Another Victory For Peer Review – NOT! Cowardly Science

Pressure on controversial nanoparticle paper builds by Anthony King.

From the post:

The journal Science has posted an expression of concern over a controversial 2004 paper on the synthesis of palladium nanoparticles, highlighting serious problems with the work. This follows an investigation by the US funding body the National Science Foundation (NSF), which decided that the authors had falsified research data in the paper, which reported that crystalline palladium nanoparticle growth could be mediated by RNA.1 The NSF’s 2013 report on the issue, and a letter of reprimand from May last year, were recently brought into the open by a newspaper article.

The chief operating officer of the NSF identified ‘an absence of care, if not sloppiness, and most certainly a departure from accepted practices’. Recommended actions included sending letters of reprimand, requiring the subjects contact the journal to make a correction and barring the two chemists from serving as a peer reviewer, adviser or consultant for the NSF for three years.

Science notes that, though the ‘NSF did not find that the authors’ actions constituted misconduct, it nonetheless concluded that there “were significant departures from research practice”.’ The NSF report noted it would no longer fund the paper’s senior authors chemists Daniel Feldheim and Bruce Eaton at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who ‘recklessly falsified research data’, unless they ‘take specific actions to address issues’ in the 2004 paper. Science said it is working with the two authors ‘to understand their response to the NSF final ruling’.

Feldheim and Eaton have been under scrutiny since 2008, when an investigation by their former employer North Carolina State University, US, concluded the 2004 paper contained falsified data. According to Retraction Watch, Science said it would retract the paper as soon as possible.

I’m not a subscriber to Science, unfortunately, but if you are, can you write to Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief to ask why findings of “recklessly falsified research data,” merits an expression of concern?

What’s with that? Concern?

In many parts of the United States, you can be murdered with impunity for DWB, Driving While Black, but you can falsify research data and only merit an expression of “concern” from Science?

Not to mention that the NSF doesn’t think that falsifying research evidence is “misconduct.”

The NSF needs to document what it thinks “misconduct” means. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Every profession has bad apples but what is amazing in this case is the public kid glove handling of known falsifiers of evidence.

What is required for a swift and effective response against scientific misconduct?

Vivisection of human babies?

Or would that only count if they failed to have a petty cash account and to reconcile it on a monthly basis?

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