The Dutch universities’ association, VSNU, has published a new code of conduct aimed at preventing scientific fraud – but it already has some vocal critics who say it’s “a missed opportunity”.
Under the new code, universities will be able to warn each other if one of their researchers is found guilty of plagiarism or fraud – which should prevent errant researchers being able to switch jobs without their new employers knowing about their misdeeds.
It also means there will be one single set of regulations for all Dutch universities laying out how to deal with complaints of fraud – whereas previously each university had its own way of dealing with the issue, some more or less public than others.
The code was drawn up after the controversy surrounding Tilburg University social psychology professor, Diekerik Stapel, who was suspended last year, pending further investigation, for allegedly fabricating and manipulating data for at least 30 publications.
The VSNU responded by saying the new code could not cater for every eventuality.
‘When rules are broken, the new regulations will be applied – and this will be done on a case by case basis’, a spokesman said.