Category / Research Integritiy

Paper by BU academics used as example in Dutch university newsletter

The March 2015 newsletter of the Dutch University of Groningen’s School for Behavioural & Cognitive Neurosciences dedicated two pages to the question: ‘How to pick the right journal?’    The author of the English-language newsletter contribution, Liwen Zhang, offer its readers a brief introduction on journal selection for a scientific manuscript.  The newsletter piece is based on two papers which both share their submission stories and suggestions of journal selection.  We were pleased to see that one of these two papers is by two Bournemouth University professors: Hundley and van Teijlingen.  Their paper which gives advice on one specific aspect of academic publishing is called ‘Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper’ [1].  It was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing in 2002.

 

 

Reference:

  1.  vanTeijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2002) Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper, Journal of Advanced Nursing 37(6): 506-511.

We regret to inform you ….

It is always disappointing for an academic author to receive a rejection letter.   Today I received yet another one from Midwifery (published by Elsevier).   Sometimes I think academic publishing in good journal is not getting any easier over time.  Neither does the experience of having  over two hundred peer-reviewed academic papers make a rejection easier to deal with.  This was my third paper in a row that got rejected by Midwifery.  All three papers were rejected on resubmission, so a lot of extra work had gone into these papers after the initial peer review and the editor’s feedback.  These three papers where led by three different postgraduate students (Sharma, Baral & Burton) as first authors, and in each case co-authored by myself and different BU academics and/or from other universities.

Midwifery is the journal in which I have published more papers than any other journal (see top blue piece of pie in ‘Documents by source’) as reported on SCOPUS today (26 April 2015).  Moreover, I am co-author of one of the top five most downloaded papers in Midwifery for 2014 (see recent BU Research Blog), and this paper is also the most cited Midwifery paper since 2010!   Still I manage to have three papers rejected in a row.

What is does show to me is that the journal’s peer review system is robust (i.e. blind and impartial) because I am also a member of Midwifery’s editorial committee.  I think it is back to the drawing board and discuss with each set of authors what the next step should be for our papers.  To be fair we had a paper published already this year in Midwifery, namely:  Grylka-Baeschlin, S., van Teijlingen, E.R., Stoll, K., Gross, M.M. (2015) Translation and validation of the German version of the Mother-Generated Index and its application during the postnatal period. Midwifery 31(1): 47–53.

As an editorial board we try continuously to maintain a high quality of papers to be published in our journal, and we would like to encourage potential authors to keep submitting their papers to Midwifery.

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

Impact of fatigue management research in Multiple Sclerosis – FACETS, IMSPIRE and beyond

Lunchtime Seminar with Peter Thomas, Wednesday 15th April 1-1.50pm, R303

Please come to listen to Professor Peter Thomas present on the impact that his research into fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis is having, noting the importance of research with strong potential for patient benefit, and the importance of the research funder.

Further information on this Seminar series can be found by clicking on the link below.

Impact Seminar dates 2015

There is no need to book – just turn up. Contact Zoe on zsheppard@bournemouth.ac.uk for more information.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The editor is a *!@#*!

Editors of academic journals are regularly cursed by academics worldwide.  At universities across the globe we can regularly hear expression such as “Who does the editor think he is rejecting my paper?” or “Why does it have to take six months (or more) to find out my paper is rejected?” or “Why does the editor not understand how good/novel/innovative/… our paper is?  These kinds of expression of dismay may or may not be accompanied by an expletive.  Being both busy editors and well published authors we thought timely to put pen to paper and explain the work (role and limitations) of the typical editor of an international academic journal.

First, being an editor is not all bad, and is actually a privilege. It is an opportunity to nurture new authors, be at the forefront of your discipline and it is part of being a ‘serious’ scholar. However, we have been at the receiving end of the wrath of authors dissatisfied with something we did or didn’t do as an editor AND we have been disappointed as authors with what we perceived to be, poor editorial decisions!

We wrote a short outline of the proposed paper and send it to the editor of Women and Birth.  The idea was readily accepted and resulted in a paper published this week in the scientific journal.

The paper includes little snippets of insight and advice to authors.  For example, a reminder that the average editor of an academic journalist an unpaid volunteer, usually a full-time lecturer and/or researcher with a busy day job, who does most of her editorial work on Sunday morning when the kids are still in bed or Tuesday night after the second-year marking has been completed. We hope that knowledge of the editors’ role will help authors (a) understand the submission process better; and (b) be a little bit more patience with the editors.  And, last but not least, we hope our article helps the development of editors of the future.

 

Jenny Hall, Vanora Hundley & Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

Reference:

Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The Journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth (accepted). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871519215000104

Showcasing Research Impact in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Research should make a difference, and as the Faculty’s strapline is ‘helping to make people’s lives better’, it is of relevance to us all. Our forthcoming Seminar series will showcase some of the excellent work of the Faculty to inspire other academics and PhD students.

