The journal Science has responded to the news that a December study it published was fabricated.
As iMediaEthics reported previously today, the study, which said people were more open to same-sex marriage after talking to people who are gay, came into question when one of the co-authors Donald Green issued a request for retraction, saying he learned from his co-author Michael LaCour that the study contained fabricated information when two other political scientists went to expand upon the research. Vox, one of the news outlets that reported on the study at the time, has retracted its report, writing “don’t believe any of its findings.”
iMediaEthics received the following statement from Science‘s editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt saying that Science received author Green’s request for retraction and is reviewing the study. The statement reads in full:
“Thank you for your query about the possible retraction of the study, ‘When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,’ published in Science by Michael J. LaCour and Donald P. Green in December of 2014. Science takes this case extremely seriously and will strive to correct the scientific literature as quickly as possible.
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“No peer review process is perfect, and in fact it is very difficult for peer reviewers to detect artful fraud. Fortunately, science is a self-correcting process; researchers publish work in the scholarly literature so that it can be further scrutinized, replicated, confirmed, rebutted or corrected. This is the way science advances.
“Dr. Green was informed about the study’s irregularities over the weekend. He submitted a request for retraction to Science yesterday, Tuesday, 19 May, after his co-author, LaCour, admitted that some of the details of the data collection were falsely described in the published report. At this time, our Editorial staff is assessing the report. Given the fact that the Dr. Green has requested retraction, Science will move swiftly and take any necessary action at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, Science is publishing an Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers to the fact that serious questions have been raised about the validity of findings in this study.
“We thank those who attempted the replication and pointed to the possible irregularities. It allowed the author to look more carefully into possible problems with the original study.”
LaCour told iMediaEthics earlier that he is working on a response to the retraction request.