Criminal researchers?

by

Joshua Gans asked yesterday whether UQ suppressed the Mujcic/Frijters working paper on racism. In the comments to that piece, the possibility has been raised implicitly that the paper might have been suppressed because its authors employed unethical or illegal tactics in conducting their research.

Two main concerns are raised. Let’s take them in turn.

First, the question of whether the method required “fare evasion”:

“the study seems to require agents of the researchers to commit a crime (riding without a valid ticket) and also is designed to prompt the study’s subjects (the bus drivers) into complicity in that crime and perhaps the crime of defrauding the public revenue.” ( – Jeremy Gans)

The study does not require fare evasion:  what actually happened in any given instance was entirely up to the bus driver, who was the one who made the call on whether to let the research assistant ride for free.  Was the “prompt” of the RA’s statement putting inordinate pressure – however defined – on bus drivers to do the wrong thing?  Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the type of situation that the researchers created isn’t a regular occurrence on buses. People are human, and they will sometimes board a bus with an empty travel card in-hand. In the study, the RAs did not even ask the driver for a free ride: they said they had no money and wanted to get to station X. That is a direct and open admission of inability to pay, combined with a simple expression of desire. If making that statement equates to trying to evade a fare, then we have a lot of criminals in our midst. Is the Brisbane bus authority now going to go after every one of us who ever boarded a bus without loading enough money on our travel card, and then stated the facts of the matter out loud? Is the Brisbane bus authority going to go after every bus driver who ever took pity on an elderly lady or a harried mother of small children who obviously didn’t have enough money?  (See also Mike’s response to Joshua’s original post.)

Concern 2: is it illegal to “dress up in a military uniform to try and exploit bus drivers’ sense of patriotism”?  What happened in the Mujcic/Frijters design is that camouflage costumes were hired from a costume shop and some of the RAs wore them onto the buses. Here’s a photo of the costume we are talking about:

camouflage outfit

If we think that hiring and wearing such a costume in public should be illegal – because, for example, it constitutes impersonation of military officers, or something like that – then we should ban such costumes from the market, or make a rule that those who hire them must heed a warning like “Do Not Wear In Public”.

How much restriction on our individual freedom of expression, including our expression of common decency toward fellow citizens having a hard time, are we willing to accept in our society in order to save the face of big organizations like the Brisbane bus authority?

 

 

54 Responses to "Criminal researchers?"
  1. Hi Gigi, I agree with you that asking to ride without payment and being told that that is OK shouldn’t be a crime. But the problem for this study is that the criminal law is a lot broader (and meaner) than most people think, and that there are a number of ways that that studies of this sort may involve researchers, participants and subjects in crimes.

    As I said in my earlier comment, fare evasion is an offence in Queensland (and, indeed, is punishable by up to six months in prison.) The offence is set out in s143AC of the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994 (Qld), available here: http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/tota1994502/s143ac.html. “A person must not evade payment of the fare lawfully required for the person’s use or hire of a public passenger vehicle.” Importantly, the provision doesn’t use lay terminology. Instead, ‘evade payment’ is defined in s143AB to mean a number of different ways of travelling without paying. I don’t know enough about the Brisbane bus ticketing system(s) to know which one of those ways applies to the study participants. One of the three options (not paying) allows for a ‘reasonable excuse’, while the other two (no tag on, invalid ticket) do not. Queensland’s Criminal Code also creates a defence for people who do things ‘in execution of law’. But I doubt that either of these defences (if they apply) cover convincing a employee of a bus driver not to enforce the company’s fare rules.Rather, it is likely that the driver, by knowingly allowing the passenger to stay on the bus, becomes complicit in the passenger’s fare evasion. And the researchers are probably guilty of inciting that offence.One problem here is that it’s the bus company, not the bus driver, who is the victim of this crime.

    A broader problem for the study is that lying can be an offence in some circumstances, notably in situations involving financial advantage or public revenue. Have a look at s143AD, available here: http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/tota1994502/s143ad.html. “A person must not obtain, or attempt to obtain, the use or hire of a public passenger vehicle by fraud or misrepresentation.” Based on what Joshua has described of the study design, there may well be some misrepresentation in what the participants are told to say to the drivers. There’s also the general fraud offence in s408C of the Criminal Code 1899, which doesn’t require a misrepresentation, but rather just ‘dishonesty’. Dishonesty is a tricky thing to define, but I don’t see how anyone can be sure that a court wouldn’t regard the passenger and driver’s actions as dishonest.

