The question of what researchers can learn from violations of integrity lies at the center of MindOpen’s summer issue (http://www.mindopen.nl/pdf/mindopen_number_9_summer_2012.pdf). The digizine swirls around a case of large-scale fraud committed by social scientist Diederik Stapel who was outed for fabricating data and suspended from Tilburg University last fall.
In addition to providing several useful “lessons learned” from violating scientific honesty, the digizine probes the insights of those who knew Stapel, such as his former mentor and chair of Stapel’s PhD committee who was utterly unsuspicious, a former advisee who luckily didn’t make the cut, and a former collaborator in the US who fortunately got dropped from the project.
The misconduct case was a disaster for a number of Stapel’s former PhD students, too. “Papers have been retracted, and their academic career prospects haven’t exactly improved. It’s terrible,” notes Wim Koomen, once Stepel’s “copromotor” [mentor] at the University of Amsterdam. The editors hold up the Stapel story like a mirror to all researchers. Is it an accurate reflection of the present situation in research? What do you think?