Hauser Responds to Federal Report Published Today

Federal Report Finds Hauser Guilty of Research Misconduct

In a statement to The Crimson, former Harvard psychology professor Marc D. Hauser responded to a report by the Office of Research Integrity published earlier today finding him responsible for six counts of research misconduct, including fabrication of data, doctoring of results, and misrepresentation of research methods.

Although he does not agree with the entirety of the report, Hauser said that he accepts full responsibility for any errors made when he was head of the laboratory—many of which he said he considered a result of his taking on too much responsibility at the University.

“I tried to do too much, teaching courses, running a large lab of students, sitting on several editorial boards, directing the Mind, Brain & Behavior Program at Harvard, conducting multiple research collaborations, and writing for the general public,” he wrote in an email to The Crimson. “I let important details get away from my control, and as head of the lab, I take responsibility for all errors made within the lab, whether or not I was directly involved.”

The two-year federal investigation came to an end today when the Department of Health and Human Services posted its official notice online. According to the report, Hauser’s research misconduct affected work funded by four different national agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health. Hauser continues to maintain that much of the doubt surrounding his research is unmerited.

“I am saddened that this investigation has caused some to question all of my work, rather than the few papers and unpublished studies in question,” he wrote. “Before, during and after the investigation, many of my lab’s research findings were replicated by independent researchers. I remain proud of the many important papers generated by myself, my collaborators and my students over the years.”

Internal review by Harvard preceded the national investigation by three years. After the Boston Globe announced that Hauser was taking a one-year leave of absence due to a three-year investigation into the integrity of his work, Dean of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith confirmed in Aug. 2010 that a Harvard committee had found Hauser “solely responsible” for eight instances of misconduct.

Since Harvard’s investigation, Hauser retracted or corrected three of the published articles found to be problematic. Today’s ORI report acknowledged these changes but still found the original papers faulty.

Hauser resigned from his tenured position on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in July 2011 after colleagues on the faculty voted to bar him from his teaching duties. In his statement, he called the investigation process “long and painful” and added that he is “relieved” it is finally complete.

“Over the past year, I have blended my passion for teaching, science and humanitarian efforts to give back to those in need, focusing on at-risk youth,” he wrote. “This work is deeply satisfying and I look forward to making new contributions to human welfare, education, and the role of scientific knowledge in understanding human nature.”

Although Hauser “neither admits nor denies committing research misconduct,” according to the ORI report, he has agreed to supervision for any research supported by the U.S. Public Health Service, review of the legitimacy of his data by any institution that employs him in the future, and exclusion from advisory responsibilities the PHS.

—Staff writer Radhika Jain can be reached at radhikajain@college.harvard.edu.

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