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Forged Experimental Data: More misery for suspended professor

September 9, 2011

By Marlene Werner

TILBURG – Not the kind of news Diederik Stapel, the suspended Dean of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioural Sciences would have liked.

A colleague and fellow professor has called the reputed Cognitive Social Psychology expert “a disgrace” in her first comments since Stapel got his probation order on allegations of academic fraud.

“It is a disgrace of mega-proportion”, said Prof Roos Vonk from Radboud University of Nijmegen. “I have to assume that the ‘meat-data’ are also forged.”

Vonk published a personal account of the case on her website, after accusations of forgery were reported by the University of Tilburg earlier this week ahead of Stapel’s suspension.

The two professors jointly conducted a study, which investigated personality differences of meat-eaters and vegetarians.

The results of the study linked to the alleged forgery were presented earlier this year.

She remembered being suspicious about Stapel’s conduct during the experimental period, when he refused to reveal his assistant’s name, but reassured herself because of his outstanding reputation.

“It is shocking and shows that also psychologists can be mistaken about people.”

The University’s Executive Board said Stapel’s undertakings were “a serious breach of scientific integrity.”

An investigation has been launched to examine which of Prof. Stapel’s publications were falsified.

Results should be announced by the end of October.

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