Category Archives: Research

Academic researchers and their ideas.


If You’ve Dressed Up as a Polar Bear in Front of Reindeer, Read This

You’re on a research expedition at the North Pole to study reindeer while dressed in a polar-bear suit. You’re hungry, so you pull out a piece of toast you’ve packed for the day. Lo and behold, its shape is the spitting image of Jesus Christ. You rush back to base to tell your research partner (stopping once to let your husky defecate, though he can’t settle on an orientation in which to do so, which is strange). When you get back to base, your partner is unimpressed and says, “That’s not Jesus….


Supporters of Israel Say Programs in Middle East Studies Misuse U.S. Funds

Several groups supportive of Israel are urging Congress to overhaul a federal grant program to keep funds from going to programs in Middle East studies that show an anti-Israel bias.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the groups argue that Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which provides funds to international-studies and foreign-language centers to educate the public and train security specialists, is being misused “to support biased, politicized, and imbalanced programs of Middle …


#APSAOnFire: Political Scientists Cope With Fires at Their Meeting’s Hotel

The American Political Science Association’s annual meeting has had a rough couple of years. In 2012 the conference was set to take place in New Orleans, but Hurricane Isaac hit the area and forced the gathering to be called off.

Washington, D.C., the site of this year’s conference, might seem like a safer choice than New Orleans during hurricane season. Alas, the conference’s streak of woes continued early Saturday morning. The Washington Post reported that “a series of suspicious fires” at…


University Coalition Is Among Challengers to FAA’s Drone Rules

The Council on Governmental Relations, a coalition of 188 research universities, is one of three groups that on Friday filed lawsuits challenging recent regulations on unmanned flying machines, the Associated Press reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that the rules are an attempt to clarify what counts as a model aircraft and the limits on their operation. Professors have argued that the rules improperly restrict their ability to use drones for academic purposes.

Last year the…


In Their Own Words: A Field Guide to Accused Plagiarists’ Public Statements

Accused plagiarists, presented with a body of evidence, often don’t know what to say.

Case in point: Mary C. Willingham, a former literacy specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and whistle-blower on athletes’ literacy, whose master’s thesis was revealed on Monday to have been partly plagiarized and to have contained improper citations.

Her statement on the matter? “Whatever I did, I did, and, you know, whatever. There’s nothing I can do about it,” she told the News & Obse…


Scientist Linked to a Research Scandal in Japan Is Found Dead

Yoshiki Sasai, a senior official at a Japanese research center who was a co-author of two disputed papers on stem cells, was found dead on Tuesday of an apparent suicide, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Sasai was deputy director of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, which publicly shamed the papers’ lead author, Haruko Obokata, accusing her of fabricating data, doctoring images, and plagiarism. Ms. Obokata, who has admitted mistakes but not ill intent, is fighting the allegations …


Energy Dept. Unveils Plan to Increase Public Access to Research It Finances

The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday unveiled a plan to increase public access to research that it finances, in response to an order last year from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Science magazine reported.

The Obama administration last year directed federal agencies to develop plans to make the results of research they support publicly available within a year of publication. The Energy Department will do so through a web-based portal known as the Public Access Gatewa…


Bentley U. Finds Former Professor Wrote 2 Papers With False Data

Bentley University has found that James E. Hunton, a former accounting professor at the Massachusetts institution, falsified data for two scholarly papers he wrote, The Boston Globe reports.

As a result, “Dr. Hunton’s entire body of work while at Bentley is subject to a further review in collaboration with the publishers of those articles,” wrote Michael J. Page, the university’s provost, in a statement accompanying a report.

In 2012 an accounting journal retracted one of Mr. Hunton’s articles, …


Pot Researcher at U. of Arizona Fights to Get Her Job Back

A medical doctor at the University of Arizona who was dismissed last month is appealing the university’s decision, according to The Arizona Republic. Suzanne Sisley, who studies the effects of marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder, is asking to be reinstated as an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, assistant director of the university’s telemedicine program, and researcher. She says she was questioned by university officials over an attempt to recall State Sen. Kimberly Y…


AIDS-Research Community Mourns Losses in Air Disaster

Among the victims of Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines disaster were passengers traveling to an AIDS-research conference in Australia. One victim was Joep Lange, head of the department of global health at the University of Amsterdam and one of the field’s most prominent members. People in the community have been reacting to the loss on social media and in the news media.

  • Vox ran a piece detailing Mr. Lange’s importance to the community.
  • BuzzFeed published a poignant piece that mentioned other promi…