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Academic Integrity in Research

Expectations and policies in funding, publishing, and here at Stevens.

Retraction Watch

While there are federal agencies that track federal funding, there is as yet no official watchdog of the results of misconduct, specifically misconduct that leads to a paper being retracted and taken out of the public record. The internet has made it easier to track retractions on a large scale, and since 2010 the blog Retraction Watch has tracked retractions as they find them. The blog, led by two science journalists, takes a journalistic approach to the issue, and they record instances of retractions and provide further information on the subject from the journal editors and paper authors when possible. Their observation of an otherwise amorphous business has made it possible to observe patterns in retractions, and get a better sense of how often papers are pulled.

The Consequences of Misconduct

A graduate student published a study that made national headlines, but months later was retracted and his reputation ruined.


  • UCLA graduate student, working with big-name Columbia professor
  • Study published: “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” LaCour and Green, Science12 December 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6215, pp. 1366-1369 (see cover at left)
  • Widely reported (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.), influential in canvassing groups


Works Cited

Broockman, D.; Kalla, J.; & Aronow, P. (2015). Irregularities in LaCour (2014) [technical report]. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Carey, B. & Belluck, P. (2015, May 25). “Doubts about study of gay canvassers rattle the field.” The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Oransky, I. (2015, May 20). “Author retracts study of changing minds on same-sex marriage after colleague admits data were faked [blog post].” Retraction Watch. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Singal, J. (2015, May 29). “The case of the amazing gay-marriage data: How a graduate student reluctantly uncovered a huge scientific fraud.” New York Magazine. Retrieved on August 24, 2015, from