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Harvard acknowledges misconduct findings against Marc Hauser

Marc_Field_Portrait.jpgHarvard University has acknowledged finding eight counts of scientific misconduct committed by famed evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser.

“It is with great sadness that I confirm that Professor Marc Hauser was found solely responsible, after a thorough investigation by a faculty investigating committee, for eight instances of scientific misconduct,” wrote Michael Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in a letter sent to faculty earlier today.

Over the past week, Harvard has been widely criticized for not releasing the results of its investigation. Researchers have argued that they do not know which of Hauser’s publications to trust, and that Hauser’s students, postdocs, and collaborators may be unfairly viewed with suspicion until Harvard’s findings were made clear. (For more, see ‘Harvard probe kept under wraps’.) In his letter to faculty, Smith reiterated that the investigation found problems with only three of Hauser’s publications, citing “problems involving data acquisition, data analysis, data retention, and the reporting of research methodologies and results”.

Smith then goes on to say that he will form a faculty committee in the fall “to reaffirm or recommend changes to the communication and confidentiality practices associated with the conclusion of cases involving allegations of professional misconduct.”

The announcement comes a day after the Chronicle of Higher Education published new details, including internal emails, describing how Hauser’s alleged misconduct came to light. For an interesting analysis of what those emails imply about Hauser’s experimental designs, check out this blog post over at Neuron Culture.

Update: the NY Times has Marc Hauser’s first public statement since news of the investigation broke. In it, he says: "I acknowledge that I made some significant mistakes and I am deeply disappointed that this has led to a retraction and two corrections. I also feel terrible about the concerns regarding the other five cases, which involved either unpublished work or studies in which the record was corrected before submission for publication.” Hauser also says he is “deeply sorry for the problems this case had caused to my students, my colleagues and my university” and expresses his hope to return to research and teaching.

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    Tiago Almeida Fonseca Nunes said:

    This case is terrible to the science!

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