Harvard University business administration professor Francesca Gino has been placed on leave after a science blog accused her of faking study results, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
Data integrity blog DataColada published a detailed examination of Gino’s alleged fraud, including falsified study results found in at least four articles. The three behavioral scientists behind the blog had previously been involved in uncovering falsified data in one of Gino’s best-known studies.
However, the findings had already been cited hundreds of times in other papers, with thousands of dollars spent by governments attempting to turn them into policy.
In 2021, Harvard told business school professor Max Bazerman, one of Gino’s co-authors, that the results of another study from the paper weren’t just irreproducible – they were fake. The school reportedly provided 14 pages of evidence showing someone had deliberately tweaked the experimental data, invalidating the results, and suggested the journal which had published and then retracted it add a note explaining this.
DataColada revealed last week how they had previously raised concerns with Harvard about Gino’s fake data, and subsequently published evidence that the star professor had fudged results in two more papers she co-authored. Bazerman confirmed to the Chronicle of Higher Education that Gino’s name was on four papers currently being analyzed for fraud.
Gino’s fall from grace has had heavy “reverberations in the academic community,” University of Pennsylvania behavioral scientist Maurice Schweitzer told the New York Times, noting that he was examining the eight papers he co-authored with her and suggesting many colleagues of the prolific publisher were doing the same.
The author of several best-selling books on topics including dishonesty and unethical behavior, Gino’s most recent work is ironically titled ‘Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules in Work and Life’.
Meanwhile, Bazerman used Gino as an object-lesson for a chapter about the perils of putting trust in relationships in his own book, titled ‘Complicit: How We Enable the Unethical and How to Stop’.
“The irony of this being a story about data fraud in a paper on inducing honesty is not lost on me,” he wrote.