Research Ethics Roundup: “publish or perish” incentives, lagging trial representation for older cancer patients, and more

This month’s Research Ethics Roundup covers enduring “publish or perish” incentives, a new grant program to increase the number of funded Black researchers, a beagle facility’s impending closure, and lagging trial representation for older cancer patients.

Why Won’t Academia Let Go of ‘Publish or Perish’?
Undark | Paul M. Sutter

The incentive structure of academic researchers prioritizes quantity of published papers over other—likely more useful—measures. This state of affairs has been under scrutiny for years, but, as Paul M. Sutter writes, “the vast majority of scientists are too entrenched in the current system to do anything about it.” The “inertia” Sutter describes afflicts both senior researchers, who are too successful within the system to meaningfully make changes to it, and younger researchers, who may want to change it but risk failure altogether if they choose not to participates in the system.

NIH launches grant program aimed at closing the funding rate gap between Black and white investigators
Science | Jocelyn Kaiser

A new grant program from NIH “could award up to $20 million a year to neuroscience, drug abuse, and mental health investigators from minority groups,” according to Science’s Jocelyn Kaiser. The program will be a new type of the famed R01 grant aimed at curbing the disparity between the likelihood of successfully winning one between Black and white scientists. However, the program is not NIH-wide, which has led to some criticism; currently, only the institutes of Drug Abuse, Mental Health, and Neurological Disorders and Stroke comprise the grant program.

Research Beagle Facility Ordered to Clean Up, Halt Breeding
The Scientist | Andy Carstens

Embattled research beagle breeder Envigo was ordered by the US District Court in West Virginia to sell some existing beagles and not to breed new ones. One of Envigo’s breeding sites, located in Cumberland, Virginia, will be shut down after USDA reported 70 AWA violations after an April site inspection, including overheating and dogs forced to stand “in their own feces and urine.”

We Must End Ageism in Cancer Clinical Trials
Scientific American | Dany Habr

Older people continue to be underrepresented in clinical trials, Dany Habr writes, which has contributed to their receiving worse cancer care than they might otherwise be able to access. Habr’s recommendations for solving this problem include reevaluating exclusion criteria, considering age-appropriate study endpoints, and increasing awareness of trials among the older population.