More ethics in the laboratory, please! Scientists’ perspectives on ethics in the preclinical phase

Authors : Paola Buedo, Eugenia Prieto, Jolanta Perek-Białas, Idalina Odziemczyk-
Stawarz, Marcin Waligora

In recent years there have been calls to improve ethics in preclinical research. Promoting ethics in preclinical research should consider the perspectives of scientists. Our study aims to explore researchers’ perspectives on ethics in the preclinical phase.

Using interviews and focus groups, we collected views on ethical issues in preclinical research from experienced (n = 11) and early-stage researchers (ESRs) (n = 14) working in a gene therapy and regenerative medicine consortium. A recurring theme among ESRs was the impact of health-related preclinical research on climate change.

They highlighted the importance of strengthening ethics in relations within the scientific community. Experienced researchers were focused on technicalities of methods used in preclinical research. They stressed the need for more safeguards to protect the sensitive personal data they work with.

Both groups drew attention to the importance of the social context of research and its social impact. They agreed that it is important to be socially responsible – to be aware of and be sensitive to the needs and views of society.

This study helps to identify key ethical challenges and, when combined with more data, can ultimately lead to informed and evidence-based improvements to existing regulations.

URL : More ethics in the laboratory, please! Scientists’ perspectives on ethics in the preclinical phase


La crédibilité des matériaux ethnographiques face au mouvement d’ouverture des données de la recherche

Auteur.ices/Authors : Alix Levain, Florence Revelin, Anne-Gaëlle Beurier, Marianne Noël

Les politiques d’ouverture des données de la recherche s’appuient sur des arguments de transparence, d’innovation et de démocratisation des savoirs. Cet article vise à rendre intelligibles leurs implications pour les communautés travaillant à partir de données ethnographiques, confrontées à une transformation des critères de reconnaissance de la crédibilité des savoirs qu’elles produisent.

Alors que les chercheur·e·s qui pratiquent l’ethnographie sont engagé·e·s dans des formes situées de partage des matériaux avec les pair·e·s, les autres disciplines et les « communautés sources », le renforcement du contrôle externe sur les conditions dans lesquelles ce partage s’effectue déstabilise les économies de la crédibilité qui structurent ces pratiques.

Davantage qu’une réticence au processus d’ouverture, le retrait des ethnographes du mouvement apparaît au terme de notre analyse comme résultant à la fois de l’existence d’écologies alternatives des matériaux empiriques et d’une éthique des marges incorporée dans des normes professionnelles souvent implicites.


Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies

Authors : Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Graham Kendall

Academics (should) strive to submit to journals which are academically sound and scholarly. To achieve this, they could either submit to journals that appear exclusively on safelists (occasionally referred to as whitelists, although this term tends to be avoided), or avoid submitting to journals on watchlists (occasionally referred to as blacklists, although this term tends to be avoided).

The most well-known of these lists was curated by Jeffrey Beall. Beall’s Lists (there are two, one for stand-alone journals and one for publishers) were taken offline by Beall himself in January 2017.

Prior to 2017, Beall’s Lists were widely cited and utilized, including to make quantitative claims about scholarly publishing. Even after Beall’s Lists became obsolete (they have not been maintained for the past six years), they continue to be widely cited and used. This paper argues that the use of Beall’s Lists, pre- and post-2017, may constitute a methodological error and, even if papers carry a disclaimer or limitations section noting this weakness, their conclusions cannot always be relied upon.

This paper also argues for the need to conduct a detailed post-publication assessment of reports in the literature that used Beall’s Lists to validate their findings and conclusions, assuming that it becomes accepted that Beall’s Lists are not a reliable resource for scientific investigation.

Finally, this paper contends that any papers that have identified methodological errors should be corrected. Several lists that were cloned from Beall’s Lists have also emerged and are also being cited. These should also be included in any post-publication investigation that is conducted.

