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Archive for December 3rd, 2019

Conflict over Retracted Criminology Studies

B&W photo of jail cellScience News recently reported that Justin Pickett, an Assistant Professor at the University of Albany School of Criminal Justice, and his co-authors announced the retraction of their article “Ethnic Threat and Social Control: Examining Public Support for Judicial Use of Ethnicity in Punishment,” published in the May 2011 issue of Criminology.  Four other articles published 2015-2019 in the journals Criminology, Social Problems and Law & Society Review are also in the process of being retracted.  Eric Stewart, a Professor of Criminology at the Florida State University (FSU) College of Criminology & Criminal Justice, is a co-author of all five articles.  As reported in Retraction Watch, Pickett and his co-authors received a May 2019 email from a “John Smith” who noted data irregularities in their May 2011 article and four other articles.  When he had trouble getting the full data set, Pickett re-examined his limited data files and found issues with the number of survey respondents and changing sample sizes.  Stewart eventually sent Pickett a copy of the full data set, and Pickett found overwhelming evidence of data duplication and alteration.  In July 2019, Pickett posted his findings to the SocArXiv preprint server on the Open Science Framework.  Stewart has not commented publicly on the issue.  Gary Ostrander, FSU Vice President of Research, stated the university completed an inquiry and “the committee felt that there was no need to move to the full investigation as the professor had already been working with the journal’s editors to address any questions they had about the work.”  Pickett says he has no regrets, and wished “the world of science was more receptive and more kind to people who speak out about problems in published research, whether those problems result from honest error or misconduct.”