Researchers may run street races after politically incorrect study

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Published 21 November 2022 at 16.39

Domestic. A doctoral student at Lund University of Technology did a careful study that shows that good-looking women get better grades because of their appearance. After that, the researcher has had to run a street race in the media – and Academic Rights Watch is now harshly criticizing the way the university handled a report against him.
– Unfortunately, it looks like the university is willing to have the study dropped at all costs, says Erik J Olsson at ARW.

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Fria Tider reported at the end of October on PhD student Adrian Mehic's study of distance education during the pandemic.

He was able to show that female students who were judged by others to be attractive got worse grades when they were not in the classroom. At the same time, the male students' study results remained unchanged.

The study has received harsh feminist criticism, including from the management researchers Alicia and Rolf Medina, who write in Svenska Dagbladet that it is “unethical and frivolous research” and “populism “.

“Casting a shadow over female students, grading teachers and the Swedish system because of a questionably conducted study done by a research student is nothing more than harmful populism,” the duo writes.

This has prompted Mehic's supervisor to defend the study.

Adrian Mehic has also been reported to Lund University of Technology for “deviation from good research practice”.

According to Academic Rights Watch, which monitors academic freedom in Sweden, the university acted in violation of the rules when handling the report. According to ARW, the case was forwarded to the Appeals Board for Ethics Review (ÖNEP) before Mehic had been allowed to comment. The university then promised to forward Mehic's opinion to ÖNEP, but a week later it still had not been received by the committee.

Erik J Olsson at Academic Rights Watch is very critical of the university's actions:

– Obviously, the university does not want this matter on its table. The fact that, despite the promise to send Mehic's opinion to ÖNEP, they do not do this within a reasonable time is also alarming, says Olsson.

According to Erik J Olsson, the deviations from the regulations are too many for it to be just a matter of coincidence, especially when all are to Mehic's disadvantage.

– Unfortunately, it looks like the university is willing to have the study canceled at any cost. When you see no prospects of achieving this yourself, but realize that you are at risk of freeing the study, you hope for ÖNEP. Unfortunately, the error handling can be perceived as an intervention in academic freedom, which makes the situation particularly serious.