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Case of Massive Scientific Fraud

A widely published and highly respected social psychologist is being investigated for fabricating data.

By | November 2, 2011

FLICKR, PLUTOR

The results of over a hundred research papers published across three institutions are in question as investigators examine the work of Diederik Stapel, one of the Netherlands' rising stars of social psychology.

"People are in shock," Gerben van Kleef, a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, told ScienceInsider. "Everybody wonders how this could have happened and at this proportion."

Already 30 papers have been found to contain falsified data, according to Nature. A report issued by Tilburg University, Stapel's employer, includes investigations from University of Groningen and the University of Amsterdam, where Stapel worked previously.

After conducting interviews with dozens of Stapel's students and collaborators, the committee found that Stapel would discuss experiments he claimed he had done earlier or via a network of collaborators, but no experiments were ever actually conducted. Stapel would ask his students or collaborators to analyze reams of data that he had simply fabricated.  According to ScienceInsider's account of the report, which is written in Dutch, many of the Stapel's students had graduated never having run an experiment.

The University of Tilburg initiated the investigation after three researchers working for Stapel told the head of the department that they suspected Staple of fraud earlier this year. Shortly afterwards, Stapel reportedly admitted that he had falsified his research, and today he issued a statement apologizing to his colleagues for failing as a scientist.

Science published an editorial expression of concern yesterday (November 1) questioning the validity of research published by Stapel in its April 8th, 2011 issue, but as of yet, no official retractions have been made.

The commission concluded that Staple acted alone, but his actions could affect some 21 PhD theses that may have been published with fabricated data. "I think the impact is going to be particularly devastating for the young people he worked with, but not for the field of social psychology as such," Miles Hewstone, a social psychologist at the University of Oxford, told Nature.

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Comments

Avatar of: Boo_Bottoms

Boo_Bottoms

Posts: 8

November 2, 2011

This is the major problem with Government funded research... third party payers NEVER do enough oversight! And then add the corruption/politics factor and you have the mess you see today with Science. Why should the public continue to fund such scandelous behavior?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 2, 2011

This is the major problem with Government funded research... third party payers NEVER do enough oversight! And then add the corruption/politics factor and you have the mess you see today with Science. Why should the public continue to fund such scandelous behavior?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 2, 2011

This is the major problem with Government funded research... third party payers NEVER do enough oversight! And then add the corruption/politics factor and you have the mess you see today with Science. Why should the public continue to fund such scandelous behavior?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 19, 2011

This type of behaviour is seen in work that was funded by the US EPA and the Bush administration. It is a product of a clientele captured agency and is done with the complicity of the US Congress. Boo-Bottoms asks why we should continue to fund this stuff? Problem is that in the byzantine system of Washington, few links  not greased with snake oil. Little is available to the common man to make these needed changes. Washington knows this and so do the big campaign contributors.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 19, 2011

This type of behaviour is seen in work that was funded by the US EPA and the Bush administration. It is a product of a clientele captured agency and is done with the complicity of the US Congress. Boo-Bottoms asks why we should continue to fund this stuff? Problem is that in the byzantine system of Washington, few links  not greased with snake oil. Little is available to the common man to make these needed changes. Washington knows this and so do the big campaign contributors.

Avatar of: edo_mcgowan

edo_mcgowan

Posts: 19

December 19, 2011

This type of behaviour is seen in work that was funded by the US EPA and the Bush administration. It is a product of a clientele captured agency and is done with the complicity of the US Congress. Boo-Bottoms asks why we should continue to fund this stuff? Problem is that in the byzantine system of Washington, few links  not greased with snake oil. Little is available to the common man to make these needed changes. Washington knows this and so do the big campaign contributors.

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Mettler Toledo
Mettler Toledo
Life Technologies