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.
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