In October 2011 Tilburg University suspended Diederik Stapel, a social psychologist who headed the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research. He was known as a succesfull researcher, teacher, and fundraiser. Stapel's eye-catching studies about human behavior made headlines. The final press release before he got fired, concerned an unpublished study claiming that thinking of eating meat makes people less social. However, after "junior researchers" reported fraudulent conduct, Stapel admitted that some of the data were fabricated. It will take some time to figure out how many of his publications are based on suspicious data.
Only two months later, Erasmus Medical Centre fired cardiologist Don Poldermans. The decan of Erasmus Medical Centre, the university hospital in Rotterdam, had received information on possible misconduct of Professor Poldermans in a running study. Next the Committee on Scientific Integrity evaluated a number of Poldermans' research projects. The investigation revealed that he did not have written consent from some patients included, he had used invented data or data could not be retrieved, and on two occasions conference papers were submitted based on data known to be flawed. Poldermans agreed with the committee's conclusions, but declared that his intentions were not malicious.
A third researcher who bit the dust was the Belgian-born social psychologist Dirk Smeesters, a professor at the Rotterdam School of Management and well-known specialist in consumer behaviour. He resigned after the Committee on Scientific Integrity reported problems in his studies. Smeesters conceded to "massaging" the data in some papers to "strengthen" outcomes, while defending his actions declaring that some procedures, e.g. to exclude missings, are common in his field. The Erasmus University Rotterdam has asked for the retraction of two of Smeesters' recent papers published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. As Stapel, Smeesters has worked at Tilburg University and led high-profile studies, but these fraudulent cases appear to be unrelated.
Mart Bax, Professor in anthropology, retired from the Free University in Amsterdam in 2002. He made up data for at least 61 papers, and invented awards and other parts of his CV, according to a university investigation. The university began investigating Bax’s work after science journalist Frank van Kolfschooten published Ontspoorde Wetenschap (“Derailed science”). In that book, van Kolfschooten raised questions about Bax’s work into an alleged massacre at Medjugorje during the Bosnian War. Amsterdam, the capital city of Holland, seemed almost proud to have a fraud case more fully exposed than the other Dutch universities.