Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty | Wikipedia audio article

Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty | Wikipedia audio article


The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty
(Danish: Udvalgene vedrørende Videnskabelig Uredelighed, or UVVU) are a set of three committees
under the Danish Ministry of Research and Information Technology: a committee for natural
science, agricultural and veterinary science and technical science; a committee for health
and medical science; and a committee for social science and the humanities. They have a common chairman. Previously obscure, the DCSD became embroiled
in controversy after its January 2003 decision that the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist
by Bjørn Lomborg was “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice”,
due to the author’s systematically biased choice of data, and objectively was scientifically
irredeemable, but Lomborg himself could not be subjectively convicted of intentional or
gross negligence. Lomborg had argued in his book that claims
by environmentalists about global warming, overpopulation, deforestation, and other matters
are not scientifically substantiated. The DCSD further held that because of Lomborg’s
lack of scientific expertise, he had not shown intentional or gross negligence, and acquitted
him of the accusations of scientific dishonesty. In February 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint
with the Ministry, and in December 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD’s handling of
the investigation in the case had been improper, and remitted it for re-examination. In March 2004, the DCSD stated that since
its finding had been to acquit Lomborg of the charges of scientific dishonesty (although
they had criticized his biased selection of data), there was no basis to re-open the investigation,
and dismissed the case. The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked
a petition among Danish academics. 308 scientists, many of them from the social
sciences, criticised the DCSD’s methods in the case and called for the DCSD to be disbanded. The Danish Minister of Science, Technology,
and Innovation then asked the Danish Research Agency to form an independent working group
to review DCSD practices. In response to this, another group of Danish
scientists collected over 600 signatures (primarily from the medical and natural sciences community)
to support the continued existence of the DCSD and presented their petition to the Danish
Research Agency.The DCSD was involved in another controversy investigating a paper on sex and
intelligence authored by Helmuth Nyborg. After the DCSD cleared Nyborg of the charges
of scientific misconduct, two Aarhus University professors, Lise Togeby and Jens Mammen resigned
from their positions in the DCSD, citing that the DCSD operated from too narrow of a framework. Togeby explained that “Roughly speaking, these
committees can only decide whether a researcher has cheated or not. We cannot consider the issue of academic quality,
or decide whether research has been carried out in accordance with good academic standards

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