Dutch university investigating psych researcher Stapel for data fraud
Tilburg University in the Netherlands has suspended the prominent social psychologist Diederik Stapel over concerns that he fabricated data in his published studies. According to a translation of a press release from the school, Stapel, professor of cognitive social psychology and dean of Tilburg’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, “has committed a serious breach of scientific integrity by using fictitious data in his publications.”
The release says the rector of Tilburg has set up a committee to investigate Stapel’s manuscripts and report back by October. Heading the panel is W.J.M. Levelt, former* president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and professor emeritus at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
What the release does not specify, however, is which of Stapel’s many publications — a Medline search comes up with at least 45 bearing his name — are implicated. His articles, on everything from table manners to infidelity, have been published in both the social science literature and more general titles, including an April 2011 paper in Science on discrimination, and he has collaborated with researchers in both Europe and the United States. Twenty eight of his papers have been cited at least 20 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and two have been cited more than 100.
A Tilburg website promoting Stapel as an expert has been “placed offline (temporarily or permanently) by the administrator.”
The Dutch press has picked up on the story, and we’ll be covering it more as we learn the details. We’ve tried to contact Stapel for comment.
*Correction, 10:45 p.m. Eastern, 9/10/11: Levelt is former president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, not current president. Apologies for the error.