Monsanto, corporations accused of ‘buying scientists’ to place fake news in academic journals

| | March 29, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Editor’s note: Paul Thacker is a consultant to nonprofits critical of GM technology. He is well known for his personal attacks on biotechnology scientists and his controversial journalism has been criticized by science watchdog sites. New York University journalism professor and independent science journalist Keith Kloor refers to him as a “sadistic troll.”]

A recent lawsuit against Monsanto offers a clear and troubling view into industry strategies that warp research for corporate gain. In a lawsuit regarding the possible carcinogenicity of the pesticide Roundup, plaintiffs’ lawyers suing Monsanto charge the company with ghostwriting an academic study finding that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is not harmful.

[Editor’s note: On March 23, 2017, a New York Medical College investigation stated that it had found ‘no evidence’ that Monsanto ghostwrote a paper on the safety of the herbicide glyphosate that one of its researchers co-authored.]

The study currently under scrutiny appeared in 2000 in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, the journal of the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. On closer inspection, the ghostwriting charges seem unconvincing, and Science magazine reports that officials at one university have investigated and rejected the charges.

Related article:  EPA re-approves controversial weed killer atrazine, arguing benefits outweigh potential ecological risks

[A] glance into the journal’s history offers a telling window into the industry of creating and packaging junk science with the appearance of academic rigor.

The problem is that it’s not just Monsanto, and it’s not just this one journal. Corporations regularly buy academics to do their bidding, recasting industry talking points to create the beginnings of an alternative scientific canon. Universities do little to stop it, while academic journals, sometimes prestigious, are often complicit. Perhaps public shame remains the most — or only — effective medicine.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Inside the Academic Journal That Corporations Love

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