A retraction has appeared for Jens Förster, the former University of Amsterdam social psychologist whose work has come under serious scrutiny by two official committees.
Here’s the notice for 2012’s “Sense Creative! The Impact of Global and Local Vision, Hearing, Touching, Tasting and Smelling on Creative and Analytic Thought,” a paper which first appeared in Social Psychological and Personality Science:
The editor of Social Psychological and Personality Science, along with the journal’s consortium of proprietor societies and its publisher, SAGE Publications, have retracted this article at the request of the Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam. The University has requested this retraction after conducting an inquiry into data irregularities contained in the article, and concluding that these irregularities represent a violation of academic integrity. The request from the University, signed by its Rector Magnificus, Prof D.C. van den Boom, states that “Scrutiny of the evidence by two committees on scientific integrity led to the conclusion that the data were manipulated: ‘the diversity found in the scores of the control group is so improbably small that this cannot be explained by sloppy science or questionable research practices; intervention must have taken place in the presentation of the results of the 19 experiments described in the 2012 article. Based on this and based also on the inadequate explanation regarding the data set and the original data, a violation of academic integrity can be said to have taken place.’”
In response to the journal’s request for information regarding the authors’ roles, lead author Jens Förster stated that “My co-author of the paper, Markus Denzler, has nothing to do with the data collection or the data analysis.”
The paper, which has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, was one of three identified in the original complaint that led to an investigation into Förster’s work. A University of Amsterdam committee concluded in 2013 that patterns in the three studies were “practically impossible,” and recommended expressions of concern. The Dutch Board of Scientific Integrity (LOWI) investigated the three papers, finding that the data in the 2012 study were manipulated and recommending retraction. Förster has challenged the committees’ findings repeatedly.
Here’s an update from the NRC newspaper last month (translated from Dutch):
Contrary to earlier statements, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is going to investigate all publications by professor Jens Förster from the period 2007-2014. A statistician will investigate the data in all these articles for unlikely patterns, the UvA has confirmed to NRC Handelsblad. In April this year, the independent council for scientific fraud (LOWI) concluded that data from an article of Förster and his co-author Markus Denzler (both Germans) were manipulated. The UvA retracted that article. A committee at the UvA had judged the data in two additional articles to be “practically impossible” and advised the placement of an “Expression of concern” in the relevant journals.
The Executive Board first did not want a further investigation. However, this will now take place because several co-authors were uncertain about the “status” of their articles.
Förster now works at Ruhr University Bochum.