Discovery documents uncover the corporate capture of science, which puts public health, and the very foundation of democracy, at risk.
While passing a placard of contemporary protest buttons in New York's Greenwich Village, my attention was drawn to one that read "Science is Peer Reviewed, Not Politician Approved."
Ghostwriting<p>Gillam and I found three major trends illustrating one corporation's view of science, scholarly journals, and environmental regulatory agencies. </p><p>Our first finding showed that when the scientific literature did not yield the results Monsanto desired, the company talked internally about writing its own journal articles and paying outside scientists to list their names on the documents when they were sent for publication.</p><p>The procedure is called "ghostwriting" to signify that the name of the person actually writing the study does not appear in the published article. What is evident from the internal documents is that "ghostwriting," largely disavowed by respected journals as a form of plagiarism, appears as a normal business practice for Monsanto. </p><h3><em>Related: <a href="http://www.ehn.org/monsanto-glyphosate-cancer-smear-campaign-2509710888.html" target="_blank">The Monsanto Papers, Part 1 — Operation: Intoxication</a></em></h3><p>Papers showing ghostwriting practices, and/or referred to as having been ghostwritten in internal Monsanto documents, were published in peer-reviewed journals and concluded that there were no health concerns associated with Monsanto's herbicide. </p><p>We found evidence that while the papers were presented as independent – indeed, in at least one case, a series of papers were titled as "independent" – Monsanto employees were involved in writing, drafting and determining conclusions. </p>
Publication pressure<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODEyMTg2NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjMyMzQyMn0.oC9RTj-mDTdABlOiFWsFy7kApbV6YPSPAGptVXkez1I/img.jpg?width=980" id="1c4ed" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c0f92475091568e446d43abeb021f67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Nick Birse/flickr<p>A second finding shared in our article is that the company used all of its influence to pressure a journal editor to retract a paper, against the wishes of its authors, that drew results Monsanto found disagreeable. The internal documents describe Monsanto employee efforts to engage with the journal, making it clear that they do not want their role to be known.</p><p>Initially, one journal editor followed good publishing practices by supporting a scientific debate over the paper's methods and results in the pages of the journal. After the journal appointed a former employee of Monsanto on its editorial board, the paper was retracted. </p><p>The editor-in-chief wrote in the retraction statement that he found "no evidence of fraud of intentional misrepresentation of the data," …the results were not incorrect," and there was no misconduct. He retracted the paper because he found the results to be "inconclusive."</p>