We are asked to trust The Science™ time and time again by our media, bureaucrats, and political leaders.
However, as I have often noted at Legal Insurrection, our scientific institutions have had an alarming ideological capture. Therefore, it is hard for scientists to publish or find funding unless their research supports the current narratives.
More troubling, a significant issue reveals itself about what is getting published. For example, following a probe into data falsification, a Harvard University-affiliated teaching hospital plans to retract or correct dozens of papers authored by four top researchers.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston has already initiated six retractions to papers and 31 others are in the process of being corrected, the hospital’s research integrity officer, Dr. Barrett Rollins, confirmed to the Harvard Crimson.
The corrections follow claims of data falsification leveled against the cancer institute’s CEO, Dr. Laurie Glimcher, chief operating officer Dr. William Hahn, director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program Dr. Irene Ghobrial and Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center program director Dr. Kenneth Anderson.
The latest accusations come just weeks after Harvard University president Claudine Gay resigned from her top post after she was embroiled in her own plagiarism scandal.
All four of the Dana-Farber researchers have faculty appointments with the Harvard Medical School.
News of the probe surfaced after a data sleuth, Sholto David, published a blog post earlier this month alleging irregularities in a total of 57 papers.
The whistleblower, Sholto David, suggested Adobe Photoshop was used to copy and paste images in some of the papers. Rollins (the aforementioned hospital research integrity officer) stressed that the issues uncovered do not necessarily amount to misconduct.
“The presence of image discrepancies in a paper is not evidence of an author’s intent to deceive. That conclusion can only be drawn after a careful, fact-based examination which is an integral part of our response. Our experience is that errors are often unintentional and do not rise to the level of misconduct,” Rollins said.
“While software advancements can reveal anomalies not previously detected, AI programs are not foolproof. In fact, some of the allegations recently raised by a blogger against Dana-Farber researchers are wrong,” Rollins said.
He added that 16 of the allegations “contained data generated in laboratories other than those of the four Dana-Farber authors named in the blog.”
This is certainly a troubling development for Harvard in the wake of the Claudine Gay plagiarism fiasco. One has to wonder exactly how much solid science is coming from Harvard nowadays.
Sadly, the same question must be asked of all other higher education institutions and scientific centers. More than 10,000 scientific research papers were retracted in 2023 — shattering historic records.
It was a bad year for science publishing with more than 10,000 research papers being retracted, setting a new record for the most retractions in a single year. The results suggest this is just a fraction of the dodgy papers still out there.
According to recent analysis conducted by Nature, the number of retractions issued in 2023 has surpassed previous annual records, with the worse offenders being from large research-publishing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia, and China. These countries have had the highest retraction rates over the last two decades.
The publisher Hindawi, a London-based subsidiary of Wiley, has been responsible for most of the retractions to date. This year, the publisher has retracted over 8,000 articles due to what it believes are compromises to the peer-review process. This investigation was prompted by internal editors and research-integrity investigators who raised concerns about irrelevant references in thousands of papers, as well as incoherent text.
“In the dynamic world of scholarly publishing, researchers find themselves grappling between increasing pressures to publish and the growing vulnerability of the academic industry to systematic manipulation and fraudulent activity”, Hindawi has stated.
So now, if someone asks me to, “The Science™,” I have to ask 2 questions:
- What science?
- Whose science?
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