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Guest Column: Unreliable science (or scientists)?

Unreliable science (or scientists)?

It’s been a couple of years since we were confronted with one of the most impressive cases of scientific fraud in science: the Stapel-case. We recently read a book on the affair called ‘The Publication Factory’, by Ruud Abma, connected to the faculty of social sciences at Utrecht University. Although we’ve had some exposure to data and knowledge in this particular field, disbelief at the enormous scale at which Stapel committed his fraudulent behaviour struck us. Furthermore, the conclusions of the Lefelt-commision, who thoroughly investigated the Stapel-case gave more reason for doubt. They described in their report ‘a research culture that was focused too much on confirming own thoughts (‘confirmation bias’) with questionable, selective and non-critical data handling’.

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