CTSI Blogs

The Research Ethics Blog by Bernard Lo, MD

Research Misconduct: A Case of Monkey Business

Marc Hauser is an academic superstar at Harvard who has carried out research on the evolutionary basis of human cognition and morality and on the cognitive abilities of primates.  He has also written best-selling popular books about his field.  Three years ago, a research assistant and graduate student in his laboratory raised allegations of misconduct, accusing him of reporting findings on videotapes that could not be confirmed by other observers.  One study reported that tamarin monkeys can recognize themselves in a mirror.  Another professor in the field who reviewed the videotapes of the experiment said that there was no basis for that conclusion.  Another study claimed that tamarin monkeys could learn moral rules just as human infants can.  A co-author on the latter study said that he saw summaries of the data but not the raw data.  This month, Harvard found Hauser guilty of 8 instances of scientific misconduct but gave no details, citing confidentiality concerns. 

One paper was retracted because its findings could not be confirmed.  The editor of that journal, who received a copy of the Harvard investigation, said that “Given that there is no evidence that the data, as reported, were in fact collected … I am forced to conclude that there was most likely an intention here, using data that appear to have been fabricated, to deceive the field into believing something for which there was in fact no evidence at all.”  In two other papers, repeat experiments confirmed the original findings, and were reported as a addendum or correction.  Hauser apologized for his “significant mistakes.”  Investigators are underway by federal agencies that funded his research and by the U.S. Attorney’s office. 

Other researchers in the field have complained that the keeping the results of the investigation secret cast unfair suspicion on the entire field and particularly on colleagues and trainees who collaborated on other projects. 


  • The university is convening a committee to review how it handles allegations of misconduct.  What recommendations would you make to the committee? 




A protocol is probably in place to handle accusations of academic misconduct, at Harvard and other academic institutions. It would be interesting to see how this protocol protects whistleblowers and how it investigates serious allegations of academic misconduct. Other interesting questions are (1) how to prevent academic misconduct from happening in the first place, and (2) what to do once someone commits academic misconduct. These questions are intricately tied together. It seems that prevention occurs throughout the educational system: students are constantly cautioned against fabricating data or copying work; truth and integrity are highly valued as admission criteria to academic institutions. However, the motivations and circumstances involved in academic misconduct are unknown in most instances. Harvard veiled this information when it closed the book on Hauser's case without reporting on the crucial question of why Hauser felt the need to fabricate his results. The question of what to do once someone commits academic misconduct may have repercussions for how to prevent misconduct. Transparent questioning and public reporting of motivations and life stressors of the researcher in question should both be part of the process in aiding a wayward researcher. This both allows us, as a society who consumes research, to understand why misconduct was perpetrated, as well as identifying intervention points for young researchers who may be tempted by similar motivations but have yet to perform any misconduct. For example, if the problem is institutional (Hauser felt the need to publish in order to maintain job security), proper institutional remedies can be instituted to stem academic misconduct (job security can be determined by factors unrelated to publication). If the problem was a character issue (Hauser, after achieving fame, needed more fame to feel fulfilled), these character traits can be dissuaded from entering careers in the sciences. As it stands, we have no idea why Hauser, or other academicians, falsified their data or reported inaccurate results. Only by knowing why our researchers are engaging in academic misconduct can we expect to stem the tide of false information issued from some players in all levels of academia.

Harvard is in a unique position to address the issue of academic fraud to the highest standard because their prominent stature in academia. They have to set the example for which all other institutions will hopefully then follow. At this time, I would have 2 recommendations for them: First, Harvard should address the significant delay in identifying the problem. Presumably this delay came about because they did not take the allegations 3 years ago more seriously. Harvard will now have to err on taking a whistle blowing comments much more seriously and may need to implement or reeducate the faculty and staff on current whistle blowing measures. This type of recommendation would necessitate a change in the research culture and may require much greater levels of scrutiny. Second, Harvard should change how they responded to the accusations in the first place. The secrecy surrounding Harvard’s delayed response to the problem (once the press became aware of the issue) quickly became the more sensational issue. While, it is understandable why Harvard acted they way they did - wanting to wait until a more thorough investigation takes place so as to avoid rumor and misinformation - the fact that Harvard was in charge of releasing this information on their own reeks of conflict of interest. Perhaps there should be greater involvement of independent auditors and perhaps that independent group should be working in tandem with their own internal group at the first sign of impropriety (the whistle blowing stage listed above).

