• Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

House Subcommittee Investigates Alleged Inappropriate Access by Science Journals in Pandemic Response

BySamantha Nguyen

Apr 2, 2024
Chair of COVID subcommittee requests testimony from leading science journal editors on their connection with the federal government

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, has requested testimony from the editors of three major science journals regarding their relationship with the federal government. In his letters to the editors-in-chief of The Lancet, Science, and Nature science journals, he expressed concern over the possibility of these journals granting inappropriate access into the scientific review or publishing process. He cited 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, Wenstrup 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 the three 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 August 2020. At a hearing held on March 31, 2021, Fauci testified about his role during the pandemic and faced criticism from several members of Congress over his handling of certain issues related to COVID-19 research and funding. This ongoing investigation aims to shed light on how scientific journals interact with government officials during a crisis like this one and how peer review processes are affected by those interactions.

In an interview with The Hill last week, Wenstrup said that he was seeking answers about whether any sensitive data was shared between scientific journals and government officials during the pandemic response effort.

“We want to know if there were any instances where scientific journals provided confidential information about studies or findings to government agencies,” said Wenstrup. “And we want to know if those agencies used that information in making policy decisions.”

Wenstrup’s request for testimony from journal editors is part of a broader effort by some Republicans to investigate how scientists are responding to political pressure related to COVID-19 research.

“This is about ensuring that our scientific institutions remain independent and transparent,” said Wenstrup.

However, critics argue that this investigation could have a chilling effect on free speech and academic collaboration.

“It’s important for scientists to be able to communicate freely with policymakers without fear of retaliation,” said Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience.

As

By Samantha Nguyen

As a content writer at newsqwe.com, I am passionate about crafting engaging and informative articles that captivate our audience. With a background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I strive to deliver content that is not only well-researched but also adds value to our readers' lives. From breaking news stories to in-depth features, I take pride in my ability to tell compelling stories that resonate with our diverse audience. When I'm not typing away at my keyboard, you can find me exploring new cafes, practicing yoga, or getting lost in a good book. I am thrilled to be a part of the newsqwe.com team and look forward to sharing my love for writing with all of our readers.

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