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Retraction of a peer reviewed article suggests ongoing problems with Australian forensic science

Brook, C; Lynøe, N; Eriksson, A; Balding, D; (2021) Retraction of a peer reviewed article suggests ongoing problems with Australian forensic science. Forensic Science International: Synergy , 3 , Article 100208. 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2021.100208. Green open access

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Abstract

We describe events arising from the case of Joby Rowe, convicted of the homicide of his three month old daughter, and explore what they illustrate about systemic problems in the forensic science community in Australia. A peer reviewed journal article that scrutinized the forensic evidence presented in the Rowe case was retracted by a forensic science journal for reasons unrelated to quality or accuracy, under pressure from forensic medical experts criticized in the article. Details of the retraction obtained through freedom of information mechanisms reveal improper pressure and subversion of publishing processes in order to avoid scrutiny. The retraction was supported by the editorial board and two Australian forensic science societies, which is indicative of serious deficiencies in the leadership of forensic science in Australia. We propose paths forward including blind peer review, publication of expert reports, and a criminal cases review authority, that would help stimulate a culture that encourages scrutiny, and relies on evidence-based rather than eminence-based knowledge.

Type: Article
Title: Retraction of a peer reviewed article suggests ongoing problems with Australian forensic science
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2021.100208
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2021.100208
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. under a Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Abusive head trauma, Forensic science, Scientific publishing, Shaken baby syndrome
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10161945
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