IN THE NEWS: Mother Jones (September 25, 2018)

[From the article, “This Cornell Food Researcher Has Had 13 Papers Retracted. How Were They Published in the First Place?” by Kiera Butler, published in Mother Jones]
“In 2015, I wrote a profile of Brian Wansink, a Cornell University behavioral science researcher who seemed to have it all: a high-profile lab at an elite university, more than 200 scientific studies to his name, a high-up government appointment, and a best-selling book.”
“…In January 2017, a team of researchers reviewed four of [Wansink’s] published papers and turned up 150 inconsistencies. Since then, in a slowly unfolding scandal, Wansink’s data, methods, and integrity have been publicly called into question. Last week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMAretracted six articles he co-authored. To date, a whopping 13 Wansink studies have been retracted.”
“… when I first learned of the criticisms of his work, I chalked it up to academic infighting and expected the storm to blow over. But as the scandal snowballed, the seriousness of the problems grew impossible to ignore. I began to feel foolish for having called attention to science that, however fun and interesting, has turned out to be so thin. Were there warning signs I missed? Maybe. But I wasn’t alone. Wansink’s work has been featured in countless major news outlets—the New York Times has called it “brilliantly mischievous.” And when Wansink was named head of the USDA in 2007, the popular nutrition writer Marion Nestle deemed it a “brilliant appointment.””
“Scientists bought it as well. Wansink’s studies made it through peer review hundreds of times—often at journals that are considered some of the most prestigious and rigorous in their fields. The federal government didn’t look too closely, either: The USDA based its 2010 dietary guidelines, in part, on Wansink’s work. So how did this happen?”
To read more, click here.

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