I see Harvard's in the news yet again, as the Boston Globe broke a story about psychologist Marc Hauser, who is "taking a year-long leave after a lengthy internal investigation found evidence of scientific misconduct in his laboratory." One paper has been retracted, others are under examination. As discussed over in Shots in the Dark, an unpleasant issue is that Harvard is being silent regarding its investigation. It's not clear to me what the right approach in such cases are -- what rights to privacy, if any, does an academic have in such situations, or, assuming improper behavior is found, is it incumbent on the institution to correct the scientific record itself? The issue is also raised in a New York Times article. Feel free to discuss the institutional ethics in the comments.
I have no inside insight on what has actually transpired; however, I have served on university committees with Marc in the past, and found him an enjoyable colleague. I hope to the extent possible the issues are resolved satisfactorily.
This controversy provides an interesting contrast with the current hubbub over the P not equal NP paper -- best considered over at Richard Lipton's blog here, here, here, and here. In theory we don't have to worry about people "forging" a proof in the way that experimental data might be forged, but proofs can easily have mistakes or unclear gaps, and this is not viewed as misconduct -- just embarrassing. I wonder what the state is in computer systems work -- I can't recall hearing of cases where there were accusations of misconduct with data, although I've certainly heard mutterings that experiments in papers were carefully chosen to (excessively) highlight positive results. Such cases can lead to heated discussions in PC meetings, and to some interesting discussions post-publication, but I haven't heard people suggest that that level of data manipulation corresponds to misconduct. Our field seems to have, for now, sidestepped these particular issues.