Miltenberg: “New Post from Bloggers Sued by HBS Professor Gino Discusses External Investigation Findings,” Harvard Crimson


Quantitative analysis blog Data Colada published an analysis Saturday summarizing three exhibits in the defamation lawsuit filed against them by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino — the bloggers’ first public remarks on the substance of the lawsuit. In June 2023, Data Colada published four posts alleging data fraud in four papers co-authored by Gino. Soon after the allegations, Harvard notified Gino of potential tenure revocation on July 28. Just five days later, Gino took legal action — against Harvard, HBS Dean Srikant Datar, and the data investigation blog Data Colada — for alleged defamation and gender-based discrimination. Gino has accused Data Colada of conspiring with Harvard to defame her, citing the bloggers’ decision to bring their allegations directly to the Business School in June 2021. Data Colada’s post Saturday walked readers through three exhibits from Gino’s lawsuit, which included retraction letters sent by Harvard to three academic journals. The letters contain findings by the bloggers and Maidstone Consulting Group, the external forensic firm hired by Harvard’s investigation committee in May 2022. The post came just over two weeks after the bloggers announced they had retained legal counsel using funds raised by academics and supporters in response to the lawsuit. As of Wednesday evening, the fundraiser had raised more than $330,000 for the team’s legal fees. Andrew T. Miltenberg, an attorney for Gino, wrote in a statement Wednesday that the exhibits should not be construed as evidence of fraud. “It is essential to remember that the forensics firm hired by HBS was unable to conclude fraud,” Miltenberg wrote. “The retraction notices HBS sent to journals quoted selectively from its forensics consultants — and pulled in unattributed extended verbatim quotes from Data Colada. The resulting mash-up with no statement of authorship — no person or team taking either credit or responsibility.” “This combination is especially misleading,” Miltenberg added. “This is the reason these were included as exhibits in a defamation case and should not be perceived as fact.” A retraction email sent by Harvard to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that Gino’s 2012 study was “invalid due to alteration of the data that affects the significance of the findings.” Retraction notices addressed to two other journals — Psychological Science and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — included similar wording.

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