    It may well be that you could design a study that kept clear of these problems. (One way would presumably have been to get the cooperation of the bus company.) Maybe this study managed that. Or maybe the problem wasn’t picked up at ethics review.

    But I don’t think ‘this shouldn’t be a crime’ (even if it shouldn’t) is a sufficient answer to any concerns that may exist about this study. Cheers, Jeremy.

  2. Jeremy,

    After the kidnapping of Daniel Morcombe in Brisbane in 2003, bus drivers where instructed on use of good judgement regarding who and not to stop for and who to let on the bus.

    Even if someone doesn’t have the correct fare a bus driver can let him/her on the bus. They can exercise judgement. And they are required to exercise good judgement by the company.

  3. In short,

    The policies of the company after, and its reaction to, the Daniel Morcombe tragedy makes asking the bus driver to let you on the bus for free and being let on the bus for free with the permission of the driver, not a crime in QLD.

    The study was studying that aspect, which seems to be unique to Brisbane. It is a natural experiment given Bus driver training following the Daniel Morcombe crime.

  4. In the wearing of military props hired at an pop-shop. Being dressed in khakis is not unusual in Brisbane, and even has a history in UQ:

    I don’t recall anyone batting an eyelid when the UQ shut down the student radio station in 1990 reportedly by means of raids by opposition students in para-military fatigue. My recollection, though I may be wrong, was that the university supported the closure of the radio station implicitly.

    Patriotism has a number of forms and uniforms in Brisbane.

  5. A friend reminded me that the radio station had an LGBT focus and was shut down in a middle of the night raid by thugs in paramilitary uniforms.

    The last hurrah of the Bjelke-Petersen era….

  6. That Daniel Morcombe policy is interesting (and I haven’t been a Queenslander for many years, so I know nothing about it). Depending on the details, the policymay (or may not) mean that sometimes bus drivers can effectively immunise someone from prosecution or punishment for fare evasion. But I’d be surprised if it could have that effect in the circumstances described in the study, e.g. where a mere request from a passenger for a free ride was being granted in about two-thirds of instances (and, as the study arguably demonstrates, capriciously by some drivers.)

    • Here is my issue, which not only speaks to the legality of the conduct of the researchers but also points to the argument that the research involved no deception. That is was a natural experiment (in the scientific sense).

      1. Following the Daniel Morcombe murder Brisbane bus drivers were told to use their judgement regarding letting people on the bus if requested, even if the passenger did not have the correct fare.

      2. There were many reports that young people were evading fares regularly and on a large scale (it was even reported on TV). So the day to day activity of bus drivers involved young people getting on the bus, telling the driver they have no money, or presumably that their card was faulty, and the driver deciding if they should be let on to the bus.

      3. The bus drivers were presumably trained to field such questions and make reasonable decisions. By the end of 2011 the problem seems to have become endemic, because there were a number of histrionic reports in the Courier Mail about this.

      4. In 2012 the researchers conduct their research with young people doing exactly what other young people were reportedly doing at the time. This explains why the research results show that bus drivers were not surprised at being asked to board the bus for free because of a defective card. Indeed, bus drivers were not surprised by when later surveyed about the possibility of letting people on a bus for free.

      5. The research also showed that bus drivers’ judgements were also based on racial considerations. With discrimination against Indians. It was this that presumably surprised the city council (not the free bus ride, because it was reportedly endemic following Daniel Morcombe policy change).

      The research is suppressed after an initial media frenzy, and in 2015 it reemerges in the NYT, WP, Atlantic, Guardian. What next? The Times Higher Education Supplement? This leads to Joshua’s post here and gets picked up by the OZ and Fairfax, where the city council denies making a complaint about the research, which to me is the main surprise in all of this.

    • I’ve now read the study at this link: http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayres/mujcic_frijters_busDec2014.pdf.

      The study makes no reference to any Morcombe policy. To the contrary, the authors repeatedly state their view that bus drivers have no discretion (either under their contract or the bus company policy) to permit adults (as all the ‘passengers’ in the study were) to ride without a fare. It appears that the Morcombe policy is limited to kids. So, the argument that the study involved no illegality because of the Morcombe policy appears to be wrong.,

  7. Jeremy,

    Just a short note on the issue of whether the RAs were in fact lying to the bus drivers. The RAs were purposely sent onto the buses with empty GO cards and no money. Hence, their statements about having no money were true. It was also true that they wanted to get to Station X, since trying to get there was part of their job that day as an RA. It hence seems that the RAs did not lie to the bus drivers.

