The journal Science, considered to be one of the world’s leading academic journals, has this week retracted a widely reported study on the effects of microplastics on fish, in the wake of a damning statement by the Expert Group on Dishonesty in Research of Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board. Retraction Watch reports that this comes after months of questions about the validity of the study data.
The Expert Group concluded that the study authors “have been guilty of scientific dishonesty”, and levels strong criticism at the journal Science for accepting the paper, and at Uppsala University for it’s poor investigation of the matter, stating that:
According to the Expert Group’s assessment, it is remarkable that the article, given [its] deficiencies, was accepted by the journal Science.
…the Expert Group finds it remarkable that Uppsala University, in its preliminary investigation of 31 August 2016, found no support for the presence of dishonesty in the research carried out by Peter Eklöv and Oona Lönnstedt.
Scientific dishonesty such as this acts to further undermine already eroded public confidence in science, giving a free kick to the legions of climate change deniers, evolution deniers, and anti-vaccination campaigners.
There will always be dishonest players in any profession, so institutions need to be set up to be able to readily detect dishonesty and to swiftly and firmly act on it when it is detected. The findings of the Expert Group in regard to this retracted paper show that both universities and journals are falling short of their responsibilities in this regard.
The message to universities and journals is clear: lift your game!
Article source: Retraction Watch.
Also published on Medium.