Just before the general election in March 2021, Jan van de Beek, Hans Roodenburg, Joop Hartog and Gerrit Kreffer published the research ‘Borderless welfare state’. The Renaissance Institute, the scientific bureau of the Forum for Democracy, funded the research among other things. The researchers were seconded to UvA to gain access to CBS figures. They concluded that migration has cost the Dutch government €400 billion in the past 25 years, and that another €600 billion will be added in the next two decades. The researchers suggested severely restricting migration and reducing asylum migration by 90 percent.
Xenophobic views of Baudet and his followers
The day after the publication of this study, Leo Lucassen – professor of migration history at Leiden University and director of the KNAW Institute International Institute of Social History – wrote an opinion piece in the Volkskrant in which he strongly criticized the report. According to Lucassen, the report’s conclusions were far from the truth and aimed mainly “to legitimize the xenophobic views of Baudet and his followers.”
This statement by the Leiden professor did not go down well with the FvD researchers. They find it particularly bad and incorrect that Lucassen qualifies the publication as ‘unscientific and politically motivated’. They feel that their reputation has been damaged by this.
It is mainly an opinion piece
Therefore, they filed a complaint about the violation of scientific integrity to the Scientific Integrity Committee (CWI) of Leiden University and the KNAW. The CWIs of Leiden University and KNAW jointly examined the complaint and came to the conclusion that this statement does not fall within the Code of Scientific Integrity. They stated that the contribution is only a (brief) reaction to the migration report and, above all, that it is an opinion article that does not aim to simply interpret a specific topic, as is usual with popular science works.
The CWIs from KNAW and Leiden University are therefore of the opinion that the behavior complained of does not fall within the scope of the code of conduct and that the substance of the complaint will not be addressed.
The CWIs further state that migration is an issue that has been debated for decades. Not only in science, but also in politics and in society. The debate is regularly emotional and highly polarized, leading to heated discussions between supporters and opponents.
In the opinion of the CWIs, the complaint cannot be seen separately from a long-standing dispute between the FvD researchers and Lucassen about migration. The fact that the report was co-financed by the FvD’s scientific bureau and that it was published just before the election to the House of Representatives on 17 March 2021 is taken into account in the CWI’s decision, believes that the complaint is unfounded.
The researchers were not satisfied with this decision and approached the National Agency for Scientific Integrity (LOWI). They partly come to a different conclusion, according to the recently published judgment.
LOWI agrees with the complaints and says that a statement in the paper falls under the Code of Scientific Integrity. “LOWI is of the opinion that the contribution falls within the scope of the code of conduct,” writes the body. “Furthermore, in the contribution, the registrant not only used scientific arguments to defend his position, but he also indicated his scientific functions in his contribution.”
This is not about integrity
According to LOWI, however, this is a scientific debate, and there is no violation of the rules for scientific integrity. “LOWI adds that it is not responsible for adjudicating scientific controversies. In LOWI’s view, the content of the petitioners’ request concerns not so much scientific integrity as conflicting positions in a scientific debate.”
LOWI agrees with the Academy Board’s position that controversies are part of science, and that criticism of Lucassen’s contribution therefore belongs in a scientific debate and not in a complaint procedure about scientific integrity. This does not change the fact that Lucassen argues in de Volkskrant that a number of things in the report are incorrect in his opinion.
No violation of scientific integrity
The fact that the Leiden professor mentions politics in his statement about the report cannot, in LOWI’s view, be seen as a violation of scientific integrity, but as a consequence of the content and context of the report and the nature of the report. the contribution: an opinion in a newspaper.
For example, LOWI has concluded that there has been no violation of scientific integrity and that the complaint is therefore unfounded.