Facebook Twitter Linkedin Google Plus Tell a Friend
Home| Columns| Features| International| In Dutch| Dictionary| What's On| Jobs| Housing| Expats| Blogs| Books
««« previousnext »»»

Report into fraudulent researcher damns lack of critical culture

Wednesday 28 November 2012

A report into how a Dutch university professor was able to fake research data for years blames the absence of a critical scientific culture at academic institutions.

Diederik Stapel, who was a professor of social and behavioural sciences at Tilburg, was suspended in September 2011 after doubts emerged about research that concluded eating meat makes people anti-social and selfish.

The report, compiled by special commissions from four universities where Stapel worked, concludes at least 55 out of 130 academic papers written by Stapel and 10 graduate student theses he was supervising contain fraudulent data. There are doubts about the authenticity of a further 11 papers.


The 108-page report says colleagues who worked with Stapel had not been sufficiently critical. This was not deliberate fraud but 'academic carelessness', the report said. 'The critical function of science has failed at all levels,' the report said.

In a statement, Stapel said he had failed as a scientist. 'I am deeply, deeply sorry for the pain I have caused others,' he said. 'I feel sorry, shame and I blame myself. The truth would have been better served without me.'

Stapel said he been undergoing professional treatment and parts of the diary he has kept since the scandal broke will be published in book form later this week, on the urging of friends and family.

Finance ministry officials are also investigating Stapel because much of his work was funded by public research money.

Earlier stories
First finding damn fraudulent professor
Investigation into meat eater research widens
Tilburg professor faked at least 30 papers

Your thoughts? Use the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Stapel is not alone. This failure to critically review the reports of scientists - particularly when govt funded - must be turned around urgently. Scientific publication of reports is meaningless without other scientists trying to prove the reports are wrong. My speciality is illegal drugs misuse and I have a very large collection of similarly faked reports that have never been critically reviewed. This costs peoples lives.

By Max Harmreduction | 28 November 2012 6:42 PM

Only the same what happens in the UK, only it's about Climate Change. Since when have researchers ever been honest ?.

By Karl H | 28 November 2012 9:05 PM

If Mitt is responsible for Bain after leaving, then a co-author is responsible for anything that s/he puts their name on.

By SKip Heaton | 28 November 2012 9:45 PM

Where is Stapel's deep personal responsibility for this? He made choices; he should more fully iwn up.

By Diana | 28 November 2012 10:58 PM

I have worked with many researchers who would never fake reports, and despise researchers who do. Another example is the Dutch govt claiming there is research showing strong weed is the same as heroin and cocaine. Having read thousands of med reports on this, I must report not one of them says anything like that. That is just fake science, most likely paid for by the anti-coffeeshop lobby, and would never pass open peer review by a Pharmacologist. Real science is brilliant, it works.

By Max Harmreduction | 28 November 2012 11:49 PM

I'd give another example of lack of critical culture - based on what scientific research has the Dutch government decided to go for mass vaccination against swine flu using untested vaccine a couple of years ago?

By George | 28 November 2012 11:54 PM

Report into fraudulent researcher damns lack of critical culture. The report may be indicative of more serious effects. Especially in social, behavioural sciences, psychology and psychiatric disciplines the Dutch are very fast at integrating such finding in the practice with the many hobby scientologists rubbing their hands with new discovered tricks. The credibility of this gentleman’s students is in question and the poor people to which they have been let loss on.

By Terence Hale | 29 November 2012 3:50 AM

The report into research fraud by Professor Stapet at Tilburg University found that his colleagues did not collude, but they were guilty of “academic carelessness”.

In contrast, the case exposed on the following web pages offers testable evidence that “meta-fraud”, with university managers committing fraud to hide research fraud has taken place.



By Bill Courtney | 29 November 2012 10:14 AM

Critical review and analysis is a shortcoming in many of the Netherlands' universities, which is why much of Dutch scientific research is received with caution. And, another reason why so few Dutch universities are given a high academic rating.

By Quince | 29 November 2012 1:09 PM

I have taught at several institutions here in The Netherlands and can say that the cavalier attitude adopted by lecturers/professors in setting Mickey Mouse-level examinations (often multiple-choice questions with answers obvious to the less than average person), and allowing through theses wherein data is suppressed or exaggerated, gave a foretaste or taste of what/is was happening in the tertiary-level educational institutions. PhD theses data is rarely captured and stored... so it is easy to perpetrate fraud. Theses that I rejected were passed on to willing minds who had no qualms to accept and pass.


By Saw-it-happening-often | 29 November 2012 11:10 PM

Hes not a scientist, hes a socialolgist or something that and psychology is not real science so I am not surprised they dont know the proper techniques as they dont learn them.

By Simon Hayes | 30 November 2012 9:13 AM

Newsletter| RSS| Advertising| Business services| Mobile| Friends| Privacy| Contact| About us| Tell a Friend
Apartments for rent Rondvaart - Amsterdam