Civil Liability for Research Fraud?

18 Oct

An interesting proposal, I do wonder what the effect would be on exploratory research.

prior probability

We explore this novel legal question in our most recent work-in-progress titled “The Law & Economics of Research Fraud,” which is available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) here. Our paper sets the stage by reviewing three recent examples of alleged research fraud in the social sciences: James Hunton’s various research projects on accounting fraud, Michael LaCour’s fake gay-marriage survey published in the journal Science (and later retracted), and Alice Goffman’s dubious study of fugitive life in her best-selling book On the run. Next, we delve into the law and assess the potential civil liability of lead authors and co-authors in cases involving fabricated data under various common law theories of liability (tort and contract). We also assess the potential civil liability of research institutions and “predatory publishers” under various theories of vicarious liability. (By the way, we will write about the possibility of criminal liability in…

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2 Responses to “Civil Liability for Research Fraud?”

  1. enrique October 18, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    Thanks for reposting my work-in-progress … I usually think of law (over-regulation) as part of the problem, but is a mere “retraction” a sufficient deterrent in cases involving outright fabrication of data?

    • jecgenovese October 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

      Ironically, I am probably more favorably predisposed to regulation. My concern, however, is distinguishing between fraud and the all too common confirmation bias. Perhaps, a better solution would to increase the weight of replication research in tenure and workload decisions. This would bring new life to scientific self correction.

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