Tilburg and Groningen universities are to take legal action against one of their professors after an investigation showed he had faked research data in at least 30 scientific papers.
The fraud is ‘considerable and shocking’, the committee set up to look into Diederik Stapel’s academic publications said in an initial report into the scandal on Monday.
Stapel, who was a professor of social and behavioural sciences at Tilburg, was suspended last month after doubts emerged about research that concluded eating meat makes people anti-social and selfish.
The investigation shows at least 30 academic papers submitted to respected scientific journals contained data that he had invented and there are doubts about several dozen more, the committee said.
In total, statistics quoted in 150 papers dating back to 2004 when Stapel worked at Groningen University, are being examined.
The investigation committee also accused Stapel of abusing his position by damaging the reputations of young researchers who worked with him. False statistical data was used in 14 out of 21 doctoral theses mentored by Stapel, the NRC said.
‘Stapel has misused his partners for his own glory,’ committee chairman Pim Levelt said. ‘He lied to them. They can no longer take pride in their own publications and in some instances, will have to alter their cvs.’
In a written response to the allegations published on the Brabants Dagblad newspaper website, Stapels says he has ‘failed as a researcher and academic’.
‘I realize now that my behavior has stunned and angered my colleagues and put my area of expertise – social psychology – in a bad light,’ he wrote. ‘I am embarrassed and deeply sorry for this.’
Earlier research by Stapel, a frequent guest on television chat shows, found that a messy room makes people aggressive and beautiful people have better chances in life.