[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 173 (Thursday, September 6, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54917-54919]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21992]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Office of the Secretary


Findings of Research Misconduct

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity 
(ORI) has taken final action in the following case:
    Marc Hauser, Ph.D., Harvard University: Based on the report of an 
investigation conducted by Harvard University (Harvard) and additional 
analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, ORI found that Dr. 
Marc Hauser, former Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard, 
engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Center 
for Research Resources (NCRR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), 
grants P51 RR00168-37 and CM-5-P40 RR003640-13, National Institute on 
Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), NIH, grant 5 R01

[[Page 54918]]

DC005863, and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH, grant 5 
F31 MH075298.
    ORI found that Respondent engaged in research misconduct as 
follows:
     Respondent published fabricated data in Figure 2 of the 
paper Hauser, M.D., Weiss, D., & Marcus, G. ``Rule learning by cotton-
top tamarins.'' Cognition 86:B15-B22, 2002, which reported data on 
experiments designed to determine whether tamarin monkeys habituated to 
a sound pattern consisting of three sequential syllables (for example 
AAB) would then distinguish a different sound pattern (i.e., ABB). 
Figure 2 is a bar graph showing results obtained with 14 monkeys 
exposed either to the same or different sound patterns than they were 
habituated to. Because the tamarins were never exposed to the same 
sound pattern after habituation, half of the data in the graph was 
fabricated. Figure 2 is also false because the actual height of the 
bars for the monkeys purportedly receiving the same test pattern that 
they had been habituated to totaled 16 animals (7.14 subjects as 
responding and 8.87 subjects as non-responding).
    Respondent retracted the paper in 2010 (Cognition 117:106).
     In two unpublished experiments designed to test whether or 
not tamarin monkeys showed a greater response to certain combinations 
of unsegmented strings of consonants and vowels than others, Respondent 
falsified the coding of some of the monkeys' responses, making the 
results statistically significant when the results coded by others 
showed them to be non-significant. Respondent acknowledged to his 
collaborators that he miscoded some of the trials and that the study 
failed to provide support for the initial hypothesis. This research was 
never written up for publication.
     In versions of a manuscript entitled ``Grammatical Pattern 
Learning by Human Infants and Monkeys'' submitted to Cognition, 
Science, and Nature, Respondent falsely described the methodology used 
to code the results for experiments 1 and 3 on ``grammar expectancy 
violations'' in tamarin monkeys either by claiming coding was done 
blindly or by fabricating values for inter-observer reliabilities when 
coding was done by only one observer, in both cases leading to a false 
proportion or number of animals showing a favorable response.
    Specifically, in three different experiments in which tamarin 
monkeys were exposed first to human voice recordings of artificial 
sounds that followed grammatical structure and then exposed to stimuli 
that conformed to or violated that structure, Respondent (1) provided 
an incorrect description of the coding methodology by claiming in the 
early versions of the manuscripts that ``two blind observers'' coded 
trials and a third coded trials to resolve differences, while all of 
the coding for one experiment was done just by the Respondent, and (2) 
in a revised manuscript, while Respondent no longer mentioned ``two 
blind observers, he claimed that ``Inter-observer reliabilities ranged 
from 0.85 to 0.90,'' a statement that is false because there was only 
one observer for one of the experiments.
    Furthermore, in an earlier version of the manuscript, Respondent 
falsely reported that ``16 out of 16 subjects'' responded more to the 
ungrammatical rather than the grammatical stimuli for the predictive 
language condition, while records showed that one of the sixteen 
responded more to grammatical than ungrammatical stimuli, and one 
responded equally to grammatical and ungrammatical.
    Respondent and his collaborators corrected all of these issues, 
including recoding of the data for some of the experiments prior to the 
final submission and publication in Cognition 2007.
     In the paper Hauser, M.D., Glynn, D., Wood, J. ``Rhesus 
monkeys correctly read the goal-relevant gestures of a human agent.'' 
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274:1913-1918, 2007, Respondent 
falsely reported the results and methodology for one of seven 
experiments designed to determine whether rhesus monkeys were able to 
understand communicative gestures performed by a human.
