Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ethics News: Dutch Psychologist Manipulated Data in Dozens of Papers

A recent Science News article reports on the findings of a committee at Tilburg University in the Netherlands that found psychologist Diedrik Stapel had forged data used in a large number of papers, including an article published this past April in Science Magazine. The accusation of scientific misconduct came from three junior researchers working at Tilburg University who suspected misconduct in his work.

Stapel's work encompassed a broad range of attention-catching topics, such has how a position of power influences moral thinking, and is likely to cause damage to to his co-authors and the field. The report from the committee recommends that the university look into pressing criminal charges based on the misuse of research funds and possible harm resulting from the fraud. 

What kinds of organizational pressures do you think lead to scientific misconduct?

What do you think that universities and professional associations can do to help reduce the instances of scientific misconduct, other than just focusing on detection and punishment?

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