Further information on this Seminar series can be found by clicking on the link below. The first lunchtime seminar will be taking place on Wednesday 4th March, presented by Zoe Sheppard in R302, Royal London House.

Impact Seminar dates 2015

There is no need to book – just turn up. Contact Zoe on zsheppard@bournemouth.ac.uk for more information.

We look forward to seeing you there.

RKEO Coffee Morning – Today!

The RKEO coffee morning is today in the RKE Office on the 4th Floor Melbury House (Lansdowne Campus) starting at 9.30am. The morning will concentrate on the wonders of the Project Delivery Team within RKEO, its personnel, the work they do and how they can help you with live surgeries and demonstrations on open access, BRIAN, the online ethics checklist and RED so please come along!

The Team has three specialist areas: Finance, Outputs and Governance which feed into Faculty dedicated teams. So if you want to know more about managing projects, applying for ethics approval, how to use BRIAN, Open Access or anything else Research and Knowledge Exchange focused please come along and have a chat with us, or just to enjoy a coffee and cake.

 

The coffee morning will be held in the RKE Office on the 4th Floor Melbury House (Lansdowne Campus) starting at 9.30am on Wednesday 4th February.

 

We look forward to seeing you!

BU Professor at COST Action Training School (Malta)

Bournemouth University contributed to the successful Cost Action Training School 2013 earlier this month (see: www.um.edu.mt/events/costactiontraining2013/). The Training School ‘Writing for maternity services research, theory, policy and practice: Integrating new theoretical insights from the iR4B COST Action’ was held at the University of Malta.
The 24 trainees who were successful in their application came from a wide-range of European countries. At the Training School each trainee was linked to one of six experienced trainers, three from Ireland: Prof. Declan Devane, Dr. Valerie Smith, and Prof Cecily Begley, and three from the UK: Prof. Soo Downe, Dr. Lucy Firth, and BU Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. These trainers brought to the Training School not only their extensive experience as writers, but also that of scientific editors, reviewers for academic journals, and PhD supervisors.

(photo by Mário Santos, Portugal).

The Training School included presentations on how to incorporate notions of salutogenesis and complexity into maternity care and midwifery publications, issues around writing academic English as a non-native English speaker, plagiarism, how to start writing an academic paper for a MSc or PhD thesis, and many more related topics.
In their feedback some trainees stressed that this is the kind of helpful information every postgraduate student and budding academic should know about. Others said “I wish I had known that before as no one ever addresses these issues.” The trainees discussed the outlines of their papers, and they were given ample time to draft papers under the watchful eye of their trainer. All trainees have committed to submit a paper derived from the Training School by early Spring 2014.
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is one of the longest-running European frameworks supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe. For further information on OST in general see: http://www.cost.eu/ ).

Bournemouth University was represented by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen based at the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health in the School of Health & Social Care.

HEFCE grants tied to research integrity

The Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) recently announced that all UK research institutions must comply with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity in order to be eligible for grants.

HEFCE stated, ‘we are party to a formal agreement or ‘concordat’ about standards and integrity in UK research. This sets out five commitments that assure Government, the wider public and the international community, that the highest standards of rigour and integrity will continue to underpin research in the UK.’

This condition will apply from 2013-14 and follows their consultation earlier in the year on implementing the concordat. HEFCE’s decision was prompted by a consultation on how best to implement the concordat. Of the respondents, 82 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that compliance with the concordat should be a condition of HEFCE grant funding. Only 11 per cent of respondents said that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the suggestion. The 78 respondents included 59 universities.

The Concordat sets out five commitments:

  • Maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research;
  • Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards;
  • Supporting a research enivironment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity;
  • Using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise;
  • Working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly.

Universities UK developed the concordat with the funding and research councils, the Wellcome Trust and a number of government departments. It was launched on 11 July 2012.

This follows Research Councils UK’s announcement that demonstrating compliance with the concordat will be a condition of further funding for universities.

Research Ethics: Insights from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health and the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy

Ethics contributions

Collage of research ethics contributions

Academics based in HSC have experience in a wide-range of research.  In the process of reflecting on all aspects of the research process several members of HSC have published about ethical issues that they have had to address in their own research.    This BU Blog highlights some of these key HCS papers which may help fellow academics and students across the globe address similar ethical questions.  HSC has a history of publishing on research ethics, Professor Emerita Immy Holloway wrote about the researcher who may have a dual role, or even conflicting role, as researcher and health care professional (1).  More recently, several midwifery researchers in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health wrote about the issues facing practitioners doing research in the field where they work, especially concerning the similarities and differences between professional ethics and research ethics (2-3).  Negotiating ethical paths cleaved by competing concerns between protecting research participants and over-managing the ethical process is tricky.

