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Harvard Places Misconduct Blame on Hauser

Harvard has found Marc Hauser "solely responsible" for eight cases of scientific misconduct discovered in his lab, and cleared his research assistants of any responsibility, report the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Boston Globe. Harvard faculty of arts and sciences dean, Michael Smith, issued a letter to the faculty saying the misconduct included problems with Hauser's "data acquisition, data analysis, data retention, and the reporting of research methodologies and results," the New York Times' Nicholas Wade says. Since federal money was given to Hauser for some of his research, the Office of Research Integrity in the Department of Health and Human Services and NSF's Office of Inspector General are also conducting inquiries, Wade adds. Boston Globe's Tracy Jan reports that Hauser has issued a statement apologizing to his students, colleagues, and Harvard, acknowledging that he has made "significant mistakes," though coming short of calling it misconduct.

In Scientific American's Observations blog, Katherine Harmon reports on a new study that attempts to figure out the monetary value of scientific misconduct. The study, published in PLoS, says the investigations conducted by Harvard, and now the government, are likely to cost quite a bit of money. But there is also the cost to other researchers who find their work disrupted and some of their data confiscated. "A typical case might run in the neighborhood of half a million dollars," Harmon says. And these calculations don't take into account the possibility of lawsuits and the intangible costs of loss of trust and the impact on the students of a fraudulent scientist, she adds.

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