In “Dutch ‘Lord of the Data’ Forged Dozens of Studies” ( Science, 31 October 2011) Gretchen Vogel reports,
One of the Netherlands’ leading social psychologists made up or manipulated data in dozens of papers over nearly a decade, an investigating committee has concluded.
Stapel’s work encompassed a broad range of attention-catching topics, including the influence of power on moral thinking and the reaction of psychologists to a plagiarism scandal. The committee, which interviewed dozens of Stapel’s former students, postdoctoral researchers, co-authors, and colleagues, found that Stapel alone was responsible for the fraud. The panel reported that he would discuss in detail experimental designs, including drafting questionnaires, and would then claim to conduct the experiments at high schools and universities with which he had special arrangements. The experiments, however, never took place, the universities concluded. Stapel made up the data sets, which he then gave the student or collaborator for analysis, investigators allege. In other instances, the report says, he told colleagues that he had an old data set lying around that he hadn’t yet had a chance to analyze. When Stapel did conduct actual experiments, the committee found evidence that he manipulated the results.
Apparently, typical for bureaucracies: Whistleblowers raised concerns, but no one followed up.
Does this remind anyone of Marc “the monkeys talk to me” Hauser? And where was “peer review”?
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose