The Boston Globe reports today that, according to the editor of the journal Cognition, Professor Marc Hauser of Harvard fabricated data.
Gerry Altmann, the editor of the journal Cognition, which is retracting a 2002 article in which Hauser is the lead author, said that he had been given access to information from an internal Harvard investigation related to that paper. That investigation found that the paper reported data that was not present in the videotape record that researchers make of the experiment.
“The paper reports data … but there was no such data existing on the videotape. These data are depicted in the paper in a graph,” Altmann said. “The graph is effectively a fiction and the statistic that is supplied in the main text is effectively a fiction.”
. . . “If it’s the case the data have in fact been fabricated, which is what I as the editor infer, that is as serious as it gets,” Altmann said.
It’s absolutely unbelievable that, as a sanction for this kind of crime against science, Hauser was given just a year’s suspension without pay. (There may also have been sanctions about his future ability to mentor graduate students and postdocs.) Although funding agencies like the NIH and NSF may impose further sanctions, he’ll nevertheless get to keep his job—forever. I’m deeply ashamed of my alma mater.