the need for a ‘religious perspective’ on HRECs, especially on those that regularly look at research concerning issues like abortion, contraception or euthanasia, or stem-cell research where ‘the Church’ is seen to have negative stances. I am a Uniting Church minister and a long-term university chaplain, which makes me a prime target for recruitment to the Category D position on university HRECs. I am currently in my 18th year as a Category D appointment, serving my fourth university. Clearly, it is something I find interesting and rewarding and I would like to offer some comments on the nature of the position.

First, referring to the category as ‘minister of religion’ is misleading, because the role is not to provide a religious perspective per se. ‘Minister of religion’ was included as a category (along with lay woman, lay man and member external to the institution) in the First Report by the NH&MRC Working Party On Ethics in Medical Research published in 1982 (p 20) and incorporated into the first National Statement published in 1983. In the 1999 version of the National Statement, the position was listed as: ‘at least one member who is a minister of religion, or a person who performs a similar role in a community such as an Aboriginal elder’ (NHMRC, 1999, p 16 – emphasis mine), thus hinting that it was not the minister’s religious perspective that was being sought. In fact, even when Australian society was far less multi-faith than it is today, no one clergy-person could provide a representative religious perspective. The 2007 National Statement made the purpose more overt in describing the category as ‘at least one person who performs a pastoral care role in a community, for example, an Aboriginal elder, a minister of religion’ (NHMRC, 2007 p 81). This wording has carried across to the current revision. (NHMRC, 2018 p 87).

What, then, is it that Category D members of HRECs bring to meetings? What is pastoral care? Finding a simple definition is somewhat challenging but Grove (2004, p. 34) defines it as ‘all measures to assist an individual person or a community reach their full potential, success and happiness in coming to a deeper understanding of their own humanness’. Pastoral carers are not therapists, but they do come into contact with human beings at high and low points of their lives. Often, however, they see more every-day lows than those that typically cause people to make appointments with therapists – and very few people will pay a therapist to share joys. They do, however, come to congregational clergy and Aboriginal elders to share the joy of the birth of a child and to mark other rites of passage within the life of their communities. Pastoral carers thus have insights into how people make meaning in their lives that many other people are not privileged to share. They can therefore offer broader perspectives on how participants might respond to some kinds of research than can many other HREC members.

Second, ‘the Church’ does not have a uniform perspective on biomedical ethical issues. While some denominations have specific stances on abortion, contraception, euthanasia, stem-cell research and so on, others do not. In my own denomination, most forms of contraception are widely accepted although some, such as the ‘morning after pill’ would divide members and clergy alike. Abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research are all controversial, with Uniting Church members and clergy holding a range of opinions very close to the spread found in the wider community. It is therefore not possible to assume that any given Christian minister of religion will be against this kind of research as a matter of principle. This would also be true for pastoral carers from other world religions. Further, it is my experience as someone who has worked in a multicultural and multifaith university environment for several decades that while the things that divide religions are the things we notice most, we have far more in common than things that divide us. A fundamental part of most religions is an attempt to help people to understand what it means to be human, so someone with pastoral care experience from within a religious context can offer valuable insights into the human condition that are not bound by the teachings of her or his religion. They may well, for instance, have supported people making difficult decisions about biomedical ethical issues and have a better insight into whether the researchers have put appropriate measures in place for support of participants.

In addition, ministers of religion are not the only people on HRECs whose perspectives are shaped by religion. I have certainly known people serving in other roles on HRECs whose faith positions affect how they view some of the applications we are considering. The religious perspectives of Category D members are more likely to be overt, but any member of a HREC should declare a conflict of interest if s/he holds a faith/moral position that would not allow her/him to approve particular research no matter how well it complied with the National Statement. It is also quite likely that ministers of religion have studied ethics at a tertiary level as part of their ministry training.

Thus, I would argue that people with experience in providing pastoral care bring a unique and valuable perspective to the deliberations of HRECs, as long as they are selected with a little care. If you are responsible for recruiting members and biomedical research involving abortion, euthanasia, contraception or stem cell research and/or research around human sexuality and sexual orientation come up regularly in your business, you need to address the issues in your recruitment of Category D members. Although members of some religious groups are more likely to have problems with these issues, you cannot predict how a particular pastoral carer might react based on his or her religious group’s official policy. If you are replacing a Category D appointee or recruiting an extra one, the current one may be able to suggest colleagues that s/he thinks might be suitable. If you are setting up a new committee, the Category D appointees on nearby committees might have some ideas about suitable people. Some pastoral carers might even be willing to belong to more than one committee as long as the agendas are not too long and the meeting dates do not clash. In the end, however, you need to inform potential appointees about the kinds of issues you regularly deal with and ask them if they see any problem about their being able to assess these kinds of applications objectively. You also need to ensure that they understand that they are being recruited for their pastoral care experience not to provide a religious perspective. Taking these two steps should see your committee well served by your Category D appointments as they offer their particular perspectives on the applications before you.

