Jennifer Massey and Sean Field, Open Letter to Queen’s Senate concerning Allegations of Research Misconduct at Queen’s University and HEQCO (18 March 2012)

Posted 20 May 2012, from a pdf file: Massey and Field Statement (19 May 2012).

May 18th 2012

Dear Senators,

We urge you to consider the motions proposed by Senators Terry Bridges, Mark Jones, and Jordan Morelli, which we understand have been struck from the May 22nd Senate agenda.

Our concerns regarding HEQCO are detailed in two open letters addressed to Dr. Harvey Weingarten, the President and CEO of HEQCO, which can be found (along with Dr. Weingarten’s responses) at the following URL:

We felt compelled to write these letters to make known our concerns about the publicly available HEQCO report, which bears our names, and draw attention to what we believe is a breach of academic and intellectual integrity. Our main concern is that substantive changes were made to our report without our knowledge or consent post-submission. Queen’s University’s VP Research and Associate VP Research were copied on our correspondence with Dr. Weingarten. At the time of writing, we have yet to be contacted by Queen’s University regarding this issue.

Understandably, we expect that you have questions. Briefly, here is what we know:

1. The final report submitted to HEQCO, titled “FINAL REPORT”, was submitted to Dr. Richard Wiggers, Research Director of HEQCO, on June 6th 2011, after several rounds of revisions between June 2010 and June 2011.

2. In the course of drafting and finalizing the report, the project lead, Jennifer Massey, was in regular email and phone contact with Dr. Wiggers and Queen’s University.

3. The substantive changes made to the “FINAL REPORT” without the knowledge or consent of the authors, which we outline in our letters, reflect revisions requested by HEQCO—requests which we had formerly declined making, for reasons that we explained.

4. The disclaimer, inserted by HEQCO (page 2 of the published report), falsely claims that the text of the report, aside from copyediting, is exclusively that of the authors.

5. Except for the substantive changes outlined in our letters, the text of the report published by HEQCO matches the text of the report we submitted, contradicting Dr. Weingarten’s claim that our report was “not acceptable for release in its current form”.

6. In his email, dated April 10th (which can be found at the URL above), Dr. Weingarten acknowledges that HEQCO was not only aware of but approved Queen’s University staff altering our report.

We hope that you will weigh the seriousness of this matter carefully, and that you will consider the motions proposed by Senators Terry Bridges, Mark Jones, and Jordan Morelli with academic integrity and the rights of all current and future faculty, researchers, and students in mind.


Jennifer Massey

PhD Candidate,

Dept. of Geography

Queen’s University

Kingston, Ontario

Sean Field

PhD Candidate,

Dept. of Geography

Kingston, Ontario

Queen’s University

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