    Specifically, (1) in the ``Pointing without food'' trial, 
Respondent reported that 31/40 monkeys approached the target box while 
the records showed only 27 approached the target (both results are 
statistically significant), and (2) there were only 30 videotapes of 
the ``Pointing without food'' trials, while Respondent falsely claimed 
in the paper's Materials and Methods that ``each trial was 
videotaped.'' Respondent was not responsible for the coding, analyses, 
or archiving but takes full responsibility for the falsifications 
reported in the published paper. Respondent and one of his coauthors 
replicated these findings with complete data sets and video records and 
published them in Proceedings Royal Society B 278(1702):58-159, 2011.
     Respondent accepts responsibility for a false statement in 
the Methodology section for one experiment reported in the paper Wood, 
J.N., Glynn, D.D., Phillips, B.C., & Hauser, M.D. ``The perception of 
rational, goal-directed action in nonhuman primates.'' Science 
317:1402-1405, 2007. The statement in the paper's supporting online 
material reads that ``All individuals are * * * readily identifiable by 
natural markings along with chest and leg tattoos and ear notches.'' In 
fact, only 50% of the subjects could be identified by this method, thus 
leading to the possibility of repeated testing of the same animal.
    Respondent and one of his coauthers replicated these findings with 
complete data sets and video records and published them in Science 
332:537, 2011 (www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5843/1402/DC2--
published online 25 April 2011).
     Respondent engaged in research misconduct by providing 
inconsistent coding of data in his unpublished playback experiment with 
rhesus monkeys exploring an abstract pattern in the form of AXA by 
falsely changing the coding results where the prediction was that 
habituated animals were more likely to respond to an ungrammatical 
stimulus than a grammatical one. After an initial coding of the data by 
his research assistant, in which both Respondent and assistant agreed 
that an incorrect procedure was used, the Respondent recoded the 201 
trials and his assistant coded a subset for a reliability check. The 
Respondent's codes differed from the original in 36 cases, 29 of them 
in the theoretically predicted direction, thereby producing a 
statistically significant probability of p = <0.01. Respondent 
subsequently acknowledged to his collaborators that his coding was 
incorrect and that the study failed to provide support for the initial 
hypothesis. This research was never written up for publication.
    Respondent neither admits nor denies committing research misconduct 
but accepts ORI has found evidence of research misconduct as set forth 
above and has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement to resolve 
this matter. The settlement is not an admission of liability on the 
part of the Respondent. Dr. Hauser has voluntarily agreed for a period 
of three (3) years, beginning on August 9, 2012:
    (1) To have any U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research 
supervised; Respondent agreed that prior to the submission of an 
application for PHS support for a research project on which the 
Respondent's participation is proposed and prior to Respondent's 
participation in any capacity on PHS-supported research, Respondent 
shall ensure that a plan for supervision of Respondent's duties is 
submitted to ORI for approval;

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the supervision plan must be designed to ensure the scientific 
integrity of Respondent's research contribution; Respondent agreed that 
he shall not participate in any PHS-supported research until such a 
supervision plan is submitted to and approved by ORI; Respondent agreed 
to maintain responsibility for compliance with the agreed upon 
supervision plan;
    (2) That any institution employing him shall submit, in conjunction 
with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract 
involving PHS-supported research in which Respondent is involved, a 
certification to ORI that the data provided by Respondent are based on 
actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived, that the 
data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the 
application, report, manuscript, or abstract, and that the text in such 
submissions is his own or properly cites the source of copied language 
and ideas; and
    (3) To exclude himself voluntarily from serving in any advisory 
capacity to PHS including, but not limited to, service on any PHS 
advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a 
consultant.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Director, Division of Investigative 
Oversight, Office of Research Integrity, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 
750, Rockville, MD 20852, (240) 453-8800.

John Dahlberg,
Director, Division of Investigative Oversight, Office of Research 
Integrity.
[FR Doc. 2012-21992 Filed 9-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4150-31-P