Stapel Gets Nailed (but not very hard)

Diederik Stapel is the Dutch social psychologist who admitted to fabricating data in as may as 30 published papers. His story is told in a fascinating article published in the NY Times magazine in April (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/diederik-stapels-audacious-academic-fraud.html). He admitted to fabricating experiments while sitting at his kitchen table — he decided on the desired outcome and made up the data to support it. He was careful not to make the two conditions he was comparing too disparate which might lead to disbelief. (I couldn’t help drawing a parallel to the situation that I challenged and is described on my website www.helenezhill.com). Everyone loved and admired Stapel. He was, after all, a most charming and believable man. He is no longer facing jail time but he will have to spend 120 hours (only 3 40 hr weeks!) performing community service. He was, in fact, commended for not diverting the money for personal use. Good for him! He did have his PhD rescinded — no longer Dr, just Mr Stapel and of course he lost his job. But what of the graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, colleagues and other unsuspecting readers of his works who were swept along in his undertow — what price will they pay? Who is going to pull them out of the abyss? See also http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/06/dutch-psychology-fraudster-avoids-trial.html.

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4 comments on “Stapel Gets Nailed (but not very hard)
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