A session at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference will explore the physical, emotional and reputational risks involved in doing research, with the hope that this will in turn, provide a starting point for a more comprehensive framework for understanding how risk operates. Amiera Sawas will be co-chairing the session and writes here on her experiences with risks in […]
Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.
Millions of people—mostly in developing countries—lack access to life-saving drugs. Righting this imbalance is among the most important challenges of global public health of this century, argues Akansha Mehta. There is scant evidence to prove that frameworks for intellectual property rights and patent protection have benefited research, development and innovation in developing countries. When the laws of trade and commerce override the human […]
Neglecting to confront conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research unfairly burdens early career researchers
As public funding shrinks, industry-sponsored research may be a remedy. But Rebecca Cassidy reports back from a workshop on how the pressure caused by scarcity of funding and conflicts of interest in certain fields falls disproportionately on early career researchers, the most vulnerable members of the higher education precariat. Those who have yet to build up the social capital which comes […]
Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable research practice linked to perceived pressure to publish.
Upholding research integrity depends on our ability to understand the extent of misconduct. Sarah Necker describes her landmark study on economists’ research norms and practices. Fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are widely considered to be unjustifiable, but misbehaviour is still prevalent. For example, 1-3% of economists surveyed admit that they have accepted or offered gifts, money, or sex in exchange for […]
On Taxis and Rainbow Tables: Lessons for researchers and governments from NYC’s improperly anonymized taxi logs.
When New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission made publicly available 20GB worth of trip and fare logs, many welcomed the vast trove of open data. Unfortunately, prior to being widely shared, the personally identifiable information had not been anonymized properly. Vijay Pandurangan describes the structure of the data, what went wrong with its release, how easy it is to de-anonymize […]
The Outing of the Medical Profession: Data marathons to open clinical research gates to frontline service providers.
Could greater data transparency across the medical field solve the problem of unreliable evidence? Dr. Leo Anthony Celi charts the efforts to improve the publicly available MIMIC database, a creation of the public-private partnership between MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Philips Health-Care, through a series of data marathons. Data scientists, nurses, clinicians and doctors are coming together to collaborate and answer clinically […]
The value of sharing research data is widely recognised by the research community and funders are setting in place stronger policy requirements for researchers to share data. But the costs to researchers in sharing their data can be considerable and the incentives are sometimes few and far between. A recent report from the cross-disciplinary Expert Advisory Group on Data […]
Ahead of the March Against Slaughterhouses taking place worldwide this weekend, Stevan Harnad combines lessons from cognitive science and ethics in order to lay bare the widespread problem of the human treatment of animals. Ethics and law are predicated on the existence of feeling and as such reducing and eventually abolishing gratuitous suffering that humans are inflicting on animals is hence one of the most […]
Book Review: Insider Research On Migration And Mobility: International Perspectives on Researcher Positioning, edited by Lejla Voloder and Liudmila Kirpitchenko
Bringing together the latest international scholarship in the sociology and anthropology of migration, this volume explores the complexities, joys and frustrations of conducting ‘insider’ research. In this book, the authors set out to offer analyses of key methodological, ethical and epistemological challenges faced by migration researchers as they question the ways in which they come to identify with their research topic […]
In this book, Rose Barbour sets out to provide a clear, user-friendly introduction to the craft of doing qualitative research. The author’s writing style and the inclusion of numerous anecdotes from her own research, simultaneously demystify qualitative research whilst reiterating the expertise and skill which researchers must possess, writes Christina Dobson. Christina recommends this book to anyone undertaking qualitative research, postgraduate students in particular.
This review originally […]
Regardless of the rhetoric about more openness in academic research, institutions appear to be failing to address some of the deeper issues. In order to stave off the steady rise of regulation and monitoring and to present a coherent alternative to instrumental views about research, it falls to researchers themselves to define the ethos of openness. Andrew C. Rawnsley discusses the moral substance of claims about […]
Proving public value can be an especially difficult task when high-profile cases of fraud in social science disciplines emerge. Rose McDermott makes the case for greater transparency in both the production and review of social science to restore the legitimacy of the scientific endeavour. While no one practice can eliminate fraud, greater transparency can make it both more difficult to […]
Impact-monitoring research leads to clear EU policy recommendations to improve services for children of prisoners.
In England and Wales there are an estimated 200,000 children with a parent in prison, and on any given day, an estimated 800,000 children have a parent in prison in the European Union. The COPING team argue that this area has been in need of academic research, and explain how their focus on maintaining and monitoring impact has yielded some […]
There is sufficient evidence to suggest Whitehall is leaning on researchers to produce politically useful research.
The quality of scientific evidence in government heavily depends upon the independent assessment of research. Pressure from those commissioning the research may pose a threat to scientific integrity and rigorous policy-making. Edward Page reports that whilst there is strong evidence of government leaning, this leaning appears to have little systematic impact on the nature of the conclusions that researchers reach due to the presence […]
A publishing initiative launched earlier this year by the journal Cortex re-establishes the crucial importance of the scientific method. By asking scientists to register their proposed study, it ensures that papers are not judged depending on whether the results support or reject the hypothesis. George Lozano welcomes this initiative and hopes this publishing format will spread to other journals and […]
Drawing on the research from his recent study into rising retraction rates R. Grant Steen argues retractions alone may be a poor surrogate measure of scientific misconduct. Science cultures are shifting to become more aware of certain “crimes” and publishing cultures may also be more willing to take immediate action. Nevertheless, there is reason to suspect that misconduct may really be increasing […]
The ‘Call for Participants’ platform connects researchers with participants so as to improve the efficiency and accuracy of research trials.
Callforparticipants.com is a free online tool designed to address the many challenges faced by researchers in finding appropriate sample sizes for trials as well as helping participants looking to get more involved. Matthew Terrell and Martin Kruusimägi provide an overview of the platform, identifying how trust, security and transparency are necessary to ensure the tool’s lasting success. About six months into my PhD […]