Being that Harvard is a highly respected academic institution, there are many people who are going to be watching closely to see how these allegations are handled. I would recommend to the committee to make the ongoing investigation public. Doing this will allow for a number of things. It will make an impression on others in research and serve as an important lesson to all of those who are tempted to fabricate data. At this time, he is apologizing for his "mistakes". These are not "mistakes", but rather intentional misconduct. There are also many people who have collaborated with Dr. Hauser whose careers will be ruined from misconduct conducted by him. It needs to be teased out to understand fully who is guilty and who is innocent. The secrecy of the investigation may lead to false accusations for innocent hardworking collaborators on other projects.

I think you make a very good point. While it is wrong regardless of who had done it, I think just because it was done by a Harvard professor, it could lead to more publicity and attention. This means that the situation should be handled with care to make the right decision because of its public appeal. So, I agree with you, an ongoing public investigation would prevent any one else from pursuing this also. Additionally, I also think that if he apologizes, that's admitting to intentional misconduct, which requires consequence, rather than allowing him to go on as is.

The motivations for misconduct such as Dr. Hauser's are human nature. Anecdotal evidence has it that such academic misconduct, including more and less blatant and detectable versions of it, are very common. In Dr. Hauser's case, the "system" has correctly caught this misconduct and appears to be on its way to punishing it. Three steps may be taken to better prevent misconduct. (1) Journals are responsible for what they choose to publish. They should institute some means of questioning and checking (i.e., monitoring or investigating) the background of what they choose to publish. Perhaps this could be done periodically. The journals appropriately risk losing their reputation if they publish work that is not rigorous. They should do background checks on the authors of papers they are interested in publishing. In Dr. Hauser's case, the journal could contact researchers that do related work to get their opinion on the scientific merit and level of rigor or believability of Dr. Hauser's work. Also, they should see if any allegations or investigations are underway. For example, they should work in connection with the university misconduct boards/committees. (2) Universities need to have a stronger (i.e., larger, more serious) misconduct monitoring system in order to prevent misconduct--before it happens or gets too serious. Perhaps misconduct "investigators" that are independent of the academic departments should be set up to do routine checks--encouraging whistleblowing as well as randomly chosen monitoring checks--but of course with procedures that prevent un-merited and public slandering to occur. (3) Very large penalties need to be instituted such that the preventive effect is in place. While the consequences to society and human well-being are little with regard to the report that monkeys can recognize themselves or have or don't have morality, other types of science with regard to medications and medical procedures have more serious consequences to human lives. Let's police those more, and make sure the consequences in those areas are implemented and effective. Here's a toast to moral monkeys (!), to Dr. Hauser's colleagues who have let themselves finally speak out (!), and to Harvard for really doing something about this to set an example to other "scholars"!

Harvard should review its policies on the consequences of scientific misconduct—does the punishment fit the crime? More transparency in the review process, particular in the timing and results of the investigation, as mentioned in the above comments, would help answer questions about the appropriate penalty for Dr. Hauser. Surprisingly, he was allowed to continue his work and research during the three years after the graduate students raised questions about his lab. Even after Harvard’s report was complete in January, there was little press about his case until he recently retracted another paper. Now he is supposedly writing a book during a one-year leave. These outcomes seem minor compared to his actions, although it is impossible to be sure without having more access to the report. Surely there was evidence earlier in the review process that would allow the department or university to take some action against him. It would be surprising to have him continue his research at Harvard, or anywhere for that matter, after these eight instances of scientific misconduct.

I think its important to talk to the students in his lab. They are the ones who really know what is going on and it looks like they first brought these concerns to the attention of officials years ago. I also think this is related to the larger issue of the relationships between graduate students/postdocs and their mentors, and how much misconduct occurs in that relationship. There should be a better process for how students can raise concerns about their mentors, including scientific misconduct.

