“When we wonder what it all means”: Stapel retraction count rises to 49

stapel_npcDiederik Stapel is up to 49 retractions.

Here are the latest three, from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin:

The following three articles have been retracted from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Editor, and the publisher of the journal:

Renkema, L.J, Stapel, D.A., Maringer, M. & van Yperen, N.W. (2008). Terror management and stereotyping: Why do people stereotype when mortality is salient? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(4), 553-564. (Original DOI: 10.1177/0146167207312465)

Stapel, D.A., & Marx, D.M. (2007). Distinctiveness is key: How different types of self-other similarity moderate social comparison effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(3), 439-448. (Original DOI: 10.1177/0146167206296105)

Stapel, D.A., & Koomen, W. (2001). When we wonder what it all means: Interpretation goals facilitate accessibility and stereotyping effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(8), 915-929. (Original DOI: 10.1177/0146167201278001)

The papers have been cited 12, 6, and 7 times, respectively, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The notice itself is behind a paywall:

These retraction decisions were made following the findings of an investigation into the work of author Diederik A. Stapel conducted by Tilburg University, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Groningen (https://www.commissielevelt.nl/). The investigation of Stapel’s work was performed by three committees, the Levelt, Noort, and Drenth. Their findings determined that the first two articles contained fraudulent data supplied by Diederik Stapel. The investigation found likely evidence of fraud in the third article. Diederik A. Stapel’s co-authors on these papers were unaware of his actions, and were not in any way involved in the generation of the fraudulent data.

For other articles retracted as a result of these investigations, see the statement titled “Retraction of ‘The influence of mood on attribution,’ ‘Affects of the unexpected: When inconsistency feels good (or bad),’ ‘Why people stereotype affects how they stereotype: The differential influence of comprehension goals and self-enhancement goals on stereotyping,’ ‘Silence and table manners: When environments activate norms,’ and ‘Event accessibility and context effects in causal inference: Judgment of a different order’” in the October 2012 issue of PSPB, DOI: 10.1177/0146167212462821.

As a commenter pointed out on our last post about Stapel, the count is likely to rise to about 65.

6 thoughts on ““When we wonder what it all means”: Stapel retraction count rises to 49”

      1. You hit one of my hot buttons. I suspect that, if archeology were held to the same standards as the biomedical science, the retraction rate would be devastating. It’s not that archeologists are less honest than biochemists, but they face a large and unique set of ethical and technical challenges. These come in two flavors.

        First, believe it or not, the technology of archeology has probably changed faster than the technology of molecular biology. Many, possibly most, 14C dates from before, say, 1990, are just plain wrong. The headlong adoption of isotope and chemical analytic techniques has far outstripped the standard site integrity protocols, leading to all kinds of contamination errors. The proper use and documentation of advanced statistical methods is much harder on the average bone collector than on psychologists. In addition, the whole conceptual structure of the field has changed several times in the last generation: from culture-historical to processual to post-processual (which means nothing in particular except a dislike of Binford’s work). The need to incorporate unfamiliar scientific material has (IMHO) allowed archeology to be diluted with bad science performed by third rate geneticists, in particular, but also others.

        Second, archeology is intensely political. Much published work is based on materials which it is now illegal or unethical to obtain or own (e.g. NAGPRA-covered human remains in the U.S.). Since important archeological artifacts also tend to have artistic or commercial value, they also tend to be stolen or faked. I understand that so many figurines from the Cycladian Neolithic are forgeries that the professionals have essentially given up. In some areas, looney results — results everyone knows are looney — have been solemnly published because they serve a nationalist or culture-political agenda. This last has improved a great deal in the last decades, but there’s a lot still on the books, and every country periodically goes through phases of “re-discovering our past glory” during which money is only available for glorious results.

        Don’t get me wrong. Archeology is a great field, and certainly my current passion. But it simply isn’t in any shape right now to survive the kind of scrutiny required in the harder sciences. The standards aren’t clear, the practitioners are frequently forced to work out of their technical depth, and the potential for political abuse by micro-deconstruction of basically good work is too great. Some day, perhaps.

        1. In my opinion, archaeology’s political relevance has been vastly overstated by post-modernist scholars. Recent history packs political punch. Early history and Prehistory does not in most countries. And archaeology is never a politically leading field. We are followers and go where the money is. Successful archaeologists are political opportunists. That’s why myself and almost all my Scandy colleagues are currently social liberal democrats.

          1. I would guess that archeology can be very political. Google “biblical archeology” and you’ll be surprised at the degree of political use of archeology to interested ends. Another is treatment of archeological evidence in the interpretationof the history of the people of Easter Island, a true minefield . I suspect that there are many other examples.

          2. Two exceptional cases concerning historic times. My work with the Bronze Age in rural Sweden has no political potential whatsoever.

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