Harvard President says Hauser could lose tenure

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The Boston Globe reports on an interview of Harvard’s President Drew Gilpin Faust by former ABC correspondent Charlie Gibson.

The discussion, billed as a start-of-the-school year address, was held at Sanders Theatre and broadcast over the Internet. In response to Gibson’s question about why Marc Hauser remained on the faculty even after the university found him guilty of eight instances of scientific misconduct, Faust said Harvard is addressing the issue. “Integrity is absolutely fundamental in everything we do,’’ Faust said. “We have a process we have undertaken, and that process still has some part to continue because it involves federal funds.’’ Cases of scientific misconduct could result in a loss of tenure, Faust said.

Gibson said the silence from the university has been “somewhat deafening,’’ and raised the possibility that the lack of response could call into question Harvard’s research integrity and have financial implications. But Faust replied that Harvard has moved to depart somewhat from its normally confidential proceedings, in order to correct the scientific record, though it remains mindful of ongoing federal investigations. “Announcing that there were indeed findings, that was unprecedented,’’ she said.

Whether the Harvard President is actually trying to maintain and protect integrity or merely engaging in damage control is unclear. The second part of the Boston Globe article is about the honouring of Martin Peretz and how Harvard is swallowing its principles and seems to show that there is a price at which Harvard is prepared to compromise integrity.

But meanwhile the wagons continue to circle.

Bert Vaux who is a former Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University and Jeffrey Watumull who is a PhD student in Linguistics and a member of Hauser’s lab have rushed to his defence in The Harvard Crimson.

“In our experience, Marc Hauser is the consummate scientist—the most disinterested, the most rational, the most ethical. We are proud to be his colleagues. However, we are less than proud of those in the cognitive sciences reacting publicly to Hauser’s case with irresponsible impatience (disrespect for due process), unjustified slurs, and half-baked conjectures. All are interested in the truth, but as scientists we ought to consider the case reasonably and measuredly, with objectivity and fairness”.

But they forget that his nonsense started at least as long ago as 1995. One wonders whether Hauser’s defenders are part of a concerted damage control exercise. Methinks they do protest too much.

The onus of proof has shifted.

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One Response to “Harvard President says Hauser could lose tenure”

  1. Nobel prize winner retracts more papers « The k2p blog Says:

    […] prize winner retracts more papers By ktwop Following quickly on the heels of Hausergate and the Mount Sinai misconduct, we now have a Nobel laureate  – Linda Buck – retracting two […]

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