As if 25 retracted papers and losing your job wasn’t bad enough, social psychologist Diedrick Stapel could be arrested and jailed for falsifying data when applying for government grants in the Netherlands.For those who don’t know the Stapel story, the researcher, who worked at Tilburg University, just plain made up data in dozens of studies. He did research into social behaviour. For instance, a study of his published in the prestigious journal Science found that messy environments encouraged discrimination, but has been retracted because of the made up data.
The report into his misconduct, from Tilburg University, indicates that Stapel falsified data, said it was from participants at universities that only he had access to, and sent it off to colleagues for analysis. He seems to have acted alone in the fabrication.
The story originally broke in September of last year, but now, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports that the Dutch government has confiscated Stapel’s laptop, mobile phone and financial records and are currently interviewing witnesses to determine if Stapel is guilty of faking data on government grants.
He could go to jail for submitting fake data when applying for government funding, which he received 2.2 million Euros (about 2.8 million dollars) worth, and for the misuse of these funds. If he is charged and jailed, he would be the third researcher to be incarcerated for their fabrication of data, Retraction Watch reports.
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