First, I would like to address a previous remark by respondent. I was a little caught off guard to read the following response, “Surprisingly, he was allowed to continue his work and research during the three years after the graduate students raised questions about his lab.” It is my opinion that allegations are just that and any potential misconduct must be handled in way not to adversely affect any participant in the investigation until a participant or participants are actually found guilty of misconduct. In the same respect, those who levy any allegations must be protected. The U.S. Department of Labor has enacted “whistle blower” laws to protect employees from retaliation, for reporting violations of the laws etc. The research assistant is an employee of the University and may be protected under these laws if this researcher had Federal Funding, but the graduate student most likely is not an employee. I think there is a potential problem here and to prevent a hostile learning / work environment the university committee may need to make this a priority. Research misconduct has similar themes that parallel our previous discussion in class on ethical issues surrounding authorship. It seems to be fully tied to academic culture. I agree with another respondent who raised the point that universities and the public may want to ask why academic misconduct happens in the first place. It may be beneficial take a closer look at the institutional framework for success as well as the individuals they are hiring. In the long term, the Federal government has instituted this ethics class requirement to attempt to change the future academic culture, but changing cultural beliefs and attitudes takes time. Therefore, what to do in the meantime? Like a previous respondent, I too believe that this university most likely has a protocol in place to address academic misconduct and it can be tweaked to add more teeth to the penalties. A more forward way of addressing this problem is not rely on the Federal government to institute a mandatory ethics courses for students only, but the university can develop their own peer generated ethics program that has outcome measures that are tied to academic promotion.

In my opinion, the most important recommendation to the committee would be that they need to make the investigation public. I often interpret the "private" investigations of misconduct (in any form or setting) in prestigious, private institutions, to stem more from motivation to protect the reputation of the university and "contain the damage", so to speak, rather than from doing what is in the best interest of all those affected by an individuals' missteps. While the investigator's career is certainly at risk, so are the careers of multiple students and collaborators. By making the investigation public, those who were innocent of wrong doing but somehow tied to the investigator's work could potentially be salvaged from professional disaster. Moreover, by making these investigations public, other researchers/collaborators might be more inclined to report misconduct of their superiors in the future without the anxiety of their own careers being threatened.

This case brings up not only the question of how to handle cases of academic misconduct, but also allows us to consider why academic misconduct happens in the first place and analyze steps a university might take towards prevention. Academia is special and important in that research is (at least we hope) motivated by a desire for knowledge and understanding and, as such, is removed from the biases that profit-driven industries inevitably evoke. However, the academic community is not entirely immune to bias. An investigator, having a great interest in a topic, forms an experimental hypothesis which he or she hopes to substantiate through the course of a study. In forming this hypothesis, there is already some amount of bias built into the study. A problem results when, for one reason or another, an investigator feels that the quality of their work is defined by the uncovering of results in support of their experimental hypothesis rather than by the methodological rigor invested in the design and conduction of the study. It has been established that studies with results that favor the experimental hypothesis are more likely to be published than their null counterparts, a phenomenon, known as publication bias, which fueled an entirely new field of scientific inquiry (research about research!). It is important to also mention that publication bias occurs primarily at the author level (vs. editorial/peer review level) due to researchers being less likely to submit manuscripts reporting non-significant results, which has since been coined the ‘file-drawer problem.’ Therefore, there seems to be this perception within academia that to be a good researcher, one must come up with ‘positive’ results when in reality ‘negative’ results are just as informative. With competition for funding and academic positions becoming increasingly stiff, this ‘publish or perish’ mentality has become a ‘publish positive results or perish’ mentality. Not only that, but if academic promotions hinge on publication number and the impact factors of the journals the material is published in, it can create a conflict-of-interest of sorts in creating a need for publication by the investigator, under the false belief that positive results are more likely to be published than negative results. This would appear to create a temptation by the investigator to produce favorable results, which, they believe, makes them more likely to be published, cited, and acquire status within their field… thus increasing the risk for academic misconduct. This case highlights an institutional ailment beyond problems of secrecy in handling cases of academic misconduct. If it is our ‘end-goal’ to preserve the integrity (and objectivity) of the profession, we need to examine the definitions of success we use within academia.

