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Harvard's Hauser Resigns

Marc Hauser, the now-notorious Harvard researcher whose work was called into question last year, has announced that he will resign his post at the university effective August 1, reports the Boston Globe's Carolyn Johnson. Last August, the researcher was accused of fabricating data in several well-known studies, and some of his papers was retracted. After conducting an investigation, Harvard found him guilty of eight counts of scientific misconduct, and he was forced to take a leave of absence. In April, the Harvard Crimson erroneously reported that Hauser would be back in the classroom for the 2011-2012 academic year, but after an uproar of indignation, a Harvard spokesman denied those claims, saying Hauser's department had voted not to let him teach. In his resignation letter, Hauser says he has been offered some opportunities in the private sector, and that while he may return to teaching and research in the future, he wants to concentrate on these "new and interesting challenges" in the present, Johnson says. Gerry Altmann, editor of the journal Cognition — which retracted a 2002 Hauser study — tells Johnson that the resignation provides "some sort of closure" for people at Harvard, and lifts the cloud that's been hanging over Hauser's department at the university since the news of his misconduct broke. Harvard is continuing to cooperate with a federal investigation into Hauser's research, Johnson adds. Some felt the resignation wasn't entirely surprising. Michael Tomasello, codirector of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, tells Johnson that it was only a matter of time. "Once they didn't let him teach — and there are severe restrictions in his ability to do research — you come to the office and what do you do all day?" he says. But for others in the field, Tomasello adds, the uncertainty over Hauser's other work remains.

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