University of Texas at Austin Completes Inquiry into Allegations of Scientific Misconduct

Aug. 29, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has determined that no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research.

As required by its Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, the university conducted an inquiry to determine whether the accusations made by writer Scott Rose had merit and warranted a formal investigation. After consulting with a four-member advisory panel composed of senior university faculty members, the Office of the Vice President for Research concluded in a report on Aug. 24 that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.

Provost and Executive Vice President Steven Leslie accepted the report on Tuesday and deemed the matter closed from an institutional perspective.

As part of the inquiry, the university hired Dr. Alan Price to ensure that the inquiry was conducted appropriately and fairly. Price, a private consultant, is former associate director of the Office of Research Integrity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Price found that the inquiry was handled in a manner consistent with university policy and indicated the process was “also consistent with federal regulatory requirements of inquiries into research misconduct.”

The allegations raised by Rose fall under the university’s definition of scientific misconduct, which states, in part, that “ordinary errors, good faith differences in interpretations or judgments of data, scholarly or political disagreements, good faith personal or professional opinions, or private moral or ethical behavior or views are not misconduct.”

As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large. The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.

Report to Provost Steven Leslie

Letter of response from Provost Leslie

Report by Alan Price

For more information, contact: Gary Susswein, Office of the President, 512-471-4945.

24 Comments to "University of Texas at Austin Completes Inquiry into Allegations of Scientific Misconduct"

1.  Daniel Marcum said on Aug. 29, 2012

This is great! Thank you, University of Texas, for vindicating Mark Regnerus and letting the truth conquer all things.

2.  Embarrassed Texas Ex said on Aug. 29, 2012

I am ashamed that my University may some day be the source of more junk science used by hate groups and homophobes in America. They just love to use junk science to promote their lies in the war to make our lives miserable. Shame on you UT.

-Embarrassed. Withholding My Gay Texas Ex Dollars

3.  William F. Ansley said on Aug. 29, 2012

UT has just lost my financial support!

4.  Joseph Clay Roehl said on Aug. 29, 2012

Relevant oversight by UT Ethics panels should have picked up his research as phoney the moment the revelation came to hand that he was resarching gay families, had found them inadequate and YET HAD INTERVIEWED ZERO GAY FAMILIES. So so thankful as a gay man driven out of Texas to live in NZ. As a Texas-Ex, I recommend highly that UT adopt an ethics oversight panel with some real teeth that can establish the veracity of research, the methodologies, and also the conclusions by analyzing the data for flaws so obvious.. How could such research ever have gotten money funding? Most in the human rights movements just said, wow another Texas fundamentalist Talebangelical attempt to slander all gays...when we should be hailed for most of the good resaearch in science and social sci/poli sci being done. Homophobia and misogyny have no place in Science, nor the Social Sciences. Perhaps it is a lost opportunity, but if this research is publicly condemned and the prof is fired, there's a possibility that UT could fund some real research on functioning gay families that are raising millions of children and in many casess are also now legally married. How to support all families should be the ethical reason for study. Yours, Joseph Clay Roehl UT/'79

5.  Daniel McVey said on Aug. 30, 2012

So, this is how seriously we can take studies from the University of Texas?

6.  Michael Khalsa said on Aug. 30, 2012

From what i understand this study states that children would be better off having heterosexual parents. I'm sure there many children/adults would disagree.

Sounds exactly like homophobia rather than scientific research. And the University has backed this guy up. Great for intergrity there.

There have been widespread allegations of junk science been levelled at Mark Regnerus. I do not believe the Inquiry was properly handled & shame on those 4 people if that is the case. More bigotry?

Either way I feel bad for any gay/lesbian students at your university espically those in Mark Regnerus lecture halls.

7.  Jeremy said on Aug. 30, 2012

So the study is flawed, includes invalid data comparison, and was published without proper peer review, but not intentionally so. So what do you classify Regenerous as? Just foolish?

8.  Steven said on Aug. 30, 2012

Im not certain that having the people involved in the funding and requesting the study also being involved in the peer review process before publication is anything short of misconduct and disregard for actual science. This, of course, is still beside the fact that the study's author also used data from children who did not even live in the household of the same sex couples, but still used it in the study. How is that not misconduct?

