In this very interesting post, Professor Jennifer Byrne (University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health, NSW Health Pathology) looks at the mistakes being made in circRNAs papers, even in high-profile, supposedly high-quality and distinguished publications.
She reflects on what might be the cause of those mistakes, why they are a big deal what could be the consequences.
Why is it that honest researchers make such a serious mistake?
Is a sign of lack of experience, insight and knowledge? Or is it an indication something far more dubious and questionable?
This very accessible post does a great job of explaining complex genetic concepts in lay terms.
This points to the need for research institutions and research publishers to have sufficient expertise in the topic, to truly understand circRNAs and reagents.
Human research projects often raise complex Data Management issues and considerations that can be pertinent for consent, privacy, risk management and research ethics review.
Research data is also an important element of research integrity, in that it serves as a record of the way in which the research project was conducted and the results of the work.
The data of the project could be useful and valuable for researchers conducting wider work in the same area. There are strong ethical reasons for the data to be in a form useful for sharing and the consent obtained allow for that sharing.
The responsible approach to that data should be informed by a mixture of institutional policy, the law /regulation and methodological standards.
In this post, Nichola Burton, Program Manager (Institutional Underpinnings), ARDC reflects on the issues confronting Australia Human Research Ethic Committees and their host institution.
In this terrific post, Jess Carniel of the University of Southern Queensland, reflects on research ethics committees engaging with researchers in discipline areas not included in core membership of a committee.
Jess Carniel is Senior Lecturer in Humanities in the School of Humanities and Communication, UniSQ.
She is also Deputy Chair of the USQ Human Research Ethics Committee and an Executive Member of the Centre for Heritage and Culture.
AHRECS agrees with and supports the approaches and ideas she discusses in this post.
We agree that the role research ethics committees should be approached positively to resource practice, rather than from within a bureaucratic frame to police research compliance with rules intended to constrain research practice.
If someone asked you for some recommended reading or viewing to help them understand human research ethics, animal ethics or research integrity, what would you recommend?
The policies and standards issued by National governments, learned societies, funding bodies and academic publications are generally not especially engaging or entertaining.
In this blog post, Sally Dalton-Brown discusses a couple of options from the streaming and fiction publishing offerings.
They won’t exactly discuss, explain or define the principles of ethical or responsible conduct. Neither will they explain how to adhere to national requirements or instutiona policy. That isn’t surprising, but that is probably not the point. Entertainment, enjoyment and a bit of fun is a great way to engage people with the important elements of ethical and responsible behaviour in the design and conduct of research.
This material could be usefully included in the resource library for members of an institution’s research ethics committee.
The need for ethical guidance for research other than human research or animal-based scientific work
In this post, AHRECS Senior Consultant, Gary Allen, reflects on the fact that some research that does not require research ethics review from a Human Research Ethics Committee or an Animal Ethics Committee involve serious ethical questions that could benefit from guidance and ethical standards.
He uses four topical cases to illustrate why this is an important matter.
(1.) Kennewick Man and the ancient DNA (aDNA) furore – A case where there was an argument about the providence of an ancient body and whether it was subject to First Nation considerations.
(2.) Karl Andersson’s Masturbation Over Child Porn autoethnography project – A case that raised concern and commentary about the ethical oversight of research where there is potential for public harm.
(3.) Myanmar Amber Studies – A question about researchers purchasing amber samples from the country of Myanmar, when there are concerns that the revenue could be used to fund human rights abuses.
(4.) Artifical Intelligence Ethics Review – The use of Artificial Intelligence can have the potential for discrimination of marginalised communities and individuals. Given this potential for harm, it has been asked if there is a need for some form of ethics review of this work.
In this very practical talk, AHRECS senior consultant, Gary discusses the positive and constructive ways in which a research ethics committee Chair can set the tone of the meeting.
Committees can, and should, have a role beyond the normal operational tasks (e.g. confirmation of the minutes), research ethics review (including the framing of review feedback) and involvement in the institutions approach to professional development for its research community.
The Chair has an essential role in regards to how the committee utilises national and institutional guidance material that frames the conduct reviews and the ethical design/conduct of research projects.
They can usefully also guide the committee towards constructive handling of matters such as conflicts of interest and typographical errors in the material submitted to the committee.
AHRECS has considerable experience in working with research institutions in this area, including mentoring for Chairs and Secretaries, coaching for committees and professional development.
In this incredibly helpful and practical post, Erich von Dietze (a senior consultant at AHRECS) reflects on the considerations, benefits and potential challenges when trying to structure your ethics committee (whether human research or Animal Ethics).
Like many matters in research governance (especially Human Research Ethics and Animal Ethics), there is no simple answer that is always right. Saving time and impediments in one area, can create more and introduce delays in another.
Erich discusses the options and explores the issues that require consideration.
Getting this right can mitigate against unexpected member absences, committee continuity and maintain the expertise and readiness of members.
Acting rashly can cause problems, take time and use up resources.
This item is a recommended read for research office staff, a secretaries, committee chairs and members.
In this great and very helpful post, Gary and Kim (from AHRECS) looks at the benefits of institutions establishing and keeping updated a register of their members.
Such a register could track, when a member was appointed to the committee, when their appointment is up for renewal and the maximum finish date for their appointment. It should also track the dates on which the member has participated in professional development.
Such a register can be a component of good governance with regards to the membership of a research ethics committee.
Maintaining a register of when members have participated in professional development activities can be a great way of reinforcing the expectation that members will regularly participate in professional development. There is of course a reciprocal obligation that institutions regularly conduct internal and fund participation and external professional development activities.
It is good practice for institutions to maintain a public register of the declaration of interest from members. At the very least, such a register should be easily accessible by members of the committee, but it is also recommended that the register be publicly available. Members should be encouraged to at least lodge their interests when they are first appointed and when their membership is renewed.
Indigenous children and young people’s participation in social research raises a range of ethical
What do HREC members think and do when deciding about children’s participation in social research? Results from the MESSI survey
In this guest post, Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin (UTS) reflects upon the reflections and attitudes of members of a research ethics committee when reviewing a project involving sensitive issues, where the participants are young people.
She reflects upon the degree that this consideration is based upon standards and expectations that are often not transparent to researchers and can be an impediment to useful/important research.
This post is based upon a longer research output that was about research exploring those attitudes.
This included whether there were topics that a research ethics committee member would never approve for a research project to explore with young people.
This work points to the need for specialist professional development for committee members relating to research on sensitive issues with young people.
This also raises the question of what guidance material institutions publish for researchers and for reference by research ethics reviewers.
Can you hear us? The Queensland experience of health research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
There is growing concern in Queensland about the conduct of health research meeting Indigenous
All Australian research institutions that receive NHMRC or ARC research funding or otherwise operate