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Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty

Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty

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The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty are a set of three committees under the Danish Ministry of Research and Information Technology: a committee for natural science, agricultural and veterinary science and technical science; a committee for health and medical science; and a committee for social science and the humanities. They have a common chairman.

Previously obscure, the DCSD became embroiled in controversy after its January 2003 decision that the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist
The Skeptical Environmentalist
The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World is a book by Danish environmentalist author Bjørn Lomborg, controversial for its claims that overpopulation, declining energy resources, deforestation, species loss, water shortages, certain aspects of global warming, and an...

by Bjørn Lomborg
Bjørn Lomborg
Bjørn Lomborg is a Danish author, academic, and environmental writer. He is an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and a former director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen...

 was "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice", due to the author's systematically biased choice of data, and objectively was scientifically irredeemable, but Lomborg himself could not be subjectively convicted of intentional or gross negligence. Lomborg had argued in his book that claims by environmentalist
An environmentalist broadly supports the goals of the environmental movement, "a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities"...

s about global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

, deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, and other matters are not scientifically substantiated. The DCSD further held that because of Lomborg's lack of scientific expertise, he had not shown intentional or gross negligence, and acquitted him of the accusations of scientific dishonesty.

In February 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint with the Ministry, and in December 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD's handling of the investigation in the case had been improper, and remitted it for re-examination. In March 2004, the DCSD stated that since its finding had been to acquit Lomborg of the charges of scientific dishonesty (although they had criticized his biased selection of data), there was no basis to re-open the investigation, and dismissed the case.

The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 among Danish academics. 308 scientists, many of them from the social sciences, criticised the DCSD's methods in the case and called for the DCSD to be disbanded. The Danish Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation then asked the Danish Research Agency to
form an independent working group to review DCSD practices. In response to this, another group of Danish scientists collected over 600 signatures (primarily from the medical and natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

s community) to support the continued existence of the DCSD and presented their petition to the Danish Research Agency.

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