Category Archives: Ethics

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After Professors’ Criticism, Group Updates List of Google-Funded Scholars

A group that created a list of scholars who’d received money from Google has updated the database in response to critics, including professors who said they didn’t belong on the list. In some cases the Campaign for Accountability, the creator of the dataset, defended putting professors on its list; in others, it clarified why scholars had been included; and in others, it removed academics from the list altogether.

“There’s no single way to do this, and we’re necessarily limited by the info…

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Many Academics Have Taken Money From Google Without Disclosing It, Report Finds

The tech giant Google has paid academics up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to research topics that support the company’s business practices, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, based on data compiled by the Campaign for Accountability, an advocacy group that has received funding from companies that compete with Google.

The newspaper reported that Google at times compiled “wish lists” of academic studies, complete with titles and abstracts, and then searched for aca…

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Hoax Article in Social-Science Journal Gets a Rise Out of Some Scholars

A fresh attempt to poke fun at — and poke holes in — cultural-studies scholarship was revealed this week, with the disclosure that a recently published article in Cogent Social Sciences was a hoax. The article, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” was the work of two people — Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University, in Oregon, and James A. Lindsay, an independent scholar. They describe their exploit on the website of Skeptic magazine.

Like the…

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Cornell U. Finds No Research Misconduct in Controversial Food Scientist’s Work

Cornell University says that a professor’s questionable research practices “did not constitute scientific misconduct” but that there will be an external statistical review of his published work.

Brian Wansink, a well-known food researcher at Cornell, drew scrutiny last month, when his work was shown to include statistical discrepancies, questionable research practices, and recycled data. The fallout was detailed in The Chronicle in March, and on Wednesday Cornell issued a statement saying it had…

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Ohio State Is Investigating Possible Scientific Misconduct by Prolific Professor

Ohio State University has begun an independent review of its handling of ethics complaints against one of its most prolific scientists, according to The New York Times.

Several misconduct allegations have been made in recent years against Carlo Croce, chairman of the department of cancer biology and genetics. In 2014, the Times says, a Purdue University virologist reported claims of falsified data and plagiarism to journals where Dr. Croce’s work had appeared. Several medical journals have pos…

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Northwestern U. Is Accused of Violating Academic Freedom

Northwestern University engaged in “serious violations of academic freedom” both in its dealings with a bioethics journal that published a controversial article and in its investigation of Laura Kipnis, a film professor whom students accused of wrongdoing over her essay criticizing its sexual-misconduct policies, a faculty panel has concluded.

In a report on its findings, the Northwestern Faculty Senate’s ad hoc committee on academic freedom urges the university to revise its sexual-harassment…

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Agriculture Dept. Removes Animal-Welfare Data From Website

A trove of information about animal welfare in university and government research laboratories, in zoos and circuses, and elsewhere disappeared from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website on Friday, worrying animal-rights activists and others who have been concerned that the Trump administration will stop making available a range of data collected by the government.

In a written statement, the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that during the past yea…

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Columbia U. Is Mostly Mum on Accusations of Plagiarism Against Top Trump Aide

Columbia University has declined to comment on recent reports that Monica Crowley, an appointee of President-elect Donald J. Trump, plagiarized portions of her 2000 Ph.D. dissertation at the university.

An examination of Ms. Crowley’s 2000 dissertation by Politico revealed more than a dozen instances of language and information that was either improperly cited or printed without attribution. Columbia University cited confidentiality concerns in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“We have no commen…

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U. of New Mexico at Gallup Spent $7,000 on Bigfoot Conference

The University of Mexico at Gallup is in a hairy situation after spending more than $7,000 on a Bigfoot conference this year, according to KRQE, a television station in Albuquerque.

The conference, “Bigfoot in New Mexico: Evidence, Ecology, and Behavior,” was paid for with university funds. After the conference the university also funded a Bigfoot expedition to search for the hypothetical giant hominid, but no students or faculty members attended.

Christopher Dyer, the campus’s executive directo…

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4 Professors Involved in Philosophy Brawl Find Feces in Their Mail

Four philosophy professors who were involved in a dust-up with Brian Leiter, an influential figure in the field, received packages of excrement in the mail last summer, and critics of Mr. Leiter are accusing him of being at the bottom of the fecal attack, reports BuzzFeed. Mr. Leiter, a professor at the University of Chicago and founding editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report, a powerful ranking of graduate programs, is known for his combative style and caustic judgments of colleagues and pr…