I haven’t commented to date on the case of prominent Harvard cognitive scientist Marc Hauser basically out of respect for the investigatory process. However with the report of Harvard FAS Dean Michael Smith here, I think it’s time to weigh in, at least to the general issue of scientific misconduct, without commenting on the specifics of the Hauser case itself.
Any case of scientific misconduct is both sad and at the same time extremely serious. The progress of science requires, from all investigators, the highest levels of professional conduct. From my perspective these include the active prohibition against: falsification of data, fabrication of data and plagiarism (FFP as we teach it to graduate students).
Any example of a scientist, particularly a very prominent one, being found to be guilty of scientific misconduct erodes the web of trust between scientists themselves, and as importantly between scientists and the public which funds science through their tax dollars.