I agree with your thoughtful comments. The underlying problem with the system is the incentives that are currently in place. Not only does this create a system in which there is an incentive and higher risk of publication bias and falsification of data but in addition it creates the problem that about 80% of articles you read are poor quality. When trying to advance academically it is not clear if quality is more important than quantity of publications.

One mechanism to address scientific misconduct may be to establish systems at research centers that mirror our country’s justice system. This system was designed to evaluate allegations of misdeeds that pose a danger to society as neutrally as possible, and may serve the scientific community quite well. In such a system, unbiased trained professionals would investigate allegations of scientific misconduct, with the assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. The accused would have the benefit of representation and “judges” (also neutral parties with the experience to assess allegations) would evaluate the merit of a case. When appropriate, a scientist may be suspended from his or her research activities pending the resolution of a case. Alternatively, a case may be thrown out for lack of evidence. Finally, when needed, a case could be “tried” before a “jury” of a scientist’s peers. Punishment could then be determined based on the severity of the act, the scientist’s intent, the number of people injured, premeditation, etc. These proceedings could be open to the public and covered by the news media at their desire. As has been mentioned previously, there are a number of motivating factors for scientists to both cheat and to falsely accuse another scientist of cheating. The “publish or perish” idea creates a sense that unless a scientist obtains good results and has manuscripts accepted to important journals that she or will lose her job. Furthermore, a struggling scientist may see the opportunity to eliminate competition by alleging misconduct by a more accomplished peer. This type of behavior, while not necessarily criminal or quite as extreme, is not terribly different from someone who commits insurance fraud to save a buck, or who murders a competitor to get ahead. As a society, we have established systems to address such behavior. The scientific community could use this system to evaluate allegations of misconduct as fairly, carefully, and thoroughly as possible with the intent of creating a culture of zero-tolerance for cheating, regardless of the motivating factors.

I think several issues would have to be addressed in the investigation of research misconduct. Being accused of academic misconduct or accusing another individual of misconduct is both stigmatizing and also possibly damaging to one’s career. The first issue to be addressed: in the earlier stages of investigation, how are the whistleblowers AND the accused protected, especially when the situation is uncertain. During the investigation, being discreet, I would argue, is not necessarily a flaw, but rather protects the individuals involved from unfounded criticism and accusations. Yet this leads to the second issue: after misconduct has been confirmed or debunked, a thorough report documenting the investigation process and the evidence should be made available. Transparency, at the stage when the investigation is over, can actually be beneficial to the innocent and the institution: collaborators or the accused can be exonerated with good reason, or the whistleblowers can be justified in their claims and actions. Furthermore, transparency allows room for growth for an institution to foster an environment where academic deception is minimal, to develop safeguards to prevent scientific misconduct, and for an institution to establish itself as a role model for handling these situations. When Harvard, with its opaque and secretive investigation, found Dr. Hauser guilty of scientific misconduct, numerous questions were left unanswered, leaving everyone questioning Harvard’s own conduct and wondering how this could have been prevented in the first place. Another way to improve transparency is instead of relying solely on an internal investigation, is to use an independent panel of investigators with no conflicts of interest. Since inviting a panel of outside investigators requires large chunks of time and money, these can reasonably be reserved for severe violations, high profile cases such as this, and/or cases where an internal investigation yielded inconclusive findings.

