Category Archives: research ethics


Former Harvard Psychologist Fabricated and Falsified, Report Says

Marc Hauser (Gaye Gerard, Getty Images)

Marc Hauser was once among the big, impressive names in psychology, head of the Cognitive Evolution Laboratory at Harvard University, author of popular books like Moral Minds. That reputation unraveled when a university investigation found him responsible for eight counts of scientific misconduct, which led to his resignation last year.

Now the federal Office of Research Integrity has released its report on Hauser’s actions, determining that he fabricated …


U. of Texas Finds No Scientific Misconduct by Author of Gay-Parenting Study

Mark Regnerus

An inquiry by the University of Texas at Austin has found no evidence of scientific misconduct by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology whose controversial gay-parenting study caused a stir when it was published, in June.

But, according to a report released on Wednesday by the university, that does not mean the study isn’t “seriously flawed,” only that there was no evidence of falsification or other unethical practices.

The inquiry was prompted by a complaint by Scott …


The Broken Escalator; Or, Can You Ever Really Retract a Paper?

It’s a clear, curious, irresistible finding. In a study published in March of last year in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers tracked donations to the Salvation Army from mall shoppers who had just taken the up escalator versus those who had just stepped off the down. They found that more than twice as many of the recently elevated gave money (16 percent compared with 7 percent).

Articles about the study appeared in Scientific American, New Scientist, and multiple other o…


Adolf Hitler Runs Into Peer Review—Again and Again and Again

This week the scientific world discovered Adolf Hitler, German dictator and wannabe science grant-winner, for the umpteenth time. The worthy Scholarly Kitchen today features parody videos of Der Führer ranting against stupid grant reviewers, right on the heels of the estimable Boing Boing, which posted them a week ago.

They are not the first to notice. The parodies were on YouTube in 2009. And CBS News did a story on them in 2010. That same year the science blog bioephemera pointed out this was…


Hey, Here’s Who Your Neighbors Gave Money to. Sincerely, Harvard

So you get a letter that says “IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS” on the outside. Of course most pieces of mail marked “important” are the opposite, but you open it up anyway. Inside is your name and the first initials and last names of five of your neighbors, along with each person’s political contributions for the previous year and to which party that contribution was made. So, for instance: “J. Smith, $100, DEM.”

Kind of weird, right?

Susan Kelley of Orlando, Fla., received …