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Highly publicized gay-marriage study retracted by journal amid controversy

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The researchers were unable to produce original data

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The journal Science announced today the retraction of the widely covered gay-marriage study — a study that suggested that gay canvassers can change people's minds about same-sex marriage. In a statement, the journal cites a number of concerns about the work, including the researchers' "inability to produce original data" — a fact that makes verifying the study's results impossible.

The study was published in December of last year, and has been the subject a quite a bit of controversy recently. Retraction Watch reported last week that researchers at the University of California-Berkeley — researchers who were initially impressed by the work — had noted irregularities in some of the survey data cited in the study. Their concerns led them to call the survey company that the study's researchers said had conducted the work. The company said that they had done no such thing. Following the report, study co-author and University of California-Los Angeles, political scientist Donald Green called for the study's retraction.

In its statement, Science cites three reasons for the decision:

(1) the misrepresentation of survey incentives; (2) false statements of sponsorship; and (3) the inability to produce original data, which makes it impossible to verify or alleviate concerns about statistical irregularities documented in an independent online response to the original work.

The retraction has been issued without the agreement of Michael LaCour, a political science student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a co-author of the study, reports Science Insider. Questions about the LaCour's previously published work have also begun to surface, in addition to claims that he fabricated a teaching award. LaCour's PhD advisor, Lynn Vavreck, told Science Insider that the university asked her not to speak to the media until the investigation into the research allegations had been concluded.