Extent of Dutch psychologist’s research fraud was “unprecedented”

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 07 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7201
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

A well known Dutch psychologist falsified data in dozens of studies in one of the biggest cases of scientific fraud on record, an investigative committee has found.

Diederik Stapel, a professor of cognitive social psychology and dean of the Tilburg School of Social and Behaviour Sciences, committed academic fraud in “several dozen” publications since at least 2004. Much of his research, which covered topics such as stereotyping and discrimination and the effectiveness of advertising, received widespread publicity.

Mr Stapel was suspended from his post in September pending an investigation. On 31 October an interim report released by the three Dutch institutions where Mr Stapel worked—the University of Tilburg, the University of Groningen, and the University of Amsterdam—concluded that the extent of his fraud was very substantial. Mr Stapel has published about 150 papers. A full list of the fraudulent publications will be presented in the committee’s final report, expected to be in a few months. …

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