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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Diederik Stapel retraction count hits 50

with 7 comments

stapel_npcIt’s Diederik Stapel’s golden retraction: Number 50.

The lucky notice appears in Social Psychology:

The following article from issue 4, 2008 is being retracted: Van den Bos, A., & Stapel, D. (2008). The impact of comprehension versus self-enhancement goals on group perception. Social Psychology, 39, 222–230, doi 10.1027/ 1864-9335.39.4.222

This retraction follows the results of an investigation by the Rector Magnificus of the Tilburg University into the work of Diederik Stapel. Three Committees examined Diederik Stapel’s places of employment: The Levelt Committee (Tilburg University), the Noort Committee (University of Groningen), and the Drenth Committee (University of Amsterdam). They concluded that the findings of, and data collected by, Stapel could not be confirmed.

In the case of the above article, the Noort Committee (University of Groningen) reported the following (see https://www.commissielevelt.nl):

“– Data collection was managed by Mr. Stapel and results were handed over for further analysis to the first author.

– There are strong indications that the data in this paper were manipulated and faked: duplicate cases, and strange (inconsistent) correlation structures between variables within different conditions.

– Mr. Stapel did declare that he is not sure about the character (fraudulent or not) of this article.”

The Noort Committee therefore requested the retraction of this article. Diederik Stapel’s co-author Arne van den Bos stated that he was unaware of Stapel’s actions and was not involved in the collection of the data in question.

The paper has been cited just once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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Written by Ivan Oransky

March 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Didn’t somebody here suggest awarding him a medallion when he hit the 50th retraction? Any thoughts on possible designs? Maybe we should have a gold-silver-bronze system? Which one should 50 be?


    March 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

    • Jeez, I hope 50 is gold. I would hate to think that 50 retractions would get any less than the top medal. Mind you, if we are looking at all-time highs, the Japanese anesthesiologist guy (too lazy to look up this morning) would be standing on the top step. As to the medal itself, what is a good symbol for fabrication?


      March 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

      • tin comes to mind…or lead. By the way, can anyone figure out what the title of this Stapel paper means?

        puzzled monkey

        March 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

        • Yeah, I suppose something toxic would be more appropriate. Maybe lead, since it bioaccumulates.


          March 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

        • I have no idea what the title means but I am surprised it does not contain a colon. My Freudian hypothesis is that this author has had such fondness for this particular punctuation mark because he subconsciously wants to let the reader know the origin of his data.


          March 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      • “As to the medal itself, what is a good symbol for fabrication?”

        I think something made of pyrite, or “fool’s gold”


        March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        • Isn’t it frightening to figure out that on the 2006 edited CV of the guy it is mentionned that from 1997 until 2005 he gave a lecture entitled “How to publish”…


          March 28, 2013 at 4:22 am

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