9.  Joseph Nye Welch said on Aug. 30, 2012

It is shameful that UT-Austin policy permits the conduct of a preliminary inquiry into scientific misconduct based on a charge made with absolutely no evidence. Mr. Rose is a political activist with no scholarly credentials, yet Dr. Regnerus has been subjected to a preliminary inquiry based solely on the fact that Mr. Rose did not like the conclusions reached in Dr. Regnerus' research. Without any reasonable evidence of scholarly misconduct, a preliminary inquiry was inappropriate. This investigation has the potential of creating a chilling effect on scholars conducting research on controversial topics and is a serious challenge to academic freedom at UT-Austin. If UT policy permits a preliminary inquiry based on such unfounded allegations, the policy is in serious need of revision.

10.  Rick Loesser said on Aug. 30, 2012

So misrepresentation of data is considered a 'data judgment' ? Ya'll are associated in someway with a University, right?

11.  Jo said on Aug. 30, 2012

This is great news. It's sad that even scholars that publish in peer-reviewed journals would be targeted by political activists and have to worry not just about publishing research, but of possible investigations. This is wrong and I'm glad Prof. Regnerus has been cleared. Thank you University of Texas at Austin!

12.  Blake Wilcox said on Aug. 30, 2012

After consulting with my conscience, I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence justifying future financial contributions to the university as long as "professor" Regnerus remains at UT and you (by action or lack thereof) enable such behavior.

13.  Emma said on Aug. 31, 2012

Utterly disgraceful! If that isn't scientific misconduct, then what is?

14.  A.M. said on Sept. 2, 2012

I'm currently reviewing UT (Austin) in regard to conflict-of-interest in two particular cases--the Regnerus study and the Groat fracking study. I would like any specific UT responses to the charge of conflict of interest in both of these cases as well as any updates regarding the Groat inquiry.

In regard to the Groat case, has a review actually been assembled yet? It's now September 2, 2012. It's several weeks after the first promise of a review.

15.  Dania Ng said on Sept. 8, 2012

UT has just gained my financial support!

UT, I take studies produced by your academics very seriously - yours is a great University, a place of good scholarship, which does not fear intimidation and political browbeating by extreme political groups.

The fairness and openness the University has employed in investigating the ridiculous accusations produced by Scott Rose indicates a high level of accountability in how it allows social research. You are to be highly commended.

16.  Gary Llod said on Sept. 8, 2012

This is a response to William Ansley directly above:

"Buying a pack of Skittles from the campus vending machines on your visits is hardly considered "financial support."

17.  John Galt said on Sept. 9, 2012

@William and Daniel

How about debating him on intellectual grounds. Is this how you treat science really? What happened to the concern for truth?

18.  Jean said on Sept. 11, 2012

Next UT will publish a flawed study to show that African Americans are not as intelligent as other Americans.

Then will they say no need to investigate?

19.  DonS. Redd said on Sept. 13, 2012

I commend the University for upholding academic integrity. Shame on those who are shamed by the truth and demand political correctness above academic rigor.

20.  Shawn Money said on Sept. 17, 2012

Just ask anyone in social work that deals with troubles youth & see what their experience has been.
The vast majority of troubled kids come from homes with out the both biological parents. Just ask.
Do you think they have an agenda??

21.  Joe Schmoe said on Sept. 18, 2012

This guy didn't have a chance the second he took on the liberal academic establishment. Just shows that the hard left likes its science as long as it supports their preconceived notions.

22.  Charles said on Sept. 20, 2012

How unfortunate that someone who disagrees with a valid study will withdraw support because they don't like the outcome. Maybe the voting tactics of the DNC would be better suited for this person when it comes to professional studies.

23.  Marco D. said on Sept. 22, 2012

Well, UT clearly is as corrupt as Mark Regnerus. How can a paper debunked by its own internal audit not be censured by UT Austin??


24.  Gav Ander said on Sept. 24, 2012

Just because the study does not appease the pro-gay agenda its suddenly false. Come on people get real. This is what people said about studys in the 50’s and 60’s on the ill health effects of cigarette smoking. The study is completely valid and true so just accept it! Good on you UT for sticking to your guns.