A prestigious scientific organization has sanctioned a renowned Oregon State University marine biologist and White House climate adviser for errors in a published paper she edited in 2020.
The National Academy of Sciences has barred Jane Lubchenco from publishing in its acclaimed journal and participating in group activities for five years.
The move relates to Lubchenco’s editing of a paper about fisheries that was later retracted, according to a statement from the organization.
Journal editors reviewed the paper after publication and found data errors that overestimated the potential impact of expanding ocean fishery protections. Editors also noted that Lubchenco had a personal relationship with one of the article’s authors – a violation of the journal’s editorial policies.
Lubchenco is currently on leave from OSU to serve as deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that role, Lubchenco supports government efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. Previously, she was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve as director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and served two years as the State Department’s first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean.
Republicans in Congress have called attention to the retraction and say it undermines her ability to give credible advice to President Biden on science policy.
In a statement, Lubchenco acknowledged the mistake.
“I accept these sanctions for my error in judgment in editing a paper authored by some of my research collaborators – an error for which I have publicly stated my regret,” she said.
After Biden tapped her as an adviser in 2021, Lubchenco told OPB she would help “bring good science to the policies that are being implemented, in addition to thinking about policies in a practical and sensible fashion.”