In 2017, a complaint was filed against a former RSM professor for an alleged breach of scientific integrity. The alleged infringement concerned the report: 'Wederzijds Profijt, de strategische waarde van de Top 100 concernhoofdkantoren voor Nederland en van Nederland voor deze Top 100' (2009) and (follow-up) articles.
After an internal legal procedure at the Committee Scientific Integrity (CWI) of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) (2018), the Netherlands Board on Research Integrity (LOWI) (2019) and a newly established CWI EUR (2019), the LOWI finally issued its advice on the substance of this complaint on March 3th 2021. The Executive Board of the EUR has adopted the advice of the LOWI.
"This matter has been very carefully investigated by various committees and therefore we have decided to adopt the final advice of the LOWI. We have informed all those directly involved of our decision and draw lessons from the advice for the future. We consider this matter closed," says Rector Magnificus Frank van der Duijn Schouten.
The complaint was declared partially founded
The final verdict of the Executive Board is as follows:
That the complaint be declared well-founded insofar as it concerns (1) the lack of transparency regarding the identity of the financiers of the research in the report "Wederzijds Profijt" commissioned by VNO-NCW in 2009 and (2) the failure to mention that some of the data in the (follow-up) articles originated from commissioned research. For the remaining part, the complaint was declared unfounded.
The Executive Board qualifies the infringement as culpably negligent with regard to the failure to mention external financiers (members of VNO-NCW) and as negligent with regard to the re-use of data without mentioning the source.
No infringement of scientific integrity
In addition to the above conclusions, the LOWI has established that not mentioning external financiers is not so serious that it qualifies as a violation of scientific integrity. The LOWI considered it important that intent could not be demonstrated because the documents show that it was not clear to the former RSM professor and fellow researchers from the outset that the research would be financed by other companies.