The investigation into doctoral dissertation fraud and embezzlement by former dean Arie de Ruijter glitches. The dissertations involved are harshly criticized and even ‘questionable research practices’ are mentioned. But no tough measures have been taken so far. Also striking: a small group of scientists was very often involved in the supervision process of the criticized dissertations, while they did not always have the right expertise.
During his deanery period from 2007 to December 31st 2014, Arie de Ruijter has supervised twenty-two doctoral theses at his faculty, according to Research Portal. According to our most recent information, De Ruijter has even supervised 53 dissertations during his entire period at Tilburg University at different faculties. In addition to the research on financial fraud, the university has also been conducting an investigation into the scientific integrity during the writing and realisation process of these dissertations.
A typical matter to be referred to Tilburg University’s Scientific Integrity Committee (CWI). But in that case the College Board would have to decide on the report, says spokesman Tineke Bennema. Establishing an external ad hoc committee would not require that. Bennema: “It is an independent investigation. By setting up an external ad hoc commission, maximum neutrality and independence are guaranteed.” Remarkably, the chairman of the external committee (Professor of Utrecht University Ton Hol) is also the chairman of Tilburg University’s own CWI.