Harvard ethics prof accused of faking data

Professor Francesca Gino, teaching ethics at Harvard Business School, has an ethics problem of her own to deal with: accusations of faking data in one of her studies.

Professors Joseph Simmons, Uri Simonsohn and Leif Nelson of University of Pennsylvania, Escade Business School in Spain, and University of California, Berkeley, respectively, accused Gino of the fraud on their blog Data Colada.

"Specifically, we wrote a report about four studies for which we accumulated the strongest evidence of fraud," they wrote, stating they shared their concerns with Harvard Business School.

Neither Gino nor Harvard are talking to the press, but her husband picked up the phone for the New York Times: "It's obviously something that is very sensitive that we can't speak to now," he told Noam Schieber there.

But in their blog post, Dr. Simonsohn, Dr. Nelson and Dr. Simmons, analyzing data that Dr. Gino and her co-authors had posted online, cited a digital record contained within an Excel file to demonstrate that some of the data points had been tampered with, and that the tampering helped drive the result.

Last week's post was not the first time the DataColada watchdogs had found problems with the 2012 paper by Dr. Gino and her co-authors. In a blog post in August 2021, the same researchers found evidence that another study published in the same paper appeared to rely on manufactured data.

It seems blood's been in the water with Gino's research since others failed to replicate it. I wonder how close the general correlation between failure-to-replicate and fraud is.