We made serious mistakes. Now, it's time for atonement.
On Sept. 6, we published a story by science and technology reporter Jasmeen Sandhu on Exploring Democratic Governance of Solar Geoengineering Research, a research project at ASU's Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes that sought public feedback on several potential scientific responses to climate change.
Today, we received a note from the lab identifying several major flaws in our reporting in the form of assertions about the CSPO group that ran contrary to the fundamental goals of their research. From the headline to paraphrased quotes, we peppered errors in the story that could have lead to significant misperceptions about the nature of the group's work.
These errors persisted through several layers of editing — through a science and technology editor, a managing editor and a copy editor. We have explained the situation to the reporter, but ultimately, the blame belongs to the publication at large. As such, after reviewing our reporter's notes and documents from the research group, we decided to retract the story.
Making corrections, noting them and leaving the story up — our usual protocol for these situations — would not be sufficient, as the correctable errors are woven into the fabric of the piece.
This is not the first time we have struggled to accurately represent members of ASU's scientific community, and we have to be better. We value good scientific reporting as a means to help our community understand the research ASU conducts. And as such, we understand that by publishing this story, we failed to uphold the lofty standards of accuracy and truth that journalists are, by definition, sworn to.
We appreciate your understanding,
Reach the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.