Inside the Academic Journal That Corporations Love

A recent lawsuit against Monsanto offers a clear and troubling view into industry strategies that warp research for corporate gain, Paul Thacker writes in Pacific Standard, an investigative magazine.  In a lawsuit regarding the possible carcinogenicity of the pesticide Roundup, plaintiffs’ lawyers suing Monsanto charge the company with ghostwriting an academic study finding that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is not harmful. Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer and is critical for successful cultivation of genetically modified crops such as corn and soybean, which are resistant to the pesticide. Ghostwriting remains pervasive in some areas of academic research; in 2010, Thacker helped author a Senate report on the matter. Studies drafted by corporations and then published in scientific journals with academic authors have been used to sway government decisions, court cases, and even medical practice.