Friday, August 13, 2010

Harvard responds

Harvard released a statement yesterday concerning the Marc Hauser retractions (plural, it  includes three papers):

Harvard has always taken seriously its obligation to maintain the integrity of the scientific record. The University has rigorous systems in place to evaluate concerns about scientific work by Harvard faculty members. Those procedures were employed in Dr. Hauser's situation. As a result of that process, and in accordance with standard practice, Harvard has taken steps to ensure that the scientific record is corrected in relation to three articles co-authored by Dr. Hauser. While Dr. Hauser (or in one instance, his colleague) were directed to explain the issues with these articles to the academic journals that published those papers, the University has also welcomed specific questions from the editors involved. We will continue to assist the editors in this process.

In these types of cases, Harvard follows federal requirements for investigating alleged research misconduct and reports its findings, as required, to the appropriate federal funding agencies, which conduct their own review. At the conclusion of the federal investigatory process, in cases where the government concludes scientific misconduct occurred, the federal agency makes those findings publicly available.

Still no indication of what the actual misconduct was and why it took three years to investigate. Overall reactions around the web seem to be of three kids:

1. yeah, we kinda suspected this all along.
2. we don't know enough yet to judge.
3. this is the sausage making inherent in the scientific process.

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