We would like to build upon Judith’s excellent post about the pastoral position in future editions with similar commentaries about other positions.  Please contact us on HREC_members@ahrecs.com to discuss.

References

Grove, M. (2004). The Three R’s of Pastoral Care: Relationships, Respect and Responsibility. Pastoral Care in Education, 22(2), 34-38. doi:10.1111/j.0264-3944.2004.00261.x.

National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) (1982). First Report By NHMRC Working Party on Ethics In Medical Research: Research in Humans. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, ACT.

National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) (1999). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research involving Humans. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, ACT.

National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) (2007). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, ACT.

National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) (2018). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, updated 2018. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, ACT.

Contributor
Rev Dr Judith C S Redman, Chaplaincy Coordinator, Charles Sturt and La Trobe Universities, Albury-Wodonga Campuses | jredman@csu.edu.au

This post may be cited as:
Redman, JCS (27 March 2019) Why do we need Category D appointments on HRECs and how should we find suitable people? Research Ethics Monthly. Retrieved from: https://ahrecs.com/human-research-ethics/why-do-we-need-category-d-appointments-on-hrecs-and-how-should-we-find-suitable-people

Institutional approaches to evaluative practice0

 

Gary Allen, Mark Israel and Colin Thomson

In 2001, the NHMRC published its policy document When does Quality Assurance in Health Care Require Independent Ethical Review? The document was rescinded in 2007 and is no longer available since the update to the NHMRC website in 2018. Several changes led to the rescinding of the 2001 policy document:

    1. The release of the 2007 edition of the National Statement provided a mechanism for exempting work with de-identified data where the work involved no more than negligible risk.
    2. The 2007 edition of the National Statement established clear criteria for determining whether research could be reviewed outside of an HREC (e.g. a project cannot involve any greater than a low risk of harm and cannot involve matters the National Statement specifies as requiring HREC review). [1]
  1. The ‘pressure to publish’ has meant a significant amount of work that used to be conducted as an evaluation or for quality assurance is now being submitted for publication to refereed journals.
  2. Figure 1 – A version of this image, which is not watermarked, is available from https://www.patreon.com/ahrecs with a USD3/month subscription.

    Stakeholders and funders require services and expenditure to be based on robust evidence and analysis.

As a result,the distinctions between research, evaluative practice and quality assurance have become blurred to the point of no longer being helpful and the research ethics review mechanisms for exemption, proportional review and mandated HREC review in specified circumstances, might be sufficient for the appropriate handling of evaluative practice.

Nevertheless, submissions to the NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee prompted the release in 2014 of Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities.

Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities describes whether quality assurance and evaluation work requires research ethics review and the most appropriate way to approach that review. It:

  1. discusses how such activities can be conducted over a spectrum of work, which may change over time and the divide between evaluative practice and human research can be porous,
  2. concedes HREC review is often not helpful when the primary purpose of the activity is to inform and improve an organisation’s practice (rather than contribute to the wider body of knowledge),
  3. describes four matters [2] to which the design and conduct of evaluative practice must adhere,
  4. describes four criteria to identify where oversight but not review is required, [3]
  5. directs institutions to establish policies with regard to these matters, [4]  and
  6. at provision (e) describes circumstances where consideration of the need for review is required [5] and, where it is, offers guidance at provision (f) to appropriate levels of review.

The 2014 policy document therefore provides criteria to determine whether an institution’s evaluative practice/quality assurance activity requires:

  1. only administrative consideration [6] to confirm that the institution’s policies relating to the use of those data to assess its services are being/have been adhered to in the design of the work,
  2. a special research review process [7] within the organisation to test whether HREC review is required and to confirm the institution’s policies relating to evaluative practice have been adhered to in the design of the work, or
  3. ethics review by an HREC or another review body.

Given many staff will want to publish the outcome of evaluations and there will be academic interest in matters related to evaluations/quality assurance, the institution’s arrangements must not preclude academic publication.

