Michael LaCour, the UCLA Ph.D. candidate who co-authored a now controversial study on same-sex marriage last year, is standing by the study even though his co-author Donald Green has called for a retraction from Science journal.
The study claimed that people’s views on same-sex marriage could be changed after speaking with someone who is gay.
Earlier this week, when the news of the retraction request broke, LaCour told iMediaEthics he is reviewing the retraction request and sent a letter to Science, which Science confirmed to iMediaEthics. He told iMediaEthics today:
“I appreciate the issues raised in ‘Irregularities in LaCour (2014),’ and will supply a definitive response on or before May 29, 2015.
“I appreciate your patience, as I gather evidence and relevant information at my earliest opportunity. I only became aware of the allegations about my work on the evening of May 19, 2015, when the not yet peer-reviewed comments in ‘Irregularities in LaCour (2014),’ were publicly posted online.
“You should know that I sent a letter to Science Editor McNutt, providing information as to why I stand by the findings in LaCour & Green (2014) on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 5:46 PM. I’ve requested that if editor McNutt publishes Professor’s Green’s retraction request she also publish my statement with it.”
LaCour’s co-author Donald Green called for the study’s retraction after two political scientists went to expand upon the research and ran into complications. One such problem? When the two tried to get the original survey data from survey company Qualtrics and Qualtrics said it didn’t have the data and couldn’t have conducted the survey.
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Green said he asked LaCour about the problems and he admitted to “falsely describing some of the details of the data collection.” Later Green said that LaCour said he “did not fabricate the data” but didn’t have the evidence to back it up. LaCour’s above statement stands by the study.
Science told iMediaEthics Wednesday that it is reviewing the study and the retraction request. Science told iMediaEthics today:
“At this time, the University of California, Los Angeles, LaCour’s home institution, has begun an investigation into this matter. For our part, we will have more information about a possible retraction of Michael LaCour’s paper early next week.”
At least 12 news outlets that reported on the study last year and this spring have issued retractions, editor’s notes or updates to their original stories to reflect the controversy now surrounding it and its retraction request, as iMediaEthics reported previously.
UPDATED: 5/22/2015 11:21 AM EST With more information
UPDATED: 5/22/2015 12:43 PM EST With statements from Science