Category Archives: Research

Academic researchers and their ideas.


28 Universities to Participate in AAU’s Sexual-Assault Survey

Only 27 of the Association of American Universities’ member institutions will participate in the organization’s much-publicized survey on campus sexual assault, according to a news release from the association. They will be joined by one non-member, Dartmouth College, in administering the survey, which will begin in April.

The participants represent less than half of the AAU’s members, some of whom have said they would not participate because they planned their own surveys, among other reasons. …


Former Iowa State U. Scientist Will Plead Guilty in Research-Fraud Case

A former Iowa State University researcher who resigned in 2013 after being accused of falsifying results of an AIDS-vaccine study will plead guilty to federal fraud charges, The Des Moines Register reports.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Des Moines said he could not discuss details of any plea agreement in advance of its being filed in court. The high-profile charges have drawn the attention of, among others, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has called for st…


U. of Calif. to Pay $500,000 in Case Alleging Double Dipping by Researchers

The University of California will pay $499,700 to settle allegations that scientists on its Davis campus received research money from two federal agencies for the same project by submitting “false and misleading statements” in grant applications, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

A spokesman for UC-Davis said the project was in the material-science field and involved a five-year, $1.1-million grant from the Department of Energy and a one-year, $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundati…


Harvard Took Secret Photos of 2,000 Students for Attendance Study

Researchers at Harvard University secretly took photographs of roughly 2,000 students to study classroom attendance, prompting privacy complaints from faculty members, The Boston Globe reports.

Researchers in Harvard’s Initiative for Learning and Teaching conducted the study, which was approved by the university’s institutional review board and involved installing cameras in 10 classrooms in the spring of 2013. The cameras took one image every minute, and a computer program scanned the photos to…


Stanford U. Apologizes for Fliers That Rated Montana Candidates’ Politics

Stanford University has apologized for a research project that sent fliers to Montana residents rating the political leanings of candidates for the state’s Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports. The fliers, which bore Montana’s state seal, were condemned by its secretary of state, Linda McCulloch, who called them “deceitful.”

The university said it was investigating the methods of the project’s leaders, who are researchers at Stanford and Dartmouth College. “We do share the concerns that t…


Finally! Academics Describe Their Research in Terms We Can Understand

A few weeks ago, The Chronicle Review published an essay by Steven Pinker that took academics to task for their incomprehensible writing.

“In writing badly,” wrote Mr. Pinker, “we are wasting each other’s time, sowing confusion and error, and turning our profession into a laughingstock.” The implication is that academese could use a grand stroke of simplification.

What follows, however, might be taking things a little far.

Researchers took to Twitter over the weekend to rally around the hashtag …


University Paid $4.5-Million in Legal Fees for Fatal Lab Fire at UCLA

The University of California paid nearly $4.5-million in legal fees to defend itself and a UCLA professor in the case of a 2008 lab fire that left one dead, the Los Angeles Times reports. Records obtained by the Times show that nearly five dozen lawyers and other staff members billed the university for upwards of 7,700 hours of work on the case.

On December 29, 2008, a chemical ignited and burned a 23-year-old research assistant, Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji, who died 18 days later. The professor …


Controversial Philosopher Will Step Down as Editor of Influential Rankings

Brian Leiter, the philosopher who has come under intense criticism in recent weeks for his caustic rhetoric, will step down as editor of The Philosophical Gourmet Report, an influential ranking of philosophy departments.

Mr. Leiter, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, announced the change in a blog post on Friday, after the publication’s advisory board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the move. Mr. Leiter will remain the publication’s editor unti…


Army War College Revokes Senator’s Degree After Plagiarism Investigation

The U.S. Army War College has revoked Sen. John E. Walsh’s master’s degree after investigating allegations that he plagiarized his thesis, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Walsh, a Montana Democrat, said he disagrees with the investigation’s outcome but accepts the decision.

A July article in The New York Times revealed that Mr. Walsh had copied large portions of the thesis from other sources without attribution. The senator subsequently dropped his campaign for a full term in the U.S. Senate, …


U. of Illinois Chancellor Corrects ‘Serious Errors’ in 2006 Paper

Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has made a significant correction to a paper, published in 2006, that presents non-original work as original, the blog Retraction Watch reports.

According to a correction in the journal Neuroscience, Ms. Wise’s paper contained “a number of serious errors” and was “written in a way that misleads the readers to think that it is an original article.” The article, “Estrogen Therapy: Does It Help or Hurt the Adult and Agin…