    • You have a very restricted definition of lying if you leave out any concept of being misleading…

    • Sinclair,

      Quoting from the coverage in the Brisbane Times (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/uq-suppressed-bus-racism-study-academics-20150226-13q5lu.html):


      But Professor Frijter [sic] said the project didn’t need to go to an ethics committee because it was signed off by the university’s PhD coordinator.

      “Because this was seen by the coordinator as such low risk, no one’s going to get hurt, that’s where it ended,” he said.

      “Often in other universities it doesn’t work like this and you immediately have to go through an ethics committee.

      “It didn’t go to an ethics committee because it was just deemed such low risk by the PhD coordinator that signed off on it.”

      So: no, the study did not have full ethics committee approval, because it was never submitted to the full ethics committee, which was due to the initial decision by the PhD coordinator that it was sufficiently low-risk. Under the policies in place at the time (and possibly still in place – i don’t know), Paul and Redzo followed the correct procedure.

      • Thanks for that – I have a bit more sympathy for Paul’s position now. But it still looks very bad. I spent several years on the ethics committee and we would have categorised this project as high risk. If he followed the procedure then this becomes a learning experience for the administration and he may have been hard done by.

        • Where I work, this would have been medium due to the deception and monetary component (high is for drug studies and so on), which I would have thought would have been obvious to any person constantly dealing with these sorts of things given you always default to the more serious category in case of doubt — we have no easy sign off for low risk studies despite some departments (like mine) having legal/ethics people that could do it, which is annoying (e.g., perception of gaussian blobs…). The obvious reason you would have it is that it is cheaper as ethics committees cost money and time and there really are lots of very low risk studies in many areas. There is no reason why the study shouldn’t have been run if it is legal and if the cost/benefit ratio is fine (which it clearly was).

          That aside, as far as I can tell, if he has followed the universities guidelines, which were then signed off by someone else who was authorized to do so, then the immediate blame clearly goes to that person, who I assume would have been given that role under the assumption they are familiar with standard ethics stuff and the Aus guidelines for it, and are willing to keep up with the changes. That person might counter that the university was (a) not clear in their guidelines to allow these studies if there is no documentation for it given to them by the university; or (b) put him/her in a position beyond their competencies — I suspect (b) might well be possible in an economics department unless you have legal people that like dealing with NH&MRC guidelines (like you Sinclair!), and importantly, you have a _committee_ of them, so no one person can make a bad decision which will inevitably happen if there is only one person. With management that never want to admit they are wrong (common), it’s clear they would not want to admit (b), although they may be forced to if they had to change how ethics are dealt with (e.g., deciding all applications must go to a committee).

        • Sinclair, good to see that field research involving offences under both transport legislation and the criminal code are rated at least high risk by ethics committees!

          What sort of criminal behaviour in research is always ruled out by ethics committees?

          • If criminal behavior gets through (which it never should — you are also not allowed to put people in a position where they might perform a criminal act or even incriminate themselves based on something they have done, e.g., ask a leading question which gets them to tell you about their drug use — they can tell you if they want if you do not provoke the answer), that’s the fault of either (a) the ethics committee who approves it; or (b) the universities legal team if the ethics committee asked them and they said it was legal. If for example, it is illegal for bus drivers to give away free fares (I’m not saying it is), then that is something an individual researcher cannot be expected to know but a legal team would be expected to know.

            The only exceptions I know of are to do drug studies, where it is possible to get people to take illegal drugs voluntarily, but you need police approval to have the drugs (not surprisingly) and to give them to people. I guess this is changing “illegal to legal” vs. doing something illegal. It is also very hard to get.

      • Maybe I’m looking at the wrong policies or looking at the correct policies wrongly, but I don’t see how a decision only from a PhD coordinator is the correct procedure, based on the 2007 National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, which states that: “Only a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) can review and approve research that: (a) involves active concealment or planned deception.”

  8. Sinclair, Conrad, Jim.
    Did you bother reading Rabee’s comments earlier in this thread? You should.

    • Rabee’s comments show that the offence is against the criminal code and not the transport laws as I first thought.

