Today in the Annals of Science

The science community, if such as thing can be said to exist as a singular entity, wonders why public regard for science has slipped. Maybe it has to do with stories like this, included in this week’s Nature magazine news roundup:

Controversial microplastics study to be retracted

The authors of a high-profile paper about the dangers of fish consuming small particles of plastic say that they will retract their study, after an investigation found them “guilty of scientific dishonesty” and raised the possibility that some of the research described “was not conducted”. . .

The controversy centres on a 2016 paper in which the authors reported experiments showing that fish that ate tiny ‘microplastics’ grew more slowly and were more likely to be eaten by predators.

Soon after the paper’s publication, a group of researchers raised a complaint about the study. They said that not all the data underlying the results were available. And some of the critics who worked at the same research station as Lönnstedt — on Gotland, a Baltic Sea island — said that there were discrepancies between experiments described in the study and eyewitness reports of the researchers’ activities.

Uppsala University investigated those allegations last year and found no evidence of misconduct. But an expert group of Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board was also tasked with investigating the allegations, and in a statement dated 21 April, said that the paper should be recalled. It also describes Uppsala’s conclusions as “remarkable”.

Or this one:

Researchers frustrated by Italian misconduct probe

More than five years ago, Italian police began investigating allegations of research misconduct in papers by Alfredo Fusco, a prominent cancer scientist in Naples. Researchers frustrated by the case’s slow progress have now told Nature that there is strong evidence that dozens of papers may contain manipulated data — and that a commercial photography studio was called in to cut and paste images.

Reminder: You can keep up with these things at RetractionWatch.

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