Bad data is ok according to DOE

According to the Department of Energy, falsification of data is ok — if other events prevent you from using it. That is what DOE is telling
Congress. As a story in Washington > Importance of False Data Is in Dispute” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/06/politics/06yucca.html”>The New York Times – “Importance of False Data Is in Dispute” relates:

Energy Department officials testified Tuesday that admissions by government scientists that they had falsified information about a Nevada site being readied for nuclear waste storage were not important, because other delays had prevented them from submitting the bad information in a license application.
In more than two hours of testimony before a House subcommittee, Energy Department officials made their first substantive remarks about the department’s disclosure last month of internal e-mail messages in which Interior Department scientists discussed how they had made up scientific entries or deleted material they did not understand about how water would flow through the storage site. They said they were only beginning to evaluate whether the information made a difference in the conclusions reached in studies about the safety of the site, Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Falsified data is falsified data. You don’t need to “evaluate” its impact; you need to retract and redo any studies that might have tainted by the falsification. This isn’t about an errata sheet where there is a typo or a missing citation.
In the information economy, the information has to be valid if the system is going to work. Or maybe folks at DOE think we should change the concept to “the falsified data economy.”

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