The Stapel Case: An Object Lesson in Research Integrity and Its Lapses

John M. Budd

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2013; 4: G47-53

In 2011 the works of Diederik Stapel came under suspicion. It was thought that he was fabricating and/or falsifying data and publishing the false results. The investigation was far-reaching and involved the three Dutch universities at which he worked. All of his published articles were examined carefully; to date (September 13, 2013), fifty-four of the articles have been retracted. The present study investigates the scope of citations to the articles he published from 1998 through 2006. These years mark the middle stage of his research and publication record, and they provide ample time for the examination of citations to his articles. The numbers and nature of the citations (positive or acknowledging problems) are reported, and the implications of the acceptance of his work are explored.


Keywords: Stapel, citations, scientific misconduct, social psychology, RCR (responsible conduct of research)