Erasmus University in Rotterdam has issued its final report on psychologist Dirk Smeesters, concluding that the former Erasmus faculty member had committed research misconduct in a total of seven papers. Three of those articles already have been retracted in the case, as we reported in December 2012.
The committee investigation is in fact a follow-up inquiry — thus its name, the Smeesters Follow-Up Investigation Committee — prompted by concerns that an initial probe was incomplete. According to the report, the four-member panel conducted an “in-depth analysis” of every paper Smeesters, who left the university’s Rotterdam School of Management in July 2012, was “actively” involved in. That turned out to be 22 articles (not including three others already retracted).
Three new retractions — two of papers by Lawrence Sanna and one of work by Dirk Smeesters — have appeared in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The retractions come along with a hard-hitting piece by the journal’s editor.
Dutch investigators have released their final report into the case of Diederik Stapel, the social scientist and erstwhile faculty member at Tilburg University who fabricated data in 55 articles and book chapters. So far, 31 of Stapel’s published papers have been retracted — three others have expressions of concern — although more might follow.
In addition, 10 dissertations by students Stapel supervised were found to contain fraudulent data, although those students were cleared of any wrongdoing in the inquiry.
The social psychology community, already rocked last year by the Diederik Stapel scandal, now has another set of allegations to dissect. Dirk Smeesters, a professor of consumer behavior and society at the Rotterdam School of Management, part of Erasmus University, has resigned amid serious questions about his work.
According to an Erasmus press release, a scientific integrity committee found that the results in two of Smeesters’ papers were statistically highly unlikely. Smeesters could not produce the raw data behind the findings, and told the committee that he cherry-picked the data to produce a statistically significant result. Those two papers are being retracted, and the university accepted Smeesters’ resignation on June 21.
The release also takes pains to say that the university has no reason to doubt the work of his co-authors. You can read the complete report in Dutch, with Smeesters’ co-authors’ names blacked out, in an NRC Handelsblad story.