“Misrepresentation,” “reckless disregard for basic scientific standards”: Hauser report reveals details of misconduct

I started right after Hauser left, yet in months of seminars, lab meetings, department meetings, presentations, etc., I heard his name once. But I do still have dozens of copies of every participant response from every run (including pre-trials) of every experiment, every copy of every version of every instruction sheet for every component of every experiment, multiple copies of all source code, all results of all analyses, even data we couldn’t use because e.g. the subject’s movement in the MRI machine corrupted the signal data. Also, one of my clients was interested in how to incorporate safeguards against fraud into his software package (although that had more to do with the shockwaves sent through the academic community by Stapel’s decades of fraud).

Retraction Watch

Harvard-logo_7Courtesy of a Freedom of Information Act request, The Boston Globe has a very good piece detailing what investigators found had actually happened in the Marc Hauser lab before the former Harvard psychology researcher resigned in 2011 and was found guilty of misconduct by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in 2012.

The Globe requested the 2010 report Harvard sent the ORI. Here’s a summary:

The 85-page report details instances in which Hauser changed data so that it would show a desired effect. It shows that he more than once rebuffed or downplayed questions and concerns from people in his laboratory about how a result was obtained. The report also describes “a disturbing pattern of misrepresentation of results and shading of truth” and a “reckless disregard for basic scientific standards.”

The Globe quotes key passages from the report:

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