      Fare evasion is not an offence under the criminal code in Queensland.

      However, as Rabee’s comments point out, drivers have discretion under certain circumstances.

      The offending is now obtaining an advantage through deception under the criminal code of Queensland.

      Drivers have a discretion, which the field researchers attempting to obtain advantage from by deception. They were lying about not having enough funds to pay the fare in the full knowledge that drivers have a discretion to not to charge them if they were telling the truth..

      A large number of public and private employees have some sort of discretion in their job about charging full prices and other application of rules.

      Some people take advantage of that discretion and attempt to obtain advantage through deception and not pay the services they should otherwise pay for, but for the deception.

      Society gets on a lot better if people are honest in their dealings with others. That is why the criminal and common law both punish those who are dishonest in their dealings with others.

      • Jim (and L.J),

        As noted above in my reply to Jeremy: the research assistants were not lying. They boarded the bus without money. Their statement was hence true.

        Also see Andreas Ortmann’s comments in Rabee’s blog, where he too questions whether deception occurred at all in this study.

        • Did any of these research assistants at any time own a go card that had a positive balance on it?

          Did they take their own Go cards with them or did they deliberately leave their own go cards at home?

          If they were refused entry on the bus, how were they planning to get home or to their destination or back to where they came from

          Did they set out with the intention of deceiving the driver why they had no money. Was it because they had no money, left their money at home by accident, or deliberately went onto the bus with no money?

        • Gigi, if I tried to get ethics where I work with a statement like “the RAs will be told not to take any money with them so that they will technically not be lying” I imagine it wouldn’t go through unless there was great benefit cost. I wouldn’t even bother asking.

          The basic is problem is that trying to skirt around legal technicalities about what is and what is not deception is certainly against the spirit of almost any ethics guidelines (including the NH&MRC ones), which are not water tight rules, since this is impossible, but rather guidelines for _ethical behavior_ .

          So to some extent whether Rabee is correct or not in terms of whether the act was legal is irrelevant here since there are really two judgement criteria — one is whether it is legal or not. If it is not, you will almost never get ethics. The second is whether it is morally justifiable/ethical according to the NH&MRC guidelines, and I can’t see why any decent committee wouldn’t think long and hard about Jim’s comments. The fact you can skirt around legal technicalities is irrelevant here.

          You might argue here that there is no deception at all, but as far as I can tell, the following is true:The RAs were asked and did perform an act which for all intents and purposes was deliberately staged such that the likely belief of the bus driver was different to the actual reality. This is certainly deception and it is made worse because as far as I am aware, the bus companies was not compensated for the loss of revenue and time from the project or were they even asked before the project began. This means this project would be very likely to get rejected from an ethics committee because there was _apriori_ knowledge of who would be targeted, and thus most ethics committees would ask for consent to come from both the university and the organisation before allowing the study to be run.

          • Conrad is correct. The bus company is out of pocket.

            Earlier discussion suggested the bus company has a serious problem with fare evasion by people claiming go-cards do not work. Businesses don’t do well if they give their product away.

            A major part of the theory of the firm is monitoring shirking and ensuring the motivations of employees are consistent with those of the owners of the business.

            Did the research team make a donation equivalent to the fares evaded to a charity?

        • Gigi – that argument doesn’t work. There is no doubt that the bus drivers were being deceived and their actions recorded without them having consented to participate in the study. Ethics committees exist to consider those very situations. The issue isn’t whether the RAs are lying per se, but whether the research results justify the research method.

          • Sinclair, let me copy and paste — slightly modified for clarification — what I wrote in the thread under Rabee’s post; I believe your statement that the bus drivers were being deceived is probably wrong (surely if they did not have money on them and / or other cards). As to the question of informed consent / debriefing that is an interesting issue … but see my reference to List’s position on this one (and many experimentally working economists.)
            Andreas Ortmann says:
            March 1, 2015 at 11:13 am
            For all I can see, the study did not involve deception. I should mention that I have thought/written about this issue at length and have argued against the use of deception (e.g., http://spq.sagepub.com/content/71/3/222.refs) . My take: The Frijters – Mujcic testers had insufficiently funded cards (part of the design of the study obviously), they subsequently asked the driver to let them ride to a destination a kilometre away. That ride was part of the study. There are no deceptive statements there. The one interesting methodological question is whether informed consent was needed ex ante (not an option here for the obvious reason), or ex post debriefing. People as prominent as List have argued, in Science no less, that for studies like this there is a case to be made that debriefing is not necessary.

