Thursday, August 30, 2012

U of Texas finds no scientific misconduct in Regnerus gay parenting study; board member/investigator at journal that published study: 'It's bullshit'

Mark Regnerus
Ralph K.M. Harwitz reports that Robert A. Peterson, a University of Texas research integrity officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, found no falsification of data, plagiarism or other serious ethical breaches constituting scientific misconduct after consulting with a four-member advisory panel of senior UT faculty members.
However, Peterson said the question of whether Regnerus' study has serious flaws is one best left to debate among scholars, future research and an expected release by Regnerus of the data underlying his research. He went on to cite university policy that says "ordinary errors, good faith differences in interpretations or judgments of data, scholarly or political disagreements, good faith personal or professional opinions, or private moral or ethical behavior or views are not misconduct."
     ...An internal draft audit by Social Science Research, the journal that published the study, found "serious flaws" in the peer review process and concluded that the journal never should have published his report.
     The allegations of scientific misconduct were leveled by freelance writer Scott Rosensweig, who uses the byline Scott Rose, in a letter to UT President Bill Powers. That prompted the university's inquiry....
     ...Rosensweig disputed UT's review, contending that some peer reviewers of Regnerus' study were also paid study consultants, "a most serious matter."
Princeton Professor Robert George, founder of the
National Organization for Marriage and board member
of the Family Research Council, also has positions of
authority in the Bradley Foundation, which gave a known
minimum grant of $90,000 for the Regnerus study, and the
Witherspoon Institute, which gave a known minimum
$55,000 "planning grant." Full funding for the study
was $785,000. The questionable study has been jumped
on by right-wing political organizations like NOM, and
may have been concocted as a 2012 political tool, to be
touted in states with Marriage Equality votes.
If so, IRS regulations were violated.
Yesterday, Scott Rosensweig, of the New Civil Rights Movement, published a blistering indictment of the study:
...a Golinski-case amicus brief analyzing the Regnerus study as scientifically invalid was jointly filed by 1) the American Psychological Association; 2) the California Psychological Association; 3) the American Psychiatric Association; 4) the National Association of Social Workers; and 5) its California Chapter; 6) the American Medical Association; 7) the American Academy of Pediatrics; and 8) the American Psychoanalytic Association.
     ...Separately, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent a letter to the journal Social Science Research, which published the fraudulent Regnerus study, complaining of its lack of intellectual integrity and its suspiciously rushed publication schedule.
 In July, Tom Bartlett, of The Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote:
Like Regnerus, the editor of Social Science Research, James D. Wright, has been at the receiving end of an outpouring of anger over the paper. At the suggestion of another scholar, Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida, assigned a member of the journal’s editorial board—Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale—to examine how the paper was handled.
     Sherkat was given access to all the reviews and correspondence connected with the paper, and was told the identities of the reviewers. According to Sherkat, Regnerus’s paper should never have been published. His assessment of it, in an interview, was concise: “It’s bullshit,” he said.

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