Long headlines are a sort of signature at The Daily Mail: “Editor of The Lancet refuses to reveal if he still supports notorious letter he published trashing Chinese lab Covid theory- and claims asking him about it invades his privacy”:
The letter was published in The Lancet last February and was signed by 27 eminent public health experts who described speculation about the origins of the virus from a Wuhan laboratory as ‘rumours’ and ‘misinformation.’…
The letter played a key role in suppressing early debate on the pandemic’s origins, but its credibility has since been questioned after details emerged of the involvement of Peter Daszak, a major financial backer of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIU).
He signed and organised the letter while his group has funnelled US taxpayer dollars to the organisation for carrying out controversial gain-of-function research.VIVEK CHAUDHARY and SAM BLANCHARD, “Editor of The Lancet refuses…” at Daily Mail
For more on “gain of function” research, see Heather Zeiger: What Is Gain-of-Function Research and Why Is It Risky? The Wuhan Institute of Virology and the NIH find themselves in a tough spot. To understand why some in the U.S. government and the NIH want to downplay funding of gain-of-function research, we need to understand what exactly it is.
And now, from the “really compromised” department:
Allegations swirl that it was not down to editorial misjudgement, but something more sinister: a desire to appease China for commercial reasons. The Financial Times revealed four years ago that debt-laden Springer Nature, the German group that publishes Nature, was blocking access in China to hundreds of academic articles mentioning subjects deemed sensitive by Beijing such as Hong Kong, Taiwan or Tibet. China is also spending lavishly around the world to win supremacy in science — which includes becoming the biggest national sponsor of open access journals published by both Springer Nature and Elsevier, owner of The Lancet.
One source estimated that 49 sponsorship agreements between Springer Nature and Chinese institutions were worth at least $10m last year. These deals cover the publishing fees authors would normally pay in such journals, so they smooth the path for Chinese authors while creating a dependency culture.Ian Birrell, “Beijing’s useful idiots” at Unherd
So articles are free if China likes them but not even available if China doesn’t like them?
Anyone remember the March for Science? This stuff will not end well for “Trust the science.”
See also: What will the long-term effect be of science journals playing useful idiots around COVID-19? Some of us have been reflecting on the effect of the COVID-19 panic on the public estimation of science. Here’s an article on the “useful idiot” problem among science journals.