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(Europe) Science shouldn’t be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe – The Guardian (Carey Gillam0

Posted by Admin in on March 3, 2020
 

We must be able to trust the integrity of scientific research as we work to protect our families and our planet

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies submitted to regulators to prove the safety of the popular weedkilling chemical glyphosate came from a large German laboratory that has been accused of fraud and other wrongdoing.

The issues in play here are not abstract or hypothetical.  They touch on public safety and the public’s faith in science.

The findings come amid global debate over whether or not glyphosate causes cancer and other health problems and if regulators and chemical companies proclaiming the chemical’s safety actually have credible science on their side.Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.
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Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.
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‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2020
 

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.

An earlier report of a single retraction leads to an avalanche and research misconduct investigations.

Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies.
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Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data.
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We are all complicit in harassment and abuse – Nature (Virginia Valian | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 27, 2019
 

In August, a prominent professor issued a public apology to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. He said he had not known about the nature of Epstein’s crimes when he accepted donations from the financial tycoon and serial abuser of underage girls, but he acknowledged responsibility for helping to burnish the criminal’s reputation: information was there for the learning, had he thought to look for it.

The vast majority of scholars will never have crossed paths with Epstein, but many of us — myself included — are guilty of lapses, of instances when we failed to recognize or take steps to prevent abuse. It is past time for us to create effective ways to intervene.

Funding agencies have moved to curtail abuse, but they also helped to create a system that abets it. Research institutions tend to have money and power concentrated in too few hands. They tend to ignore reports of misconduct to ‘protect’ the school.

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“Do we have the will to do anything about it?” James Heathers reflects on the Eysenck case – Retraction Watch (James Heathers | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 12, 2019
 

We have a tension about resolving inaccuracies in scientific documents when they’re past a certain age.

The Hans Eysenck’s case is a useful and fruitful case for talking about the societal impacts of research misconduct, and to talk about fabrication and conflicts of interest, but it should also be used as a prompt for a proportional response to breaches and our shared responsibilities with regard to research integrity.

Specifically, what should we do with old papers that are shown to be not just wrong, which is a fate that will befall most of them, but seriously misleading, fatally flawed, or overwhelmingly likely to be fabricated, i.e. when they reach the (very high) threshold we set for retraction?
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To my way of thinking, there are three components of this:
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(1) the continuing use of the documents themselves as citable objects in contemporary research – some research stays current and relevant, other research is consigned to obscurity, or is so completely superseded that it has no bearing on contemporary research whatsoever.
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(2) the profile of the authors – some authors of such documents are alive, famous, and have theories with contemporary relevance. Others are dead, obscure, and have theories which have no continuation in any other papers. Like it or not, these authors are treated differently.
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