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National Academy of Sciences sanctions White House climate official for ethics violation

The National Academy of Sciences said the violation occurred before Jane Lubchenco joined President Joe Biden's administration as deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Photo courtesy Jane Lubchenco/website
The National Academy of Sciences said the violation occurred before Jane Lubchenco joined President Joe Biden's administration as deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Photo courtesy Jane Lubchenco/website

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has sanctioned White House official Jane Lubchenco, and barred her from working on publications or programs for the academy for five years, for violating its ethical code of conduct.

The NAS took the punitive action because it said Lubchenco violated the code when she edited a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal that included her brother-in-law as an author.

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The academy said Lunchenco violated a rule that says members "shall avoid those detrimental research practices that are clear violations of the fundamental tenets of research."

The ban extends to Lubchenco's work with the National Research Council.

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The NAS said the violation occurred before Lubchenco joined President Joe Biden's administration as deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"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," Lubchenco said according to Science.org.

The punishment stems from a paper that was retracted last fall, which the academy said was not based on the most recent data available and included a personal relationship between Lunchenco and the author.

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Congressional Republicans on the House science committee expressed concern earlier this year about Lubchenco's editing of the PNAS paper.

"Dr. Lubchenco demonstrated a clear disregard for rules meant to prevent conflicts of interest in publishing peer-reviewed studies," they wrote in a letter to Biden in February.

"Now, Dr. Lubchenco is playing a leading role in developing and overseeing this administration's best practices for scientific integrity."

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Lubchenco has been a professor at Oregon State University and was administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during President Barack Obama's administration.

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