“Publish or perish” is an expression that is used frequently to describe the importance of publications to assess a principal investigator’s productivity and success. Simply being accused of scientific misconduct, even if the accusation is unfounded, can sully an investigator’s reputation – and I imagine that they may be less likely to receive grants, promotions, and their future manuscripts may be less likely to be published. In fact, a post-doc that I had worked with several years ago switched his field of study after an investigation was launched regarding a suspicious figure in one of his manuscripts. At the time, he was working under Stephanie Dimmeler, a well-known cardiologist at the University of Frankfurt. Dimmeler had been incredibly productive and was going to be awarded the 2005 Leibniz Prize – but this prize was suspended during the investigation. The formal investigation by the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinshaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) found that the findings published in the paper in question were reproducible, and that the suspicious figure had likely been mistakenly included in the paper – it was a figure from one of their previous manuscripts. Dimmeler was exonerated from all allegations of scientific misconduct, and received the 2005 Leibniz Prize. Although no intentional scientific misconduct was found, the post-doc in question was snubbed by members of that field for having been “sloppy” for including the wrong figure (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/27268.php). Because Dimmeler had been nominated for the 2005 Leibniz Prize, this investigation was made public and followed closely by members in that field. Had the investigation not been so public, the post-doc may not have had to change his field of study. I understand the value in having a transparent investigation, however as this example highlights, even if the investigation does not find misconduct, the accused researcher’s career can be irrevocably altered. Accordingly, I think that public disclosure of an investigation should occur only after enough evidence has been obtained for a committee to make a decision regarding whether misconduct had occurred. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, and benefits to a public investigation, -- however, the impact that an investigation has on an accused person should be considered when taking an investigation public.

First of all, I have to commend the comments below that have already been given. Several points appear to have been consistent and I will mention them briefly. However I will also focus on a topic that hasn't been discusses as deeply. 1. Internal review of anything is less than ideal. There are multiple examples of this in multiple disciplines and fields. For example, the BP oil spill. BP was aware of problems with the oil rig before it exploded. Another example is the recent explosion of the PG&E line in San Bruno. An internal investigation had already revealed that the gas line was old and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately it appears that organizations don't like to self regulate themselves. Even when self regulation occurs, the recommendations are not followed. 2. The culture of academia and the need to publish or perish mentality which is pervasive. This has been discussed well by some of the comments below. While I feel that to really implement a long-term solution to the problem would require changing the incentives for academic promotion in some manner that relies less on the number of publications. There is something that can be done in the short term which hopefully can make an impact. The largest problem I have with all these cases of academic misconduct, including research misconduct is the slap on the hand that happens for people who act unethically. I do not think that it is inconsistent to consider these cases of fraud. Creating data and publishing this data is scientific fraud. In addition to academic punishment, there should also be criminal punishment. I think this is more especially the case with clinical research in which patients die and are not given informed consent. This brings to mind the UPenn case of the young volunteer who died from a gene therapy trial. People have very very poor long term memory and if you check on pubmed some of these people who have been found to have academic misconduct, they are still publishing away. If an investigator intentionally falsifies data in research, they should be banned from research for life. Since science is conducted by upper class people, these "white crimes" are treated lightly. Publishing misleading information has the potential to harm millions of people.

To make it even more interesting... Hauser was reportedly an Associate Editor of the journal Cognition which published the now-retracted article in 2002. Can't personally confirm this since his CV is no longer available on the Harvard website: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~mnkylab/LPPI.html This interesting email correspondence with Cognition editor Gerry Altmann was posted at http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com and sheds important insight on the journal peer-review process. The text of the retraction, which is in press and will appear in an upcoming issue of Cognition: "...An internal examination at Harvard University of the research reported in “Rule learning by cotton-top tamarins,” Cognition 86 (2002), pp. B15-B22, found that the data do not support the reported findings. We therefore are retracting this article. MH accepts responsibility for the error...." On Hauser’s position as an associate editor at Cognition during the time this paper was published: "...I cannot comment on how papers from editorial board members or associate editors were handled back in 2002 as I was not the editor then. The procedure now is that papers from editorial board members are handled in exactly the same way as regular submissions – no special privileges. The same is true for papers by associate editors (or authored by associate editors). The only difference is that I handle all manuscripts by associate editors, rather than passing them on to one of the other associates. Also, if an associate editor is an author, they are ’blinded’ within the system so that he/she cannot find out who is reviewing his/her paper. When I’ve been an author (only happened once, while I’ve been editor, but it was a resubmission of something submitted before I was editor), that was handled by one of the associates. Again, I was blinded from the review process. In fact, a close colleague of mine with whom I publish a lot of my work has submitted to the journal and I have even blinded myself to that, even though I am not involved in that research. I wanted to ensure there was no suggestion of influence. I have actually had occasion to reject manuscripts submitted by associate editors – they know the score! I was not aware until you pointed it out that Hauser was an associate editor back in 2002 – I did know he had been an editor, but I didn’t know the year. However, I do suspect that he had no involvement in the publication of his own paper. And as originally published, it was a good paper, worthy of publication in a journal such as Cognition. Of course, now we know differently. But I do not believe there could have been any impropriety in the manner of the paper’s publication. Whether there has been impropriety in the handling/analysis of the data is another matter, and one that Harvard University might wish to clarify, but I have no direct information one way or another...."

