Harvard expert on rule-breaking accused of fraud

Francesca Gino, a well-known behavioral scientist at Harvard Business School, is on administrative leave in the face of allegations of using fraudulent data in her papers, reports Financial Times (paywalled). She did not respond to the paper's requests for comment.

A website called DataColada has started a series detailing evidence of fraud in four academic papers co-authored by Gino, suggesting more of her papers might contain fake data. In 2021, a paper on dishonesty that Gino co-authored was retracted after the DataColada team found evidence that one of the experiments was fraudulent.

From Financial Times:

In response to that DataColada intervention, Gino thanked(opens a new window) the DataColada team for their work, "which vastly improves our research field". "I start all my research collaborations from a place of trust [her emphasis] and assume that all of my co-authors provide data collected with proper care and due diligence, and that they are presented with accuracy," she said.

A Harvard Business School co-author of that paper, Max H. Bazerman, wrote in response(opens a new window) to DataColada: "I wish I had worked harder to identify the data were fraudulent, to ensure rigorous research in a collaborative context."

Gino is the author of the 2018 book, Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life.


Usually, we internalize social norms so effectively that we don't even consider the possibility of violating them. To do so would be embarrassing or distasteful. Violators tend to be punished with gossip, derision, and rumors — all of which are powerful corrective measures that influence how we behave. In colonial America, a person caught breaking social norms, such as stealing or committing adultery, was confined to the stocks or pillory in the center of town. These long confinements were uncomfortable, but even worse was the realization that everyone you cared about would know what you did.