The following approach is recommended:

  1. The institution needs to know what evaluative practice is being conducted and so must have a mandatory process for review that is similar to a scientific research review committee, but is also an institutional policy process (its review feedback should provide advice to facilitate the planned activity and relate to how to conduct the work ethically and successfully).
  2. There is a mechanism for the research review of evaluative practice/quality assurance, with some such reviews being delegated to a special panel or administrative review.
  3. The review pathway being initially determined by the responses to a sequence of yes/no questions.
  4. The responses to the questions being reviewed by an ethics officer(in the case of clinical audits this the person conducts the initial assessment will need relevant clinical expertise) who confirms the review pathway.
  5. Every 12 months a small proportion of evaluative projects are randomly selected for audit, not to revisit the decision but to confirm the process is working correctly.
  6. Policy and guidance material informs the ethical design, conduct, reporting and publication of evaluative practice/quality assurance, as well as its ethics review.
  7. There are briefing sheets (two double-sided A4 pages)
  8. For researchers: summarising the institution’s arrangements for evaluative practice/quality assurance (including a summary of their responsibilities).
  9. For heads of school/department: discussing their role in the review of services/procedures/teaching and learning in their area.
  10. For editors/publishers: explaining the institution’s arrangements, for provision by researchers if they are asked to provide a copy of the HREC approval.
  11. If the institution has a network of collegiate Research Ethics Advisers (see our earlier blog post about REAs) some advisers should be experienced in the conduct of evaluative practice.

Available for USD10/month to subscribers, AHRECS has created notes to inform the in-house development of A, B and C. A USD15/month subscription provides access to our growing library of materials.

AHRECS would be delighted to discuss an arrangement where we provide feedback on the materials you produce in-house or us producing the materials for you.

Email us at Patron@ahrecs.com with any question about our Patreon page or becoming a patron, or Evaluative@ahrecs.com to discuss how we could assist you with regard to the ethics of evaluative practice.

[1] Because of design factors such as the deception of participants, and participant factors such as research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

[2] What really matters is that:

  • participants in QA/evaluation are afforded appropriate protections and respect
  • QA and/or evaluation is undertaken to generate outcomes that are used to assess and/or improve service provision
  • those who undertake QA and/or evaluation adhere to relevant ethical principles and State, Territory and Commonwealth legislation
  • organisations provide guidance and oversight to ensure activities are conducted ethically including a pathway to address concerns.

[3] In many situations, oversight of the activity is required, but an ethics review is not necessary. These include situations where:

  • The data being collected and analysed is coincidental to standard operating procedures with standard equipment and/or protocols
  • The data is being collected and analysed expressly for the purpose of maintaining standards or identifying areas for improvement in the environment from which the data was obtained;
  • The data being collected and analysed is not linked to individuals; and
  • None of the triggers for consideration of ethics review (listed below) are present.

[4]  ‘Organisations should develop policies on QA/evaluation which provide guidance for oversight of QA or evaluation activities. It is recommended that such policies address the following issues’.

[5] Triggers for consideration of ethics review include:

  • Where the activity potentially infringes the privacy or professional reputation of participants, providers or organisations.
  • Secondary use of data – using data or analysis from QA or evaluation activities for another purpose.
  • Gathering information about the participant beyond that which is collected routinely. Information may include biospecimens or additional investigations.
  • Testing of non-standard (innovative) protocols or equipment.
  • Comparison of cohorts.

[6] Preferably prior to data collection commencing, but in the case of data collected prior to the adoption of this document, the check must occur prior to any use of the collected data.

[7] A Panel should be created for the purpose of conducting these reviews. Even though there are undeniable advantages from this panel being comprised in full (or at least primarily) of members of the institution’s HREC, it must be stressed to Panel members there are important and valid differences between academic research and evaluative practice. For this reason, a proportion of the Panel members should not be drawn from the HREC and should be experienced in the conduct of evaluative practice.

A template for the institutional policy and suggestions for the associated guidance material can be found in the AHRECS subscribers area https://www.patreon.com/posts/25446938.  Available for USD15/month patrons.

 

Contributors
Dr Gary Allen, Senior consultant AHRECS | Profile | gary.allen@ahrecs.com
Dr Mark Israel, Senior consultant AHRECS | Profile | mark.israel@ahrecs.com
Prof., Colin Thomson AM, Senior consultant AHRECS | Profile | colin.thomson@ahrecs.com

This post may be cited as:
Allen, G., Israel, M. and Thomson, C. (18 March 2019) Institutional approaches to evaluative practice. Research Ethics Monthly. Retrieved from: https://ahrecs.com/human-research-ethics/institutional-approaches-to-evaluative-practice

 

We’re working with a talented animator0

 

Gary Allen, Mark Israel, Colin Thomson

We are pretty excited to be working with an animation company on a couple of projects. Attached is an animation we commissioned that we will be using at the opening of our workshops and events. Please let us know what you think of it.

https://ahrecs.com/our-services

https://www.patreon.com/ahrecs

Drop us a line to enquiry@ahrecs.com if you want to discuss how AHRECS can assist your institution.

0