In her book Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree in the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, addresses the problematic issue of gate-keepers in research together with the ethics of critical observation of abuse (potential or actual), as well as the ethics of advocating on behalf of research participants (4).

The fear that the ethical application process in the UK is becoming more and more cumbersome and bureaucratic has been widely recognised as highlighted by Prof. van Teijlingen and colleagues (5-6).

Research ethics review processes are also considered in terms of access to participants regarded as ‘vulnerable’ in a recently published paper by Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree (7) of ethnographers working in health settings who are seeking to understand the context of care and patient/service user experiences.  She concludes that paternalistic control of participation on the grounds of ethical protection of vulnerable people seriously disenfranchises potential participants in preventing them from being able to share their relevant, lived experiences as recipients of service provision.

Prof. van Teijlingen and BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Padam Simkhada highlighted that the social, cultural and economic contexts in which research is conducted often differ between developing and developed countries.  However they stress that researchers need to apply for research ethics approval to the relevant local authority, if national legislation requires one to do so (8).

A new and challenging area of research is the use of discussion boards as a source of research data.  In their paper Dr. Bond and BU colleagues discuss both practical and ethical dilemmas that arise in using such data (9). In earlier research, Prof. Parker of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, highlighted some of the benefits and dangers of using email and the Internet for research as the potential for electronic media continues its rapid growth (10).

Obtaining informed consent is something that all researchers need to consider. However, in some research situations obtaining consent can be particularly challenging.  Prof. Hundley and colleagues discuss the ethical challenges involved in conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial, where consent needs to be considered at a number of levels (11).  In a second paper issues of consent during pregnancy, where there is the potential for harm to two participants, are considered (12).

In research into the implications of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for social research, Prof. Parker explored the contested meanings and difficulties associated with informed consent in social research, highlighting some of the challenges raised by an almost unquestioned acceptance of biomedical research ethics in social research and questioning whether potential ‘harm’ is different in this context (13, 14). This research has led to further explorations of the potential for ethical covert research by Prof. Parker and Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree.

 

The way forward

There a plenty of challenges to research ethics in both the health and social care sectors.  Ethical considerations relate to technological developments such conducting research over the Internet or the analysis of tweets.  HSC staff will continue to publish on a range of moral dilemma as well as practical issues related to research ethics.  Moreover, academic from the two centres are planning a Masterclass on research ethics to be held in early 2014.

 

 

References

  1. Holloway, I., Wheeler, S. (1995) Ethical Issues in Qualitative Nursing Research, Nursing Ethics 2: 223-232.   Web address:  http://nej.sagepub.com/content/2/3/223.full.pdf+html
  2. Ryan, K., Brown, B., Wilkins, C., Taylor, A., Arnold, R., Angell, C., van Teijlingen, E. (2011) Which hat am I wearing today? Practicing midwives doing research, Evidence-Based Midwifery 9(1): 4-8.
  3. van Teijlingen, E.R., Cheyne, H.L. (2004) Ethics in midwifery research, RCM Midwives Journal 7 (5): 208-10.
  4. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2012) Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia, London: Whiting & Birch.
  5. van Teijlingen, E., Douglas, F., Torrance, N. (2008) Clinical governance and research ethics as barriers to UK low-risk population-based health research? BMC Public Health 8(396)                            Web address: www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-8-396.pdf
  6. van Teijlingen, E. (2006) Reply to Robert Dingwall’s Plenary ‘Confronting the Anti-Democrats: The unethical Nature of Ethical Regulation in Social Science, MSo (Medical Sociology online) 1: 59-60  Web address:  www.medicalsociologyonline.org/archives/issue1/pdf/reply_rob.pdf
  7. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2013) Research ethics approval processes and the moral enterprise of ethnography. Ethics & Social Welfare. Advance Access: DOI:10.1080/17496535.2012.703683
  8. van Teijlingen E.R., Simkhada, P.P. (2012) Ethical approval in developing countries is not optional, Journal of Medical Ethics 38 :428-430.
  9. Bond, C.S,  Ahmed, O.H., Hind, M, Thomas, B., Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2013) The Conceptual and Practical Ethical Dilemmas of Using Health Discussion Board Posts as Research Data, Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(6):e112)  Web address: http://www.jmir.org/2013/6/e112/
  10. Parker, J.  (2008) Email, ethics and data collection in social work research: some reflections from a research project, Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate & Practice, 4 (1): 75-83.
  11. Hundley, V, Cheyne, HC, Bland, JM, Styles, M, Barnett, CA.. (2010) So you want to conduct a cluster randomised controlled trial? Lessons from a national cluster trial of early labour, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16: 632-638
  12. Helmreich, R.J., Hundley, V., Norman, A., Ighedosa, J., Chow, E. (2007) Research in pregnant women: the challenges of informed consent, Nursing for Women’s Health 11(6):  576-585.
  13. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D., 2010. Problem or safeguard? Research ethics review in social care research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Social Care & Neurodisability, 1 (2): 22-32.
  14. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D. (2011) Research ethics review: social care and social science research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Ethics & Social Welfare, 5(4): 380-400.

