Saturday, September 8, 2012

Scientist Faked Data in Multiple Experiments

At least six instances of research misconduct were found in studies by a former Harvard psychology professor according to an internal university audit of his work and an investigation by the federal Office of Research Integrity (Boston Globe, September 5, 2012, "Former Harvard Professor Marc Hauser Fabricated, Manipulated Data, US Says"). Marc Hauser resigned his Harvard position last summer after a leave of absence and a faculty vote that would have prevented him from teaching. The main problems with his research stem from inaccurate data collection and reporting. He is now subject to greater limitations and scrutiny on any federal research he conducts for the next three years.

Discussion Questions:
  1. When a researcher's work is found to be faulty in a number of cases, is it fair to suspect that all the studies he/she conducted may not be valid? Why or why not?
  2. What happens to the reputation of all the students and researchers that worked with Hauser? Is their role in the problematic studies called into question as well? Or does Hauser's statement of responsibility for the errors absolve all the other researchers of suspected misconduct?