One senior climate adviser for the administration of Old Uncle Joe has recently been hit with severe sanctions from the country’s most prestigious scientific body due to a series of ethical violations.
As the deputy director for climate and environment at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, Jane Lubchenco, was officially sanctioned by authorities within the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the 8th of August, as reported by Axios. The sanction against Lubchenco seemingly comes from a violation of the Code of conduct from the NAS. In particular, Lubchenco made edits to a paper that went into the NAS’ peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, back in 2020; but the paper failed to utilize the most recent and accurate available data, and it seems as though this was not pointed out due to a personal relationship she had with one of the researchers which was a clear violation of the editorial policies of the journal.
Section 3 of the NAS code of conduct reads:
NAS members shall avoid those detrimental research practices that are clear violations of the fundamental tenets of research. Members should be fair and objective peer reviewers, maintain confidentiality when requested, promptly move to correct the literature when errors in their own work are detected, include all deserving authors on publications, and give appropriate credit to prior work in citations.
Lubchenco edited one research article that attempted to advocate for the implementation of certain conservation tools for the global fishing industry, titled “A global network of marine protected areas for food.” This particular article made its appearance in 2020 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, the paper was officially pulled in 2021 in the wake of discovering that the researchers utilized an old database to carry out their research, which ended up resulting in the researchers severely overestimating their final results.
“[W]e have been informed that the changes to our results arising from the data error have cast doubt over the outcome of the peer review process, ultimately leading to the retraction of this paper, explained the researchers as part of their official retraction note. “We intend to submit a corrected version of the paper elsewhere.”
“The editors also note that the article’s editor, J.L., recently published a related paper with the article’s authors and has a personal relationship with one of the authors, both of which are disallowed by PNAS editorial policies,” stated Mary Berenbaum, the PNAS editor-in-chief, in their note. Axios went on to add that one of the researchers in this instance was none other than Lubchenco’s brother-in-law.
As part of a Tuesday statement, Lubchenco claimed that she has accepted these sanctions. “I accept these sanctions for my error in judgment in editing a paper authored by some of my research collaborators — an error for which I have publicly stated my regret,” stated Lubchenco, as reported by Axios. Back in February, a letter to the Biden administration was sent out by a group of Republican leaders that expressed their concerns about the overall integrity of the Office of Science and Technology Policy due to the sketchy history surrounding Lubchenco.
“We … encourage you to consider if Dr. Lubchenco should continue to be involved in developing a framework for the improvement of agency scientific integrity policies and practices when she has violated the very policies she is tasked with imposing on Federal agencies,” expressed Republican ranking member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Frank Lucas (R-OK), Environment Subcommittee ranking member Stephanie Bice (R-OK), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee ranking member Jay Obernolte (R-CA) in the letter. “If the executive branch cannot or will not uphold the practices of scientific integrity, then Congress will have to assume a greater role in oversight of these matters.”