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Sunday, August 6, 2023

Harvard professor accused of research fraud files defamation lawsuit against university, academics

Alex Koller
The Boston Globe
Originally posted 4 August 23

Here is an excerpt:

In the filing, Gino, a renowned behavioral scientist who studies the psychology of decisions, denied having ever falsified or fabricated data. She alleged that Harvard’s investigation into her work was unfair and biased.

The lawsuit alleges that the committee did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Gino “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” falsified or fabricated data, as Harvard policy required, and “ignored” exculpatory evidence. The suit also decries Data Colada’s posts as a “vicious, defamatory smear campaign.” The blog’s inquiries into Gino’s work initially sparked Harvard’s investigation.

In a statement posted to LinkedIn Wednesday, Gino refuted allegations against her and explained her decision to take legal action against Harvard and Data Colada.

“I want to be very clear: I have never, ever falsified data or engaged in research misconduct of any kind,” she wrote. “Today I had no choice but to file a lawsuit against Harvard University and members of the Data Colada group, who worked together to destroy my career and reputation despite admitting they have no evidence proving their allegations.”

She added that the university and authors “reached outrageous conclusions based entirely on inference, assumption, and implausible leaps of logic.”

The lawsuit accuses all of the defendants of defamation, and also accuses Harvard of gender discrimination, breach of contract, and bad faith and unfair dealing with Gino, who has been a tenured professor of business administration at Harvard since 2014.

Gino was first notified by Harvard of fraud allegations against her work in October 2021, according to the suit. She then learned that the university would conduct its own investigation in April 2022.

The filing alleges that Harvard’s investigation committee interviewed six of Gino’s collaborators and two research assistants, all of whom defended the integrity of Gino’s practices and said they had no evidence Gino had ever pressured anyone to produce a specific result.