Retractions, errors, fraud, and fake journals

Talk | PhD in Cognitive Science
17 May 2022
Start time 
11:00 am
Palazzo Piomarta - Corso Bettini 84, Rovereto
Room 7
Target audience: 
University community
Reservation required
Registration deadline: 
13 May 2022, 12:00


  • Paul van der Vet

Scientific Coordinator: Massimo Zancanaro


One of the hallmarks of science is its capacity for self-correction. Errors, it is held, are sooner or later corrected because other scientists raise issues and notice discrepancies. In this lecture I will look at sources of error and methods to correct the scientific record, the retraction prominently among them. There is a continuum between simple error, on the one hand, and outright fraud, on the other. Also, publishers and editors all play a role in this. One particular case study is presented to inquire what retraction actually means. For example, are retracted papers still cited? I will point out that a few simple measures already make an enormous difference in the way we handle retracted papers.

Short Bio

Paul van der Vet (1948) is a researcher retired from the University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands. He has a background in chemistry and philosophy of science. At the University of Twente he did research and lectured in the Computer Science Department. His interests include knowledge representation and ontologies, natural-language understanding, and human-computer interaction. Near the end of his career he became interested in applying his experience and skills in the field of bioinformatics, leading to a part-time affiliation at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He has been heavily involved in education.

He redesigned the Bachelor course Artificial Intelligence and he set up the two Master courses, Knowledge Representation and Information Retrieval. Both Master courses have also been given at the University of Osnabrück for an international Master Programme. He played an active part in the group that set up the highly succesful Bachelor Programme Creative Technology. He co-ordinated the Dutch contribution to the EIT Master Programme Human-Computer Interaction and Design, in which the University of Trento is also involved. He now likes to talk about the growing gap between science and society, and he studies Italian literature.