I think this calls us to rethink the standards that people in positions of academic power are held to. As a tenured professor at Harvard, Hauser is now on a year-long "leave of absence." It seems unlikely that he will lose his job despite fairly convincing evidence that he falsified data. While Harvard statutes states that the Harvard Corporation (e.g., its Board of Overseers) can dismiss a tenured faculty member for “grave misconduct or neglect of duty," this historically is not the precedent. According to The Harvard Crimson article published on this topic, "the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has never begun dismissal proceedings against a faculty member because of research misconduct." http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/9/9/professor-faculty-misconduct-... There are two schools of thought on post-tenure review process. On one hand, advocates feel that it addresses accountability issues and identifies underproductive tenured faculty members. On the other hand, critics (mostly academic professors) argue that post-tenure review is expensive, is detrimental to collegial collaboration, and undermines the rights of the professors who have worked so hard to get to their positions. I think how Harvard has handled this highlights disparate enforcement of the institutional policy on how to handle research misconduct based upon the individual's level of seniority. The culture of Harvard is entrenched in the academic hierarchy -- and with this come the benefits and challenges of its historical prestige, a wealth of young talent, and upward mobility that is sometimes limited by the grey hairs at the top. It's competitive at all levels, but therein lies the need for relentless review from within the institution at ALL levels.

Several interesting issues are raised by the case of Harvard’s professor Marc Hauser and the allegation of research misconduct. One is the practical issue of how to handle allegations of misconduct once the suspicion has been raised. Any allegation should be reviewed by a panel of internal university members from different fields as well as external colleagues in the same field to provide context immediately after the first questions are raised. This initial assessment should be objective and systematic using preset standards that could be applied to anyone in a similar situation. Careful attention to potential conflicts of interest both from the institution who has an interest vested in its reputation, as well as the colleagues and members of the committee who may have an interest to clear the name of someone that may be a potential superior, but also cognizant of professional rivalries and pressure. This committee should be very careful in differentiating mistakes from misconduct (methods vs. intentions). Mistakes can occur and should be corrected by extensive training, auditing and supervision. But there should be zero tolerance for misconduct because it not only undermines the reputation of the academic institution and the field but it undermines the trust of the public. The whole enterprise is at risk by seemingly isolated events such as the one raised here, especially since it received heightened media coverage, even though the issue had not been fully investigated and a judgment pronounced. In other words, the mere suggestion of the possibility of research misconduct affects public perception but that should not be an excuse to conduct such inquires in a nontransparent way. Even though sanctions should be reserved for proven actions of misconduct, the public has to be able to trust that an academic community is capable of self-regulation, monitoring our members and censoring with unbiased determination. The public deserves this because they not only participate as subjects of research, on many occasions they also fund research through their tax dollars. An equally important but separate issue that the committee should examine is why these problems arise. The committee should conduct a root cause analysis similar to the one that is in place in medical centers to prevent medical errors. The purpose of this is not to assign guilt but to learn from mistakes and prevent them from happening again. It is increasingly recognized that academic misconduct is not an isolated or rare event committed by a handful of unethical researchers. There may be things intrinsic to the academic culture and environment that reward behavior that ultimately leads to in academic misconduct. As Dr. Hal Barron, Executive Vice President, Global Development and Chief Medical Officerthe of Genentech recently said, the environment has to be one that rewards GOOD DECISIONS, NOT GOOD OUTCOMES. We in the academic community have criticized industry for the blatant conflict of interest when conducting biomedical research (profit) but we have not been equally acute in recognizing the enormous conflict of interest that exists in academic centers to produce publishable medical research. This is also fueled by the focus and philosophy of the medical journals. The journals should start conducting peer review in a masked way so that prominent well-known researchers don’t receive favorable treatment and fastidious scrutiny. They should also be held responsible for what they publish and not simply hide behind the argument that readers can critically evaluate the literature and decide for themselves. With the technical advancements and sophistication that we have achieved, we really cannot just leave it to the readership to question the methods or results of a study, especially with the stamp of approval of a supposedly rigorous peer review process and the immediate status given by acceptance in journals with the prestige of Science or Nature. Data should be requested and reviewed by the journal, and the reviewers’ concerns and comments, and even disagreements, should be made public or at least available. Also equal weight to negative findings and reports should be given in all medical or scientific journals so as to mitigate the bias and pressure toward positive findings only. Research is no longer the responsibility or domain of a single group or individual but of a greater community that involves university officials, publishers, biomedical research consumers, industry and the public at large. We should all be held responsible.

