It goes on to allege that in several cases, BP created Excel spreadsheets to track various studies from their conception through BP’s legal review and approval process leading up to their publication in science journals.
“Then, when published in peer-reviewed journals, the studies failed to disclose the involvement of BP’s attorneys in editing and approving the studies for publication, including those published by CSIRO scientists. Respectfully, such manipulation of science is considered ghostwriting or ghost management, which is unethical.”
In an interview with this masthead, Clark said it was a mystery to his firm why BP’s lawyers were allowed to vet research by CSIRO.
A spokeswoman for BP in Australia said it was awaiting comment from the company’s UK offices.
In a statement, the CSIRO confirmed it had been contacted by a US legal firm regarding research publications that include CSIRO authors relating to the Mississippi Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico, the location of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
“This research included data on seafloor seepage and changes in the dissolved hydrocarbon content of shallow waters during and shortly after the Deepwater Horizon incident,” the statement said.
“CSIRO maintains high standards of research ethics and conduct consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct in Research, 2018.
“Research undertaken by CSIRO is conducted independently and underpinned by rigorous standards including the peer review process.”
A spokesman said given the complexity of the matter, the CSIRO may provide further comment later on.
Dr Nicholas Chartres of the University of Sydney, who studies the impact of private funding on research integrity, said should the documents referred to by the law firm accurately reflect the conduct of two the organisations, it was a matter of concern.
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