The journal Science published a partial replication Monday of a study by Marc Hauser, the embattled Harvard University psychology professor, that “appears to confirm the original findings.” The replication was carried out by Hauser and Justin Wood, the original co-author who had alerted the journal to possible problems. You can find more details here.
This is good news for Marc Hauser — or at least it’s not bad news. Had the findings not been replicated, it would have raised suspicions that the results had been faked. But now it appears that the original raw data had simply been discarded, a case of inadequate record-keeping rather than deception.
But it doesn’t mean he’s off the hook. Not by a long shot. Harvard University’s investigation found evidence of eight instances of scientific misconduct involving multiple papers. And the information that has leaked from members of his lab hasn’t portrayed the high-profile researcher in a positive light.
Because the report hasn’t been released, we don’t know what that investigation found (other than that Hauser was deemed guilty of misconduct). It’s unlikely, though, that the investigation hinged on this one experiment.
Hauser was taken out of the classroom this year and the Boston Globe reported just last week that Hauser would be kept out of the classroom next year, too (the Harvard Crimson had erroneously reported that he would be teaching next year).
Right now everyone’s waiting for the conclusion of the federal inquiries into Hauser’s research, which were set in motion because some of his experiments used government money. Until then, we probably won’t get a full picture of the allegations nor will we get to hear Hauser’s defense.