My belief in the integrity of psychological science is in a dither. How unsettling it is to read so much lately about fraud, fabrication, and plagiarism conducted by prominent researchers. Ironically, a well-respected popular science writer who wrote a
thoughtful article about the increasing difficulty of replicating
effects and the declining strength of replicated findings has himself been successfully challenged for plagiarism.
One result of these egregious violations of academic integrity has been the development of a number of tools and efforts to identify the likelihood of fraudulent data and its prevalance. Major empirical efforts such as the reproducibility project are underway to attempt to replicate findings published in prominent psychology journals within the past few years. The two major American professional psychology organizations, the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science have offered suggestions about how best to put these malfeasances in context and proposed ways of reducing the likelihood of fraud.
It has NOW been over year since the data fabrication of the renowned Dutch experimental social psychologist Diederik Stapel formerly at Tilburg University was formally exposed. Many of his widely cited articles have been formally retracted. The American Psychological Association has attempted to summarize the facts of the case, which has received extensive and often thoughtful consideration Inside Higher Education, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New York Times.
As a constructive attempt to use these events as a teaching moment, I shared with my students information about the Stapel controversy and asked them to share their responses in this forum. I invite you also to share any responses you have to the information above or to their thoughts since some of these students will become researchers in the near future.