Saturday, May 30, 2015

Back-and-Forth on the Withdrawn Article

Some blog readers may have been following the back-and-forth regarding an article that was withdrawn from from Science after allegations of falsified data. An author of that article who has been blamed for the incident is a UCLA grad student. The Daily Bruin has the latest iteration:

A UCLA graduate student accused of falsifying data in a study released a response Friday refuting a report by three researchers who found irregularities in the study. In the original study, Michael LaCour and his co-author, Columbia University professor Donald Green, found evidence suggesting that conversations with gay canvassers can change voter attitudes on same-sex marriage. The study was published in the journal Science in December, and was retracted by the journal Thursday after a request by Green... LaCour released a 23-page response to their criticisms Friday that included four claims against the researchers’ report. In the response, LaCour claimed his study met the replication standard and followed institutional policy in destroying the raw survey data... In the acknowledgements of his study, LaCour listed the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law as a funding source for his study. Lauren Jow, a spokeswoman for the Williams Institute, said the institute was not aware it was listed as a source and did not provide funding. In his response, LaCour said he did receive a grant offer from the Williams Institute but did not accept the funds. LaCour admitted the Ford Foundation grant, which he also listed as a funding source, did not exist. "I take full responsibility for errors in the design, implementation and data collection regarding the field experiments and panel survey reported in LaCour and Green,” LaCour said in the report. “I also take full responsibility and apologize for misrepresenting survey incentives and funding in LaCour and Green." In an interview with The New York Times, LaCour said he lied about his funding sources because some colleagues doubted his work and he wanted to give more credibility in his study.

Full story at

The back-and-forth on the Science article has attracted both news coverage and editorial comment:

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