Scientific misconduct is one area of ethics in which all researchers face temptation. When put under strict requirements for data and publications, it is unfortunate that many researchers undermine the ethical standards of scientific research and turn to data fabrication to meet their quotas. Furthermore, in the instance of Hauser at Harvard University who was recently faced with charges of scientific misconduct, the institutional pressure for publication undoubtedly played a role in his case. He did research on monkeys which may have led him to believe that there was less chance of others discovering the holes in his raw data from which he drew his conclusions. It appears as though Hauser has taken a leave of absence given his recent charges by Harvard University. Although a review committee probably already exists to deal with these kinds of issues, I feel that there should be a strict standard applied to all researchers who face allegations of misconduct. To preserve the integrity of scientific research and adverse other researchers from falling to the same temptations, the institution should retract all sources of funding as well as rescind the research title awarded. As mentioned in lecture, misconduct of this magnitude causes harm to the scientific community and to the research subjects themselves, in this case animals. Requirements such as ethics training are in place to avoid situations where individuals claim they did not know or it was an honest mistake. In this case, it seems as though investigation was started based on the student from his laboratory. In addition to stopping grant money and termination of employment, Hauser should not be eligible for future grants and should also face civil and criminal liability. A strict adherence to these standards will ensure that future researchers will not fall into this trap when faced under significant stress. Additionally, journal editors should require proof of raw data before accepting publications. Although this may seem tedious, it is a good way of uncovering these problems before they become apparent.

Cases involving allegations of misconduct should be handled with great care, since it can permanently damage one's professional and personal reputation. I would recommend that the committee interview and speak with as many of the accused's assistants, research investigators and colleagues as possible to get a real picture of what has taken place. I also think that this matter should not be punished lightly. In my opinion a major part of science and research is the honesty and integrity of the information that we as professionals are putting forth in society and the public should be able to trust us! Stretching or fabricating data should be taken very seriously.

If there is no data to support the claims, then it is a case of misrepresentation of data. The fact that this is something that changes the face of this field makes it something of a very sensitive issue. If he claims that monkeys can recognize themselves and that they can learn moral rules, these are serious conclusions that really changes the face of this field. This professor is held to some very high standards due to his position and he should be held responsible for his work. The fact that he "apologized" for his significant mistakes indicates that there was indeed something done that shouldn't have been, which is not very ethical and a man at his position should not have undertaken. If I were to make a recommendation to the committee, I would suggest that it be given serious consideration of wrong doing because it sets the standards for the rest of the people.

I think the university should continue to take cases of scientific misconduct very seriously. Academic professors, especially at prestigious institutions like Harvard are given a great deal of respect and authority in their respective fields. As the old saying goes, "with great power comes great responsibility". Professors need to be held accountable for their work, especially material that is published and available to the public. Publishing scientific literature is already a competitive process, and accurate research findings should not be outcompeted by invalid findings, however interesting they may seem. With regard to measures the committee should take, I feel there should be a lot more transparency in how the allegations are handled. Obviously, exceptions should be made if giving out information is going to hurt the case in anyway. However, especially in cases where federal funding was involved, the public has a right to know who was responsible for the scientific fraud. Transparancy also helps clear the names of innocent colleagues and students of Dr. Hauser that may have gotten dragged into this without their knowledge.