In early September, Dutch social psychologist Diederik Stapel of the Institute for Behavioral Economics Research at Tilburg University was fired from his institution for faking data in his research on fundamental aspects of human nature. Over the course of the next month, the case slowly turned into one of the biggest cases of scientific misconduct in recent history, with the results of an estimated one hundred plus papers falling into question.
Now, Science has made the suspicion over one of those papers official, retracting a 2011 paper published by Stapel on the negative health- and quality-of-life consequences of being discriminated against. According to the retraction notice published yesterday (December 1) in the journal, which published an editorial expression of concern on the paper last month, this paper is among the many that “included fabrication of data,” and placed the blame solely on Stapel: “Coauthor Lindenberg was in no way involved in the generation of the data, and agrees to the retraction of the paper.”
In an editorial also published yesterday in Science, social psychologists Jennifer Crocker and M. Lynne Cooper calculated that in the last 8 years, Stapel has submitted 40 manuscripts for publication just to journals that are part of the American Psychological Association. While only 24 of those made it to publication, Crocker and Cooper argue that it’s still “a sufficient body of work that one might expect irregularities to be detected.” Indeed, researchers in the field expect that many more Stapel retractions will appear as the case continues to unfold, according to Retraction Watch.