De eerste ‘retraction watch’ coverage van de Nijkamp-case…
The Dutch papers are reporting that Peter Nijkamp, one of the leading economists in The Netherlands, has been embroiled in what looks like a self-plagiarism scandal following the cancellation of a thesis defense by one of his graduate students because of plagiarism.
We say “what looks like” because it’s tough to figure out what’s alleged here, given our reliance on translations. Best we can tell, the allegations against his graduate student are for plagiarism, while those against Nijkamp are for duplication, a.k.a. self-plagiarism.
According to the Google translation of this piece in our friends at the Volkskrant:
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Reblogged from my comment at retraction watch: Kourtit’s retracted thesis consists of 15 chapters whose titles and as far as I can see content mainly duplicate papers written by herself always together with her PhD supervisor Peter Nijkamp and usually together with other authors. (Possibly the introduction and conclusion are “original”). And as has been mentioned, many of these papers are recycled versions or upgrades of earlier ones. This in itself is not the problem. The problem is that there is not the slightest mention *anywhere* in the thesis that this is the case. The closest we get is the long list of “publications” “by” the author at the end of the thesis, and the huge list of people she worked with at the beginning (thanks to Mum and friends …).
Now in first instance a Dutch PhD thesis is a submission to an examination committee, so we should not call it actually a *publication* (though Dutch theses are published in the normal way along with ISBN etc!).
The PhD supervisor plays a powerful role in the examination committee, is not called “promotor” for nothing.
We know that the thesis examination was called off one day before the event by the dean of the faculty, which means that a big stack of rather expensively printed books had to be recycled (and not in the usual way these authors recycle their work). The university told the candidate to rewrite the thesis and to find a new “promotor”.
There is no way the reading committee / examination committee could know whose work they were evaluating. It is a scandal that the reading committee itself had already approved the defence. The “promotor” is of course very influential (and nominated the members of the committee).
Now I get to my point: I think the PhD supervisor is responsible when this kind of disaster befalls his student/protege. Kourtit has learnt publication practices from Nijkamp and this has possibly destroyed her academic career. He is to blame.
This is what Karima Kourtit writes about herself, with Peter Nijkamp:
Karima Kourtit is researcher at the Department of Spatial Economics at the VU University Amsterdam. Her main research interests cover entrepreneurship, ethnic migration, innovation, geographic location and spatial clustering of industries including the spatial distribution of firms, cultural heritage, and sustainable regional and urban development. In recent years she has focused her research in particular on new qualitative and quantitative methods for business and policy analysis, as well as on spatial-behavioural analysis of economic agents. She also plays an active role in several national and international scientific networks and professional associations. From 2009 she has served as a member of the management board and now is appointed as a supportive scientific advisor of the scientific advisory board of the Joint Programming Urban Europe and of various Dutch ministries. Karima Kourtit is leader and expert of various international research projects related to sustainable diversity, environmental impact of cultural heritage, and complex space-economy of sustainable urban development. In all these fields she has published books and numerous articles.
Klik om toegang te krijgen tot V7SP2.Editorial.pdf
(editorial to a special issue of Romanian Journal of Regional Science)
In *all* these fields she has published *books*?
It is true that several times she was one of the editors of the proceedings of a conference. Every time, several of the conference papers are by several of the editors of the proceedings. The eBook is generally sold by Springer for about 100 Euro.