Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, June 26, 2023
Fake news. Deep State. The Swamp. They permeate deceit, distortion, evasion, fabrication, falsehood, fiction, and all the other words that follow alphabetically in the thesaurus. So, who can we turn to for an honest take on the day’s events?
How about an “honesty scholar?”
Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist at Harvard Business School who is considered to be one of the top scholars on honesty has been accused of fabricating data in multiple studies, reports say.
Three peers in behavioral science at the data investigation blog Data Colada said they found evidence of bogus data in four of Gino’s studies, the Harvard Crimson reported. The peers said they “believe that many more Gino-authored papers contain fake data.”
One of the papers called into question, published in 2012, asserts that people are more likely to be honest when filling out tax and insurance forms if they are asked to attest to the truth of their statements at the top of the form rather than the bottom.
The paper already had been retracted because of fraudulent data by another of its co-authors. But Gino’s contribution to the paper is now in doubt as well, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education, which noted that Gino has published 135 articles since 2007.
“That’s right: Two different people independently faked data for two different studies in a paper about dishonesty,” write Uri Simonsohn, Joseph Simmons, and Leif Nelson in their Data Colada post.
Gino is now on administrative leave and has not commented on the controversy. Nor has Harvard Business School.
The controversy has rocked the academic world of behavioral science because Gino has “so many collaborators, so many articles, (and) is really a leading scholar in the field,” says Maurice Schweitzer at the Wharton School.
Schweitzer said he is now going over eight studies he co-authored with Gino, and other scholars in the field are doing the same.