            REPLY

    • As far as I can see Rabee does not address the question of whether there was ethics approval for the project. He raises all sorts of other issues that an ethics committee may or may not think about when coming to a decision.

      As others have pointed out, the lack of ethics approval is fatal to the study. The confusion over the need for ethics approval saves Paul, the fact that the confusion existed in the first place reflects poorly on the management of the school, the PhD program, the faculty, and the university.

  9. Fortunately what is deception is decided upon by democratic means linked by Jeremy Gans available here: http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/tota1994502/s143ad.html. “A person must not obtain, or attempt to obtain, the use or hire of a public passenger vehicle by fraud or misrepresentation.”

    There is no money on the go card not because they ran out. It was because they deliberately didn’t put any on their see if they could get on the bus without any money.

    What was the truthful answer to the question, why isn’t there money on the go card?

    If there was a prosecution, would this have been a successful defence? I didn’t have money in my go card because I didn’t put money on the go card and then stepped on the bus in the hope that I could get on without paying. I also misrepresented myself as a passenger instead of a mystery shopper equivalent.

    What is and is not fraud is decided by parliaments, not journal articles. It is a question of legal interpretation.

    By the way, once the testers had taken their 1 mile free bus ride, how they get back to the office to report their results? Did they have another go card to get back on a bus, take a taxi, private transport was waiting or did they walk back in the rain?

  10. Andreas – sorry, I was looking at the Rabee comments in this thread, not his actual post.

    I did see your previous comments. I’m not convinced. In any event, this is a decision for an ethics committee. They may accept your argument (I have to say, were I still on the ethics committee and thankfully I’m not I would not accept your argument of no deception). The entire situation is contrived to mislead the bus driver into believing that a “passenger” unexpectedly had insufficient funds on their ticket when in fact the passenger in full knowledge had insufficient funds on a ticket. Of course, the use of deception in itself is not sufficient ground to refuse permission for a research project, it simply raises the bar for oversight and importance of results before the project can proceed.

    If you want to argue that ethics committees should have different rules (or even not exist at all or for medical research only etc.) I’m in full agreement. I used to annoy my ethics committee colleagues by telling that ethics committees were themselves unethical. That, however, is a separate issue.

    This study required ethics committee approval – I’m happy to believe that they may have taken the view that the project should proceed as it did. Based on my experience I would surprised if that had been the outcome, but anything can and does happen.

      • I don’t (the main thing he’s right about is that it isn’t Paul’s fault, it’s UQs management trying to cover poor practice and rules which they devised). I’ll just repeat that there’s no point in picking on particular rules to look for loopholes. This is not the idea of the document. It’s also the totality of the individual grant that matters. As someone that’s read those guidelines and has to convince 20 master’s students a year that they might like to do projects which are not going to give them ethics hell and make their theses late, I really can’t see how this isn’t deception, and nor can I see why it should have been run without asking the partner first (in that case, the bus company). If the bus company put in a complaint, it’s clear the work has offended someone somewhere (possibly quite legitimately) and thus we know post-hoc it was not risk free work and should have gone to the standard committee (who may have thought it was fine in terms of risk/benefit for all I know). It is also controversial enough that this whole process was engaged, and, for example, you can’t convince people like Sinclair or Jim above it isn’t negligible (and I assume Sinclair has had the excitement of reading and thinking about those rules for a few years too), and if you can’t convince everyone, it isn’t negligible.

        In general ‘negligible risk’ is saved for things with no risk or potential ambiguity at all, don’t involve controversial topics or money, and the only complaints you get will be from people with no possible grounds at all (note the word _negligible). Even qualitative work about, for example, what pets people like to have wouldn’t get into this category since the conversation is open ended. If you can think of any possible complaints with any possible reasonable grounds, which in this case is easy (e.g., people will know they can defraud our bus drivers now, our bus drivers may be angry that people took advantage of them, our bus drivers may think management will be angry because of this, etc.), it isn’t negligible.

        • Sorry, I might be missing something here, conrad. Who was at risk? And what was the risk?

          • The bus company and the employees of the company. I listed just a few possible risks in the last sentence. Here are some more: the bus drivers might have felt humiliated at being tricked, the drivers may feel bad at being called racist (not knowing the difference between explicit and implicit) and were not debriefed as such, the company may demand the money from the drivers for letting on the people for free and use it, the company may feel the need to install monitoring of its drivers because of this problem etc. .

