Chair of COVID subcommittee requests testimony from leading science journal editors on their connection with the federal government

Scientific Integrity under Threat during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Congressional Investigation of Journal Editors and Government Officials

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) has expressed concern over the relationship between scientific journals and the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has requested testimony from the editors of three major science journals, The Lancet, Science, and Nature, at a hearing scheduled for April 16. The hearing will focus on “Academic Malpractice: Examining the Relationship Between Scientific Journals, the Government, and Peer Review.”

In his letters to the editors-in-chief of these journals, Wenstrup expressed concern about the possibility of these journals granting inappropriate access to the federal government into the scientific review or publishing process. He referenced Freedom of Information Act requests that showed these journals had been in contact with top White House health officials like Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins. However, he did not provide specific reports or studies in his letters to the editors-in-chief.

A search for research articles related to COVID-19 on the websites of these science journals yielded nearly 19,000 results. The Hill reached out to The Lancet, Science, and Nature for comment on the matter.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic has been actively engaging with officials and experts involved in the COVID-19 response since its formation in October 2020. In January 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci participated in two days of closed-door interviews with the subcommittee as part of an ongoing investigation into how scientific journals interact with governments and peer review during pandemics.

Wenstrup’s request for testimony from journal editors comes amid growing concerns about academic integrity during times of crisis. As more research is published on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, it is critical that scientific publications maintain their credibility by ensuring that research findings are rigorously vetted through peer review processes.

This ongoing investigation by Wenstrup’s subcommittee aims to shed light on how scientific journals navigate complex relationships with governments during times of crisis while maintaining their commitment to academic integrity and transparency.

Overall, this hearing will be an important opportunity for lawmakers to examine how scientific publications handle their interactions with governments during pandemics and ensure that they maintain their credibility as a vital source of information for scientists and policymakers alike.

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