A former anthropologist at the Free University in Amsterdam appears to have made up
data for at least 61 papers, and invented awards and other parts of his CV, according to a university investigation.
Bax, who studied an Irish town he called Patricksville, a Dutch pilgrimage site he called Neerdonk, and Medjugorje, a Bosnian pilgrimage site, retired from the Free University in 2002. The university began investigating Bax’s work last year after science journalist Frank van Kolfschooten published Ontspoorde Wetenschap (“Derailed science”). In that book, van Kolfschooten raised questions about Bax’s work into an alleged massacre at Medjugorje during the Bosnian War. Bax responded to those questions in April of this year.
Here’s the university’s 67-page report, in Dutch. The university will not take legal action against Bax. It is unclear from the translations we’ve seen whether any of the papers will be retracted, but we’ll update with anything we learn.
Thanks to a number of readers who sent us tips on the story earlier this morning. Updated at 8:45 a.m. Eastern with a link to NRC Handelsblad’s coverage, and at 4 p.m. Eastern (first sentence) to attempt to clarify what exactly may have been wrong with Bax’s papers.