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Science journal officially retracts UCLA graduate student’s paper

By Chandini Soni

May 28, 2015 3:05 p.m.

The journal Science officially retracted a research study co-authored by a UCLA graduate student Thursday after multiple irregularities were found in the study last week.

The study, which was conducted by political science graduate student Michael LaCour and Columbia University Professor Donald Green, suggested that conversing with advocates for same-sex marriages results in an increase in voter support for the issue.

A group of researchers from UC Berkeley, Yale University and Stanford University published a report last week citing eight irregularities in the study.

LaCour does not agree with the retraction, according to a statement from Science. LaCour was unavailable for comment, but said he stands by his research in an email statement on May 22. He said he would gather evidence and respond to the allegations by Friday.

Science retracted the paper after it found LaCour did not pay the participants as he had originally claimed, and the funding sources in the study were falsely listed, according to the statement.

LaCour has also been accused of falsifying funding sources for his research. The Williams Institute at UCLA, which was listed as a funding source in the study, did not provide LaCour with funding for any project, said Lauren Jow, a Williams Institute spokeswoman.

LaCour allegedly falsified other information on his resume, including funding grants totaling about $800,000 from various foundations that he did not receive and a teaching award, according to New York Magazine.

According to a UCLA statement, the university is investigating the allegations of academic misconduct and is unable to comment on the specifics of a pending case.

Compiled by Chandini Soni, Bruin senior staff.

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