            Now, these risks may be very low, but very low is more than negligible which is generally taken as zero apart from complaints with no logical connection to the study. For example, if I did study looking at whether luminance and size interacted with your perception of gabor patches, you probably couldn’t come up with lists of possible consequences like have. Thus that is an example of what counts negligible.

          • Actually, to simplify things, here is a list of things I think could get flagged by an ethics committee if you did not deal with it in an application (maybe I’ve missed some..).

            1) Use of Money/Free services (theft?)
            2) Deception
            3) Lack of consent at the individual level
            4) Lack of consent at the company level
            5) Lack of Debriefing
            6) Controversial topic (racism)
            7) Minority group status

          • conrad, I comment on your list of alleged risks below [for some reason I cannot directly respond to your response]: I have addressed all your seven points in various places in the related threads on this blog. I don’t think deception was involved in the sense it is understood in academic research (but there are some questions to which the answer is still open, so I reserve my judgment), the question of informed consent / debriefing for field experiments is also an interesting one but it seems now widely accepted to do certain experiments without either. Since the data collection was anonymized whatever hindsight discomfort people (busdrivers) might have had, I would consider minimal (and maybe even useful). Wherever one ultimately comes down on this issue, I am happy to hear that you [on another but related thread] also find the administrative response inappropriate and over-the-top.

          • It’s definitely over the top. I think there are really 3 issues:
            1) Who was actually responsible (Clearly most responsibility lies with those officially employed to check projects. I suspect the university may have tried to pull a “you are a full professor and should have known better card”, but I can’t see how this trumps accepting the decision of someone employed to make it).
            2) Whether the project should have been obliged to go through standard ethics (It should have, but the error here lies with the project checker as well as the university for using a single person to make decisions in that role).
            3) Whether the response of the university was correct given it appears like a minor problem and the study itself was not especially sensitive (I think the response was ludicrously over the top — minor violations occur to rules all the time and the response seems like one Stalin would be proud of).

  11. Hi Gigi. The link analyzed nothing specific to the University of Queensland. Is it possible that the University of Queensland had legitimately adopted ethical review requirements that were more strict than the ethical review requirements at the national level?

  12. Given that the bus company is the actual loser in this research, shouldn’t there have been a method to reimburse the bus company for any lost revenue?

    • What about the passengers kept waiting while the field researchers put on their performance pretending to have no money in the world to pay the fare?

      No one addresses the rudeness of keeping all these passengers waiting? I hope the research was done off-peak so people weren’t made late for work.

      Either way, can you pay a fare in cash in the Queensland bus system?

  13. The bus company a loser?
    What about the millions of dollar$ (into the future) which the researchers just saved the bus company given that from now no bus driver will be allowed to let anyone on for free (other than in very very special circumstances). The researchers should be rewarded!

  14. A simple test! If a teenager went home and told their mother that they had worked out a way of avoiding a bus fare by pretending that your bus card had no money, how would their mother react regarding their moral growth and good character.

    What would you think of your teenagers if they came home and said that?.

  15. I would be very proud of him/her if he/she admitted that they tried this and were let on for free but their darker-skinned friend did the same and was not allowed to ride for free. I would thank him/her for seeing and working out that society still has a long way to go….
    [exactly what this research shows]

  16. Gigi, it would only have been ethical to mention that you co-authored a book with one of the parties involved…

    • Hmmmh. Every blog entry? Every paragraph of a blog contribution? It’s not that she has been trying to hide it; it’s well known probably to most readers of Core Economics Today, it was mentioned in Gittins’ 2013 write-up of the Frijters-Mujcic research, it’s on her website, she mentioned it in her recent Conversation piece explicitly … [http://theconversation.com/universities-are-misguided-to-evade-controversy-with-ethics-38092] Your exhortation is as superfluous as the fact that you post anonymously is telling.

  17. By the way, as a researcher myself, I know to submit such work to the ethics committe anyway. Especially where the author is not solely a PhD student. As an academic you shouldn’t claim credigt for research with a student that was only signed off on by the co-ordinator. Very dodgy. And I would have ethical questions about whether to inform the employer (Translink), all the more so because the activity does come under the definition of fare evasion.

%d bloggers like this:
PageLines