Dutch psychologist admits he made up research data

Wed Nov 2, 2011 9:50am EDT
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By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - A Dutch psychologist has admitted making up data and faking research over many years in studies which were then published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Diederik Stapel, a psychologist working at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, said he had "failed as a scientist" and was ashamed of what he had done, but had been driven to falsifying research by constant pressure to perform.

The respected journal Science, which published some of Diederik Stapel's work earlier this year, issued an "expression of concern" editorial in which it said it now had serious concerns about the validity of Stapel's findings.

Stapel was suspended from his position at Tilburg University in the Netherlands in September when an investigation was launched by the university into his work.

"The official report ... indicates that the extent of the fraud by Stapel is substantial," Science's editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts wrote in the journal's online edition Science Express. The editorial was posted online late on November 1.

In a statement posted on the internet via the Dutch newspaper Brabants Dagblad this week, Stapel admitted to falsifying data and apologized for his actions.

"I have failed as a scientist, as a researcher," he said. "I have adjusted research data and faked research. Not just once, but many several times, and not just briefly, but over a long period of time.

"I am ashamed of this and I am deeply sorry."   Continued...