Friends in high places

German psychologist Jens Förster, who has been accused of data fabrication, shares his room (GAFO 03/919) at Bochum University with Jürgen Margraf -  the president of the "German Society for Psychology" (DGPs), the association of German research psychologists. Margraf is not only the German "Chief Psychologist" but also a  a winner of the Humboldt award, the highest and most prestigious science price in Germany.

Förster himself had been awarded this price and was supposed to start his Humboldt professorship in Bochum when news broke about the fabricated data. Although the Humboldt Foundation then suspended the professorship (this matter will be deliberated again in October), Förster was bestowed with a temporary psychology professorship in Bochum nonetheless. The Humboldt Foundation insists it was not involved in this decision and does not contribute to Förster's salary.

German psychologist Professor Joachim Funke from Heidelberg University has this to say about this coincidence: "Honi soit qui mal y pense ... And who will be giving orientation to our young scientists?  Which research practices will students learn there?"  He is also puzzled by the fact that the German Society for Psychology is completely silent about the Jens Förster case.

In fact, the DGPs still post an uncritical Laudatio for Jens Förster at one of its web pages that does not mention the latest developments.  From 21. to 25. September of this year, the DGPs will hold its ambitious congress, under the motto  "diversity of psychology" - at Bochum University.

As to the accusations against Förster, there is now a broad consensus among experts that the data in the infamous paper were fabricated or manipulated. Blogger Neuroskeptic nicely summarized the matter: "Also, it’s one thing to say that the data is fraudulent; it’s another thing to say that a particular person is responsible. I am not saying anything about the latter issue. Förster in his most recent statement said that “I can not exclude the possibility that the data has been manipulated by someone [else] involved in the data collection or data processing.” This possibility is certainly open."

Jens Förster could be more convincing if he would show more enthusiasm in pursuing this lead...

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