URL : Academia should stop using beall’s lists and review their use in previous studies


Contours of a research ethics and integrity perspective on open science

Authors : Tom Lindemann, Lisa Häberlein

This article argues that adopting a research ethics and integrity perspective could support researchers in operationalizing the open science guiding principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary” in a responsible and context-sensitive manner.

To that end, the article points out why the guiding principle as such provides only a limited extent of action-guidance and outlines the practical value of ethical reflection when it comes to translating open science into responsible research practice.

The article illustrates how research ethics and integrity considerations may help researchers understand the ethical rationale underpinning open science as well as recognize that limiting openness is necessary or at least normatively permissible in some situations.

Finally, the article briefly discusses possible consequences of integrating open science into a responsibility-centered framework and implications on research assessment.

URL : Contours of a research ethics and integrity perspective on open science


Creating research ethics and integrity country report cards: Case study from Europe

Authors : Andrijana Perković Paloš, Rea Roje, Vicko Tomić, Ana Marušić

Structures for and practices of research integrity (RI) and research ethics (RE) differ among countries. This study analyzed the processes and structures for RI and RE in Europe, following the framework developed at the World Conferences on Research Integrity.

We present RI and RE Country Report Cards for 16 European countries, which included the information on RI and RE structures, processes and outcomes. While some of the countries are front-runners when it comes to RI and RE, with well-established and continually developing policies and structures, others are just starting their journey in RI and RE.

Although RI and RE contextual divergences must be taken into account, a level of harmonization among the countries is necessary so that researchers working in the European area can similarly handle RI and RE issues and have similar expectations regardless of the organization in which they work. RI and RE Country Report Cards can be a tool to monitor, compare, and strengthen RE and integrity across countries through empowerment and inspiration by examples of good practices and developed systems.

URL : Creating research ethics and integrity country report cards Case study from Europe


Open science and conflict of interest policies of medical and health sciences journals before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A repeat cross-sectional study

Authors : Antoni D. Gardener, Ellen J. Hick, Chloe Jacklin, Gifford Tan, Aidan G. Cashin, Hopin Lee, David Nunan, Elaine C. Toomey, Georgia C. Richards


To audit the transparent and open science standards of health and medical sciences journal policies and explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Repeat cross-sectional study.


19 journals listed in Google Scholar’s Top Publications for health and medical sciences.


Blood, Cell, Circulation, European Heart Journal, Gastroenterology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Translational Medicine, The British Medical Journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, The Lancet Oncology, and The New England Journal of Medicine.

Main outcome measures

We used the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guideline and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) requirements for disclosing conflicts
of interest (COIs) to evaluate journals standards.


TOP scores slightly improved during the COVID-19 pandemic, from a median of 5 (IQR: 212.5) out of a possible 24 points in February 2020 to 7 (IQR: 4–12) in May 2021, but overall, scores were very low at both time points. Journal policies scored highest for their adherence to data transparency and scored lowest for preregistration of study protocols and analysis plans and the submission of replication studies. Most journals fulfilled all ICMJE provisions for reporting COIs before (84%; n = 16) and during (95%; n = 18) the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of practising open science. However, requirements for open science practices in audited policies were overall low, which may impede progress in health and medical research. As key stakeholders in disseminating research, journals should promote a research culture of greater transparency and more robust open science practices.

URL : Open science and conflict of interest policies of medical and health sciences journals before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A repeat cross-sectional study


Publication by association: how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown relationships between authors and editorial board members in the field of infectious diseases

Authors : Clara Locher, David Moher, Ioana Alina Cristea, Florian Naudet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rush to scientific and political judgements on the merits of hydroxychloroquine was fuelled by dubious papers which may have been published because the authors were not independent from the practices of the journals in which they appeared.

This example leads us to consider a new type of illegitimate publishing entity, ‘self-promotion journals’ which could be deployed to serve the instrumentalisation of productivity-based metrics, with a ripple effect on decisions about promotion, tenure and grant funding, but also on the quality of manuscripts that are disseminated to the medical community and form the foundation of evidence-based medicine.