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Scientitists outraged at journal retraction of GMO rat study

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Today, a group of international scientists are calling for the boycott of Elsevier publications for the groundless retraction of the GMO rat study by Séralini et al.

Twenty-eight scientists from six countries have signed the letter on this first day.

Update, day two: 115 scientists and 234 non-scientists have now signed the letter. Sign here.

Day three: 168 scientists & 427 non-scientists from 44 countries.

Day five: 275 scientists & 626 non-scientists from 52 countries.

One week: 487 scientists, 861 non-scientists from 61 countries.

Open Letter on Retraction and Pledge to Boycott Elsevier

The background to this open letter is described in Retracting Seralini Study Violates Science & Ethics (Institute for Science in Society ISIS report)

To: Wallace Hayes

Editor in Chief

Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT)

Cc Elsevier

re: “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” by GE Séralini et al, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology 2012, 50(11), 4221-31

Your decision [1] to retract the paper is in clear violation of the international ethical norms as laid down by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member. According to COPE, the only grounds for retraction are (1) clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct or honest error, (2) plagiarism or redundant publication, or (3) unethical research. You have already acknowledged that the paper of Séralini et al (2012) contains none of those faults.

This arbitrary, groundless retraction of a published, thoroughly peer-reviewed paper is without precedent in the history of scientific publishing, and raises grave concerns over the integrity and impartiality of science. These concerns are heightened by a sequence of events surrounding the retraction:

  • the appointment of ex-Monsanto employee Richard Goodman to the newly created post of associate editor for biotechnology at FCT

  • the retraction of another study finding potentially harmful effects from GMOs (which almost immediately appeared in another journal)

  • the failure to retract a paper published by Monsanto scientists in the same journal in 2004, for which a gross error has been identified.

The retraction is erasing from the public record results that are potentially of very great importance for public health. It is censorship of scientific research, knowledge, and understanding, an abuse of science striking at the very heart of science and democracy, and science for the public good.

We urge you to reverse this appalling decision, and further, to issue a fulsome public apology to Séralini and his colleagues. Until you accede to our request, we will boycott Elsevier, i.e., decline to purchase Elsevier products, to publish, review, or do editorial work for Elsevier.

  1. Elsevier announces article retraction from journal Food and Chemical Toxicology”, PRNewswire, 28 November 2013,

Signed (28 scientists from 6 countries)

  1. Henry A Becker, BE, MSc, ScD,FCIC, Killam Laureate 1992, Engineering Medal 1990, Prof Emeritus, Queen’s university, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

  2. E. Ann Clark, PhD, Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (retired), Ontario, Canada

  3. Joe Cummins, Ph D Genetics, Prof Emeritus of Genetics, Distinguished Fellow of ISIS, London, Ontario, Canada

  4. Robert M Davidson, MD PhD, FAIS, Internal Medicine, Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, Texas, USA

  5. Lucille Elna P. de Guzman, PhD, Seed Technology/ University of the Philippines Los Banos

  6. Emilio DelGiudice, PhD, High Energy and Quantum Field Theorist, Prigogine Medalist 2009, Milan, Italy

  7. James DeMeo PhD, Geographical Earth Science and Climatology, Orgone Biophyscial Research Lab, Ashland, Oregon, USA

  8. Robert S. Dotson MD, Clinical Instructor, University of Washington Medical Center, Ophthalmology Department, Seattle, Washington, USA,

  9. Christopher Exley PhD, Professor Bioinorganic Chemistry, Aluminium and Silicon Research Group, Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratory, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

  10. Julian Haffegee, M Sc Biophysics, Webmaster & Productions Editor, Science in Society, Milton Keynes

  11. Mae-Wan Ho, Ph D. Biosafety Expert, Quantum Biologist, Prigogine Medalist 2014, Director, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK

  12. Don M Huber PhD, Plant Biologist, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, Melba Idaho, USA

  13. Brian John, MA D Phil, Ex Durham University, Dept of Geography, Wales, UK

  14. Rosemary Mason MB ChB FRCA, Award winning ex-editor of medical journal, Scotland, UK

  15. Ted Mendoza, PhD, Agronomist, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines

  16. Eva Novotny, PhD Astrophysicist, Pollen flow, Cambridge, UK

  17. John W. Oller, Jr., PhD, Professor of Communicative Disorders, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA

  18. John Palmer, PhD Prof of Mathematics (retired), University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

  19. Gerald Pollack, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Water, Prof Bioengineering University of Washington, Prigogine Medalist 2011, Seattle, Washington, USA

  20. Arpad Pusztai, FRSE, chemist/biochemist, expert on nutritional and toxicological studies, Budapest, Hungary

  21. Anthony Samsell, PhD, Scientist/Consultant, Deerfield, New Hampshire, USA

  22. Peter T Saunders, PhD, Theoretical Cosmology, Prof Emeritus Applied Mathematics, Biomathematician, Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK

  23. Vandana Shiva, Ph D. Quantum physics, winner of Right Livelihood award & numerous other prizes, honorary degrees from numerous universities worldwide, Director of Navdanya, New Delhi, India

  24. Eva Sirinathsinghji, Ph D. Neuroscience & Molecular Biology, Staff Writer for Science in Society, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK

  25. Nancy Swanson Ph D. Quantum optics, 5 US patents & author of books, Seattle, Washingon, USA

  26. Stephanie Seneff Ph D. Senior Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Cambridge, Mass, USA

  27. Lucija Tomljenovic PhD, Senior Research Scientist, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Canada

  28. Oscar Zamora PhD Professor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines Los Banos, The Philippines

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