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Rehab for (recovering) academics.
UK libel law and scientific debate 
22nd-Dec-2014 05:24 pm
beard
What's the best way to criticise bad scientists if you're in the UK without ending up being taken to court? Feeling very frustrated about certain fraudulent US researchers suing their UK based critics. Not sure I want to wade in on the debate though of pointing out how shoddy this certain person's work is without knowing what I can actually say, since apparently everything is basis for a lawsuit.

Anyone know how science is meant to be criticised by UK based people?

*very frustrated*
Comments 
22nd-Dec-2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
I have one anecdote. It happened here in the UK. Somebody who shall be nameless has annoyed a lot of people by publishing paper after paper based on weak, over-interpreted data. Somebody else was so incensed that phe showed a poster at the relevant conference, calling the first person's work 'bad science.' This delights me because the first person caused worry in an industry relying on this science, and the second person is so senior that per voice gets listened to.

Edited at 2014-12-22 08:35 pm (UTC)
22nd-Dec-2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
In the case I can't even call the data weak, it's simply forged. The figures are photoshopped (badly, I might add). UGH. And published in 'excellent' journals naturally.
Said guy is already taking some UK scientists to court on libel charges. :/ Like, I just don't know if there is some trick in how you phrase what you say or something like that so that you can be sure that you won't get stuck with a court case simply for pointing out that someone's a fraud.
23rd-Dec-2014 08:37 am (UTC)
Oh I see. Does your institution have a policy for this kind of thing? Perhaps you should report the fraud to the journal(s) whose reputation, of course, depends on integrity. You might also find Retraction Watch useful http://retractionwatch.com/
23rd-Dec-2014 09:52 am (UTC)
Thank you!!
23rd-Dec-2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
Even Retraction Watch gets the odd legal threat passed onto users. The mind boggles, how one can be sued for pointing out fraudulent research. It really does...
26th-Dec-2014 12:34 pm (UTC)
it's the ones who are fraudulent who feel the need to get lawyers involved, i guess. cause they know they can't settle things by just presenting their data better etc. >_>
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