Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Second retraction appears for former accounting professor James Hunton

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James Hunton, via Bentley University

James Hunton, via Bentley University

It took five months, but in December a second retraction popped up for disgraced accounting professor James E. Hunton.

Hunton resigned his teaching post at Bentley University in December of 2012. An extensive investigation by Bentley showed that not only was the data in two papers falsified. Hunton also lied about non-existent confidentiality agreements and tried to destroy evidence of his lies by unsuccessfully wiping his laptop and changing metadata on files.

The first paper Hunton was accused of faking, ironically about accounting fraud, was retracted in 2012.

Here’s the notice for “The relationship between perceived tone at the top and earnings quality”:

This article has been retracted at the request of authors Rani Hoitash and Jay Thibodeau, along with Contemporary Accounting ResearchEditor-in-Chief Patricia C. O’Brien.

Retraction: Hunton, J. E., R. Hoitash, and J. Thibodeau. 2011. The relationship between perceived tone at the top and earnings quality.Contemporary Accounting Research 28 (4): 1190–224.

Bentley University conducted an investigation into alleged research misconduct by Dr. James E. Hunton involving the above paper, which was published while he was a faculty member there. The report, which Bentley University made public on July 21, 2014, finds “compelling” evidence that Dr. Hunton fabricated the data used in this study, without the knowledge of his co-authors. For further information, see:https://www.bentley.edu/files/Hunton%20report%20July21.pdf.

To correct the academic literature and maintain standards of academic integrity, the above article is therefore retracted, by agreement among the journal Editor-in-Chief, Patricia C. O’Brien; two of the three authors, namely Rani Hoitash and Jay Thibodeau; and the copyright holder, the Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA). The article was published online on October 24, 2011 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com).

Dr. Hunton did not respond to a request for comment.

The paper has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The journal responded to our questions with the following statement:

The Canadian Academic Accounting Association, its journal editors and conference program chairs are committed to the highest standards of academic integrity. We are also committed to appropriate standards of due process both in the original review of material to be published in our journals or presented at our conferences, and in consideration of retraction of material in those rare circumstances where concerns about academic integrity have been raised. Our due process requires consideration of evidence of breaches of academic integrity, consultation with all authors involved, and an internal review of this evidence prior to reaching a decision. The retraction of an article affects the integrity of the academic literature and authors’ careers; therefore, our due process will always be thorough and deliberate.

We will not comment on individual cases beyond what appears in the retraction notice.

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