In response to a commissioned review, the University of Texas, Austin, pulls fracking study.
Last summer UT appointed a three-person panel to look into allegations that ties to the energy industry might have biased a report released by the university's Energy Institute. The panel's review [pdf], made public on December 6, found that the report from February had not been peer-reviewed, and, because it was “based on literature surveys, incident reports and conjecture,” it should not be considered "fact-based" as its title, "Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in the Shale Gas Development," suggests. Further, the panel recommended the study be pulled because it failed to meet the generally accepted scientific rigor necessary for publication. (More findings here and here.)
The university says it will implement all six recommendations by the panel.
So the report itself and its associated white papers are headed for the dustbin. But of the findings? The bit of good news in the whole episode is that they may finally be subjected to the test most scientific findings are subjected to: peer review.
"The Review Committee recommends that ... the Senior Contributors be given the opportunity to redraft their papers into forms suitable for publication in peer-reviewed scientific or academic journals or that it be made clear that the reports are indeed surveys and overviews."
It was good enough for Duke scientists and Cornell scientists, why not UT scientists?