The Dutch papers are reporting that Peter Nijkamp, one of the leading economists in The Netherlands, has been embroiled in what looks like a self-plagiarism scandal following the cancellation of a thesis defense by one of his graduate students because of plagiarism.
We say “what looks like” because it’s tough to figure out what’s alleged here, given our reliance on translations. Best we can tell, the allegations against his graduate student are for plagiarism, while those against Nijkamp are for duplication, a.k.a. self-plagiarism.
According to the Google translation of this piece in our friends at the Volkskrant:
VU University Amsterdam kept a plagiarism case involving one of its top scientists, the economist Peter Nijkamp, under wraps for months, according to a research report published anonymously on the website of the Association of Universities (VSNU).
Although the university for a long time insisted that ‘nothing serious’ was wrong with the thesis of the economist Karima Kourtit, it now appears from the report on the VSNU site that there is plagiarism. And not only Kourtit but her supervisor Peter Nijkamp is to blame, is to read the report.
In several places in the dissertation is plagiarism. The commission that investigated the case concluded that a chapter has been established on the basis of a workshop. Kourtit has contributions from participants in the dissertation without acknowledgment. “The reader gets the impression that the text comes from the author of the chapter,” writes the committee.
As NRC reports of Nijkamp’s work:
The sample (of which 6 times and 8 times self-plagiarism emerged) raises questions about the extent of Nijkamp violations of academic publishing rules. In an inquiry last year headed by former Academy president Pieter Drenth, Nijkamp said he believes that reusing previous texts is permitted, even if these are written by someone who is not an author of the new publication. The Drenth commission was established in May 2013 after an anonymous complaint about plagiarism Nijkamps researcher Karima Kourtit, whose promotion had to be postponed.
NRC also includes four examples of potential self-plagiarism.
Drenth was also head of a committee that investigated the work of Diederik Stapel.
NRC adds that all of Nijkamp’s work will be under scrutiny for self-plagiarism. We can’t tell if conventional plagiarism also is suspected in the case against the economist, who won his country’s highest science award
in the field, the Spinoza Prize, in 1996. Thirteen of his papers have been cited more than 50 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
So far we’re not aware of any other retractions in the case, but we’ll update this post as we learn more.
Update, 5:30 p.m. Eastern, 1/8/14: It seems Kourtit may have inflated her credentials in at least one publication, according to this link.