In a surprising turn of events, a prominent Harvard behavioral scientist known for her research on fairness has been charged with data fraud, NewsMadura reported. Professor Francesca Gino is now at the center of the controversy as multiple behavioral science studies she co-authored are being investigated for falsified results. She has published 135 articles since 2007.
Ms Gino has been sent on leave after three other investigators claimed to have falsified data results.
Max Bazerman, a professor at HBS and co-author of a 2012 paper with Francesca Gino, revealed that Harvard had informed him that one of its studies was using fraudulent data. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Mr Bazerman said the university provided a 14-page document containing “compelling evidence” of data falsification, including the discovery that someone opened a database and added and modified data in the file.
Two years ago, other researchers began questioning her research on a 2012 study in which she evaluated the impact of fairness promises at the beginning and end of forms.
Further, a blog called DataColada, run by behavioral science academics, published a series of posts outlining evidence of fraud in four academic papers co-authored by Ms. Gino.
“We found evidence of fraud in articles spanning more than a decade, including articles published quite recently (in 2020). In the fall of 2021, we shared our concerns with Harvard Business School. Specifically, we wrote a report on four investigations for which we had collected the strongest evidence of fraud. We believe that many more articles written by Gino contain false data. Maybe dozens,” the blog authors wrote The protector.
The scholars emphasized that, to their knowledge, none of Ms. Gino’s co-authors were involved in or aware of the data fabrication.
The allegations against her have sent shockwaves through the academic community.
Maurice Schweitzer, a former colleague of Ms. Gino’s, told the NewsMadura that the allegations have led to “reverberations in the academic community [because she is someone with] so many contributors, so many articles, who is really a leading scholar in the field.
According to the New York Post, Ms. Gino has been honored as one of the top 40 Business Professors under 40 and has won numerous awards.