Category Archives: Research

Academic researchers and their ideas.


W.Va. Court Shields Researcher’s Records on Health Effects of Mining

The West Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday shielded from disclosure a former West Virginia University researcher’s records of his work concerning the health effects of mountaintop-removal mining, The Charleston Gazette reported.

The scholar, Michael Hendryx, who is now a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington, led research that found that people living near mountaintop-removal mines faced higher risks of cancer and premature death. A mining company had sued the university for access to …


Temple U. Professor Is Charged With Offering China Sensitive Technology

The chairman of Temple University’s physics department has been charged in connection with an alleged scheme to provide China with sensitive U.S. defense technology, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that the professor, Xi Xiaoxing, had been indicted on four counts of wire fraud. He allegedly sought prestigious appointments in China in exchange for providing information about a device invented by a private American company.

The charges were announced …


Co-Author Asks for Retraction of Much-Cited Gay-Marriage Study

[Updated (5/20/2015, 2:58 p.m.) with a statement from the journal Science.]

The data underlying a popular study that ostensibly showed that short conversations could change opinions on same-sex marriage may have been faked, the blog Retraction Watch reports. A co-author of a paper describing the study, “When Contact Changes Minds: An Experiment on Transmission of Support for Gay Equality,” has asked that the journal Science retract it.

An attempt to replicate the study turned up irregularities, …


U. of Kentucky Overhauls Body-Donation Program After Audit Finds Problems

The University of Kentucky on Tuesday said it was overhauling a program for handling bodies donated to science after an audit found problems with the program’s administration, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The newspaper published an article in January describing significant backlogs that were preventing the remains of people who had donated their bodies from being buried.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the entire UK community for the failings we have uncovered in this important progra…


Election Research by Dartmouth and Stanford Broke Montana Law, State Says

Researchers at Dartmouth College and Stanford University broke Montana campaign laws by mailing fliers to more than 100,000 residents, the state’s chief campaign regulator said on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports that Jonathan Motl, commissioner of political practices, said fliers sent by the political-science professors amounted to campaign advocacy, which must be disclosed under state law.

Controversy erupted last year after residents received informational leaflets bearing the state seal…


Journal Says Energy Company Paid Syracuse Professor for Fracking Study

A Syracuse University professor was paid by Chesapeake Energy, an oil-and-natural-gas company, to produce a study that reflected favorably on the controversial petroleum-extraction process known as fracking, The Post-Standard reports.

That disclosure was made in a correction the journal Environmental Science & Technology added to a published paper that was co-authored by the professor, Donald I. Siegel. The paper found no evidence of water contamination near fracking wells in Pennsylvania.

The j…


U. of Minnesota Acknowledges Errors in a Second Psychiatric-Research Case

The University of Minnesota has issued a written apology to a man who said he had been coerced into a joining a psychiatric-drug trial, the Star-Tribune reports.

Robert Huber, now 44, was admitted to the university’s medical center in 2007 with symptoms of schizophrenia; while confined there, he said, he was pushed to enroll in a safety test of the drug bifeprunox. Mr. Huber said he had participated in the study because he felt he would not be permitted to leave the hospital otherwise.

The patie…


Ex-Professor Sold Gear to His Own U. of Colorado Lab at Big Markup, Prosecutors Say

A former professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the university by operating a company that sold equipment to his own laboratory at a substantial markup, The Daily Camera reports.

Donald Cooper, a former tenured associate professor and director of the lab, was arrested on Tuesday. Prosecutors said Mr. Cooper had created a company, called Boulder Science Resource, that sold to his lab lasers and other equipment he had bou…


NSF Freezes Grants to UConn After Professors Bought Equipment From Their Own Company

The National Science Foundation has frozen millions of dollars in grants to the University of Connecticut after auditors found that two professors there used grant money to buy equipment from their own company, The Hartford Courant reports.

The state Auditors of Public Accounts found that the professors, who control a marine sensor and communication technology company, bought $253,000 worth of acoustic modems using NSF funds. The professors told the auditors they did not read a clause on a form …


Reviewer Suggests Female Researchers Recruit Male Co-Authors to Raise Paper’s Credibility

A major publisher has apologized after a peer reviewer for one of its journals suggested that two female authors of a paper recruit male co-authors to strengthen the credibility of their findings, Science magazine reports.

Fiona Ingleby, a research fellow at the University of Sussex, took to Twitter on Wednesday to complain that a peer reviewer had suggested she and her co-author of a paper examining gender differences in the Ph.D. process add male voices to keep the paper from “drifting too far…