Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

He’s back: Data faker Diederik Stapel will support research at vocational university

with 17 comments

Diederik Stapel

Diederik Stapel

Diederik Stapel, the social psychology researcher who has had 58 papers retracted after admitting that he made up the data, has a new job: helping other researchers.

Stapel, according to BN DeStem (via Google Translate),

is going to help professors at major research projects and studies. “Outside his mistake he has been a good and thorough scientist,” says Hein van Oorschot of the Executive Board [of NHTV Breda, in the Netherlands]. “He has a vast knowledge in the field of research. He knows how the world works.”

The appointment is for one year. Van Oorschot tells BN DeStem:

He is not engaged in research and will not teach. He gets a supporting role, and he is the source of information and a helping hand for large projects.

Stapel has not responded to a request for comment. His last academic appointment, as an adjunct of sorts at Fontys Academy in Tilburg in 2014, was short-lived. Around the same time he resigned, he admitted sock puppetry in comments here at Retraction Watch.

Earlier, Stapel had settled with Dutch prosecutors and agreed to 120 hours of community service, after resigning from Tilburg University and relinquishing his PhD.

Hat tip: Jochen Mierau

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Written by Ivan Oransky

September 6th, 2016 at 8:30 am

  • rfg September 6, 2016 at 9:11 am

    “Outside of his mistake, he has been a good and thorough scientist.”


    At least make mistakes plural. 58 retractions are at least 58 mistakes.

    It was said elsewhere and I agree. Mr Staple should seek his redemption in another field other than science.

  • a September 6, 2016 at 9:43 am

    The person who hired DS, seems to have overlapped with DS at Tilburg.

  • Steven St. John September 6, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Everyone deserves a 59th chance.

  • firststone September 7, 2016 at 1:08 am

    So what do people want? For him to remain unemployed and starve to death??

    • PJTV September 7, 2016 at 3:04 am

      As the first comment said: “Mr Stapel should seek his redemption in another field other than science.” The issue is here too that DS will be involved in helping others to do research, and that in a very young institution. I do think that NHTV has made a wrong decision.

    • anon September 7, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Who cares. There are plenty of non-fraudster researchers without jobs.

      • TL September 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

        Reformed fraudsters who know how to play the game are valued higher in academia than honest scientists who don’t know how to play the game.

    • kaj September 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Well said Sir!

    • Bort September 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      He had his chance in science. Now he can work at Taco Bell.

  • Ken September 7, 2016 at 1:19 am

    At least he does have 58 ideas for publishable papers, although that might not mean much in social psychology. Other than that I can’t see what he could offer, given that much of what he has achieved has been through fraud.

    One aspect of the current political environment is that there are groups that dislike academia. That makes it essential that we continue to show that our research is useful, which requires honesty. People like this have no place in science.

  • Linda McPhee September 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    As long as he can’t get his name on any papers. He’s affected enough co-author careers

    • Anon September 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      The co-authors are equally culpable.

      • Henrik September 8, 2016 at 3:44 am

        Many of the coauthors of affected papers were his PhD students. I think it is a bit much to ask for them to be held responsible. Students who learn how to do science have to trust their supervisor. How else should they learn hoe to do it?

        This also seems to be the position of the official report. Please check out the section on the Levelt committee on Wikipedia:

  • Lee Rudolph September 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Reformed fraudsters

    Assumes facts not in evidence. He is (apparently) no longer in a position to perpetrate the exact same kind of fraud (at least, not without help, and not in a way where his involvement would be publicly known), and he has not (presumably) been caught out in any other kind of fraud. I’m not sure how a “fraudster” does definitively demonstrate that he or she is “reformed”, but nothing we have seen reported (here) seems even to be directed to making such a demonstration.

  • ME September 8, 2016 at 2:03 am

    DS is NOT a thorough scientist. He was a manipulator and according to his books (this week he published a third one about himself, it’s called “Zuchten” (Sighs)), he still is. His fraud wasn’t just a mistake, it was an outcome of his character and personality, which can’t be changed in a few years. His second chance shouldn’t be given in a scientific/educational environment. He affected the careers and lives of too many collegues.

  • stephen buranyi September 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Looks like he was let go by NHTV because of staff and student concerns, again.

    (In Dutch)

  • Bo September 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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