Veteran Earle Holland at Ohio State University has come to the defense of Harvard on his blog, after Harvard has suffered a pummeling in the news for not commenting much and not producing any documents about the three-year investigation of researcher Marc Hauser. (The Boston Globe broke the story, and followed up with "Harvard keeps mum as scientists call for transparency in probe.")
Holland says that Harvard is being careful because the university is trying to comply with federal law that mandates confidentiality during a scientific misconduct case.
I'm of two minds on this one. I think Holland is right about what the law says and that the researchers deserve protection. On the other hand, universities have been able to say more in the past, with the cooperation of the Office of Research Integrity. It's a question of how much and when. Seems odd that it's been three years. Is there actually a report somewhere? Under what circumstances would it be released, or if it finds little, a statement of exoneration? We'll be interested to see what happens as this one plays out.