Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit

Book Review

‘Ik was echt zorgvuldig’

De carrière van een wetenschappelijke fraudeur

Trefwoorden Scientific misconduct, Diederik Stapel, culture of competition, questionable research procedures, ‘indifferent tolerance’
Auteurs dr. Thaddeus Müller
Auteursinformatie

dr. Thaddeus Müller
Dr. Thaddeus Müller is verbonden aan de sectie criminologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
  • Samenvatting

      In this article I focus on the academic environment in which social psychologist Diederik Stapel worked and developed his career as a con academic. He published over 50 articles with fabricated data in top tier journals. This article is based on interviews with Stapel himself and document analysis. Especially, I pay attention to his socialization as an academic in his years at the University of Amsterdam, where he did his PhD (1986-2000). In my description of how social psychology developed in the nineties in Amsterdam it becomes clear that there was a strong emphasis on competition and publishing articles in top tier journals. Stapel conformed to this culture of competition and published almost as much as the two leading full professors of his department during the period 1995-2000. In the early nineties Stapel discovered that the use of questionable research procedures (QRPs) was common in social psychology. He realized that without using these procedures it was hardly possible to get good results and publish frequently in top tier journals. Though Stapel resented this partly and was disenchanted by this experience, he did integrate QRPs in his daily academic practice. He actually raised the issue of QRPs in a lecture in Oxford when he received the Jos Jaspars Early Career Award of the EAESP, but there was hardly any substantive response to his presentation. The academic culture in which Stapel developed his career can be described as ‘indifferent tolerant’. Though Stapel does refer to the circumstances which influenced his academic fraud, he does state that he himself is responsible for his massive scientific misconduct.

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