Judy Wilyman’s Presentation at the Cancer Science and Therapy Conference in San Franciso (2013)
In October 2013 the University of Wollongong (UOW) provided funding for me to attend and present a paper at the third world congress on Cancer Science and Therapy, in San Francisco. My paper was titled ‘HPV Vaccination programs have not been demonstrated to be cost-effective in countries with comprehensive Pap screening and surgery‘ and this research had been published in the Infectious Agents and Cancer journal in June 2013. Yet Australian journalists would not publish this peer-reviewed research that questions the safety, efficacy and necessity for the HPV vaccine and one journalist denigrated this research to the public. Rick Morton, from the Australian newspaper (News Ltd), disparaged my research with comments about the organisers of the conference that were unsupported and irrelevant to the research that was presented. These comments were not supported with evidence and the framing of this article represents a danger to public health. The comments about the organisers were designed to devalue my research on the HPV vaccine and the fact that Rick Morton did not mention the NHMRC funded research that was also presented at this conference by an Australian researcher, Nicola Cirillo, from the University of Melbourne, indicates that his objective was to specifically denigrate my research on the HPV vaccine.
Universities are breaching the academic integrity of the knowledge produced at universities when they remain silent when lobby groups/journalists misrepresent academic research to the public. Even though the UOW Dean of Research, Tim Marchant, and the UOW deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Judy Raper, had no concerns about the conference I attended and that UOW funded, and they were aware of the attacks on my research by lobby group activists, they did not stand up publicly and frame this research on the HPV vaccine accurately for public debate in the media.
Universities are supporting the denigration of student’s reputations/research by remaining silent and allowing lobby groups to frame academic research in the media. This is achieved by not correcting the academic record when misinformation is provided. When UOW decided not to correct the academic record for the false information provided to the public about my research from 2012 – 2016 it was ensuring that lobby groups could denigrate the research (and my reputation) with impunity – no accountability for the personal opinions and false comments they provided. Hence the university was permitting the misrepresentation of my research to the public in the media by staying silent. This is allowing lobby groups, many with industry funding and a powerful voice in the media, to present false and misleading information to the public on vaccination. It also encourages abuse and ridicule on social media because there is no accountability. Again this allows personal opinion to have greater weight in public debates on vaccination than university research.
Why is there no accountability for the information journalists are providing on vaccination? Why are there no Australian journalists who have attempted to accurately present my research for public debate on vaccination? This research is published on the University of Wollongong website. Why would students attend Australian universities to complete in-depth research on scientific topics when lobby group activists can frame this information in the media (with the aid of silence from universities) and when the fabricated media stories carry more weight than the academic research? This case study of my research is a good example of the problems that arise when universities are in partnership with industry and industry can influence every aspect of university processes, including the scientific process for research and the complaint procedures against researchers, and also have a powerful voice in the mainstream media.