 

Vanora Hundley, Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Jonathan Parker & Edwin van Teijlingen

 

 

Festival of Learning – Testament to a Successful Morning (Dr Simon Thompson, DEC Psychology Research Centre)

‘Testamentary Capacity in Dementia’ (03 June 2013 10:00h – 13:00h) – Presentation followed by in-depth plenary session about the complexities of leaving an estate to beneficiaries following a diagnosis of dementia.

‘Dementia’ is an umbrella term used to describe many types of deteriorating diseases – the most common ones are Alzhiemer’s disease, Vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.

Many married couples own property as ‘joint tenants’. Upon death, ownership automatically passes to the survivor. If property is owned as ‘tenants in common’, one half of the estate belonging to the deceased is dealt with by their Will. Problems arise when there is no Will, when others make a claim, or when another Will is executed.

‘Testamentary capacity’ is a person’s legal and mental ability to make a
valid Will. There are three premises: Presumption of capacity; Requirements; Proof of testamentary capacity.

It is proposed that the law should allow testators alternative means of satisfying the testamentary capacity standard such as an option to validate a testator’s capacity during their lifetime through forensic assessment measuring cognitive elements of testamentary capacity.

It does not remove the difficulty of knowing the status of person at a specific time line. However, it goes some way to describing a person during their lifetime in terms of mental ability and capacity.

Thompson, SBN (2006). Dementia and memory: a handbook for students and professionals. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Thompson, SBN (2012). Dementia. In SBN Thompson (Ed), Psychology of trauma: clinical reviews, case histories, research (pp169-202). Portsmouth: Blackwell-Harvard-Academic.

Publish empirical or experimental data early whilst letting theory mature?

My colleagues and I have written several papers to help budding researchers about the process of writing and publishing academic papers (Hundley, & van Teijlingen 2002; van Teijlingen 2004; Pitchforth et al. 2005; van Teijlingen et al. 2012; Simkhada et al. 2013). For all researchers – students and staff alike publishing research findings is important as new insights will add to the existing knowledge base, advance the academic discipline and, in the case of applied research, perhaps improve something in the lives of others such as, well-being, the economy or the environment. Apart from this general/altruistic drive to add to knowledge, the advice academics give our postgraduate students is: to get your study published as soon as possible. The two main reasons for publishing early are: (a) getting into print to potentially help your careers; and (b) staking once claim as an authority in the field and/or publishing your findings before someone else does.
As always there are exceptions to the rule. As academics we agree that trying to get into print early is a good personal strategy for an early researcher or a postgraduate student especially for those working with empirical or experimental data. However, occasionally it is better to wait and give the underlying idea in the paper time to develop and mature. The kind of paper that often improves with time is one based on theory. Let me share a personal example: a theoretical paper from my PhD (awarded by the University of Aberdeen in 1994). This paper started life as a theory chapter in my PhD thesis (van Teijlingen 1994). This chapter on models of maternity care was not the strongest part of my thesis and it took me another decade of fine-tuning to get it into a state worth publishing. The paper ‘A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth’ was finally published in Sociological Research Online, the original online-only Sociology journal in the world (van Teijlingen 2005). The wait was worthwhile as the paper is today (May 2013), eight year after publication, the seventh ‘most viewed articles during the past eight weeks’ in the journal (see: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/stats/top20.html).
In conclusion, it is generally sound advice to new researchers and postgraduate students to publish early. Occasionally though, waiting and giving your paper time to improve through discussion with colleagues, presenting the ideas at conferences and on blogs may lead to a better final product.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
School of Health & Social Care

References
Hundley, V., van Teijlingen E. (2002) How to decide where to send an article for publication? Nursing Standard 16(36): 21.
van Teijlingen (1994) A social or medical comparison of childbirth? : comparing the arguments in Grampian (Scotland) and the Netherlands (PhD thesis), Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen. Available online in the British Library (search for: uk.bl.ethos.387237 ).
Teijlingen van, E. (2004) Why I can’t get any academic writing done, Medical Sociology News 30 (3): 62-6.
van Teijlingen, E. (2005) A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Sociological Research Online 10(2) Freely available online at: www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/teijlingen.html.
Pitchforth, E., Porter, M., Teijlingen van, E.R., Forrest Keenan, K. (2005) Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31 (2): 132-135.
Teijlingen van, E., Simkhada. P.P., Simkhada, B., Ireland, J. (2012) The long and winding road to publication, Nepal Journal Epidemiology 2(4): 213-215. http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093
Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11 (1): 1-5. www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Pp_1_5_Guest_Editorial.pdf