Hauser and Baby Einstein cases further call for open science

A new article in the New York Times regarding the allegations against Marc Hauser illustrate how difficult it is to determine whether one is guilty of scientific fraud. A main problem is that record-keeping standards are so lax.

This is another reason why open science is important. Open science involves releasing original data and analyses, which is much easier if you have been keeping good records along the way. So it pushes one to keep better records.

In a more ironic twist regarding open science (via my colleague Bart), the maker of Baby Einstein videos (maligned in some scientific papers claiming to show that his products provided no benefits to children) has filed a court complaint asking the university to release the original data. A very one-sided press release claims that the university has balked and stalled repeatedly, which if true is shameful. Norms need to shift in science to make release of original data a commonplace, not something that’s disputed.

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