Friday, August 20, 2010

Update on Harvard Misconduct case

A committee at Harvard University has found psychology faculty member Marc Hauser "solely responsible" for eight instances of scientific misconduct, including problems in three published and five unpublished studies of data acquisition, data analysis, data retention and the reporting of research methodologies and results.

See "Harvard Finds Psychology Researcher "Solely Responsible" for Scientific Misconduct" by Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/20/2010.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Harvard Lab Inquiry, a Raid and 3-Year Wait

Interesting article in the New Times discussing the career of well-known Harvard psychologist Dr. Marc Hauser and questions being raised about his research methods and the validity of some of his findings. Is this a question of an innovative scientist having research methods that differ from his colleagues and a few honest mistakes made, or a question of misconduct?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Peers nip misconduct in the bud

A relatively recent editorial in the July 22 edition of Nature reports the results of a survey looking at how scientists respond when they see instances of misconduct being performed by their colleagues. The results show that informal intervention where a researcher talks to his colleague in an non-adversarial way is often an effective way to change behavior, and respondents reported to have suffered little fallout from these interventions.

To read more, please see Peers Nip Misconduct in the Bud by Gerald Koocher and Patricia Keith-Spiegel

(A subscription to Nature is required to view the full article.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fixing Peer Review

An editorial in the latest edition of The Scientist discusses five academic papers that ended up being published in less prestigious journals than they should have due to problems in the peer review system. These problems include that the peer review process discourages truly innovative ideas whole publishing status quo or "hot" fields of the day, and that it can take months or years to be able to spot and evaluate the importance of a paper and the impact it may have on its field.

For years, the peer review process has attracted criticism, and this paper aptly highlights five instances when peer review failed. The question is, what are some better alternatives to the process at it currently exists today?

The full article is available off The Scientist Web site. "Breakthroughs from the Second Tier"