The Profoundly Unethical Nature of Retraction Watch’s Call for Coercion
American Journal of Information Management
Volume 2, Issue 3, Aguest 2017, Pages: 43-46
Received: Jun. 22, 2017; Accepted: Jul. 24, 2017; Published: Oct. 8, 2017
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Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Retired / Independent Scientist, Kagawa-ken, Japan
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On April 6, 2017, Retraction Watch, which is now widely regarded as a self-proclaimed ethical entity that specializes in research fraud and retractions, and whose deeply anti-science rhetoric is heavily funded by US philanthropic organizations, called publicly on the use of coercion in science. Coercion is a blatant act of aggression, psychological and/or physical, that makes the target of that coercion do something forcefully, i.e., against their will. Not only can such actions be perceived to be deeply morally and ethically wrong, they also carry a legal component since public incitement to violence to adopt coercive tactics is equivalent to a call for violence. This is not an altogether unexpected attitude by Retraction Watch, which has, together with its sister science-shaming site, PubPeer – both funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation whose leader, John Arnold, has declared a “war on bad science” – lead this war on science through acts of public shaming. The aggression can take place in an anonymous format, scarring science, destroying families, but advancing the journalistic careers of its founders, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, as well as the social and political ambitions of John Arnold. It can confidently be said that science is under brutal attack, a movement led by Retraction Watch and its axis of allies, and is not in a state of passive or self-reflective reform. Consequently, any act of aggression by this possible anti-science axis must be immediately shunned and called out, to alert the public that an extremely dangerous group has emerged that is posing an existential threat to academia, through the use of unethical and aggressive policies. The greatest immediate threat is the infiltration of these methods, i.e., aggressive mentality and coercive enforcement, into ethical codes and “guidelines”, such as those widely applied by the Committee on Publication Ethics and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which are increasingly being populated by Retraction Watch and LJAF-funded group clauses and rhetoric.
Center for Science Integrity Inc., COPE, Ethical Boundaries, Fraud, ICMJE, Threat
To cite this article
Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, The Profoundly Unethical Nature of Retraction Watch’s Call for Coercion, American Journal of Information Management. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2017, pp. 43-46. doi: 10.11648/j.infomgmt.20170203.11
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