The fraud of Diederik Stapel could go unnoticed because of the failure of criticism in a culture of poor science.This statement is one of the conclusions of the final report of joint committees Levelt, Noort and Drenth (from Tilburg, Groningen and Amsterdam respectively) investigating the Stapel case. The results are being presented today in Amsterdam.
Apart from providing a complete list of the contaminated articles, dissertations and book chapters by Stapel, the report also provides harsh criticism of the research culture in which Stapel’s scientific fraud went unnoticed.
Read the full report in English here.
During his entire career Stapel has committed scientific fraud in no less than 55 publications. The report also shows that long before he was appointed at Tilburg University, Stapel had began fabricating research data. The first publication in which the committee could confirm fraud dates back to 2004. There is also a strong suspicions of fraud in publications from 1996.
According to the report, none of the co-authors or PhD students were directly involved in the fraud. However, the committee questioned the uncritical way in which Stapel’s work was received at Tilburg University.
In their recommendations all committees were very critical of the scientific standards of the discipline of social psychology. According to them, scientific integrity was not given high priority and there was a lack of explicit attention, detailed monitoring, an implicit exemplary function of senior staff and a collective responsibility within research groups.