Earlier this year the radio was buzzing with a new study from Holland that said if people have messy streets then when tested afterwards they tend to racially and socially stereotype people more. I see a lot of this type of research as dubious at best but this one really seemed absolute nonsense and wondered why it got as far as a serious study on something so thoroughly meaningless.
Today on the BBC they announced after all the hype three of the professor's students investigated further and found he'd made the whole lot up, which he freely admitted, saying the system was so easy then it was pretty much their fault for allowing it. Clearly not the slightest bit sorry about what he'd done, much like the burglar this week who blamed his victim for leaving a window open and living in a rough area.
The story itself is a travesty of science, but what worried me far more was the fact the professor said how easy it was to do, no one checked his data and turned out he simply said he was doing surveys on his own and sat down and wrote the results. It was not ever checked or even calculated as the figures didn't add up and some were copied from elsewhere. The students became suspicious as a few figures hadn't been hidden thoroughly enough to look innocent and as soon as they checked realised it was impossible to get the numbers from the survey sample.
The reporter said psychological studies were taken on trust and the original data was usually kept private, even from the peer reviewers, as a matter of professional practice. I am yet to discover the fate of the professor and whether the Dutch authorities will change their system or not now it's been shown as so easy to abuse.
If one can do it and get caught by chance, could he be unique? I wouldn't have thought so- this one was dean of the faculty so had absolutely no need to advance his career further and had already got that far possibly via similar routes. You don't become dishonest overnight I tend to find. believe it or not