FvD researchers candid about integrity complaint against Leo Lucassen

news | by Frans van Hest

25 July 2022 | According to the National Commission on Scientific Integrity, Leo Lucasin, a professor of immigration history, is not guilty of a violation of scientific integrity. A group of researchers filed a complaint in response to an opinion in de Volkskrant. The Kuwait News Agency (KNAW) previously rejected the complaint.

Photo: Leo Lucasin (Leiden University).

Before the parliamentary elections in March 2021, Jan van de Beek, Hans Rodenburg, Joop Hartog and Gerrit Krever announced the search for a “welfare state without borders”. The Renaissance Institute, the scientific office of the Democracy Forum, among others funded the research. Researchers were seconded to the UvA for access to CBS numbers. They concluded that immigration has cost the Dutch government 400 billion euros in the past 25 years and that another 600 billion euros will be added in the next two decades. Researchers have proposed to severely reduce immigration and reduce asylum immigration by 90 percent.

Xenophobic views of Baudet and his followers

Days after this study was published, Leo Lucasin – professor of migration history at Leiden University and director of the KNAW Institute – wrote – opinion article In de Volkskrant, the report was heavily criticized. According to Lucasin, the report’s conclusions are far from the truth and are mainly aimed at “legitimizing the xenophobic views of Baudette and his followers.”

Professor Leiden’s view did not mesh well with the FvD researchers. They found it particularly bad and incorrect that Lucasin describes the publication as “unscientific and politically motivated.” They feel that their reputation has been damaged because of this.

It’s basically an opinion piece

This is why they have submitted a complaint about a scientific integrity violation to the Committee on Scientific Integrity (CWI) of Leiden University and KNAW. The CWIs of Leiden University and KNAW addressed the complaint and concluded that this view did not fall under the Scientific Integrity Act. They stated that the contribution is only a (brief) reaction to the Migration Report and above all it is an opinion piece which does not aim merely to explain a particular topic, as is customary in popular scholarly works.

Therefore, CWI at KNAW and Leiden University are of the view 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 dealt with.

The CWI also states that immigration is a topic that has been discussed for decades. Not only in science, but also in politics and within society. The controversy is highly emotional and polarized, resulting in heated debates between supporters and opponents.

long-running controversy

In the opinion of the CWIs, the complaint cannot be viewed separately from the long-running debate between FvD and Lucasin researchers over immigration. The fact that the report was co-financed by the FvD Scientific Bureau and that it was published prior to the March 17, 2021 House of Representatives elections was taken into account in the CWI decision. He believes the complaint is unfounded.

The researchers were not satisfied with this decision and turned to the National Authority for Scientific Integrity (LOWI). They partially came to a different conclusion, according to the latest online report published statement.

LOWI agrees with the complainants and says an opinion in the paper falls under the Scientific Integrity Act. “LOWI considers the contribution to fall within the scope of the Code of Conduct,” the body wrote. “Moreover, in the contribution, the data subject not only used scientific arguments to defend his position, but also mentioned his scientific functions in his contribution.”

This is not about integrity

According to LOWI, this is a scientific debate and there is no violation of the rules of scientific integrity. LOWI adds that he is not responsible for adjudicating the scientific debate. In LOWI’s view, the content of the petitioners’ request has so much to do with scientific integrity as with opposing positions in a scientific debate.”

LOWI endorses the position of the KNAW Board that the controversies are part of the science and that criticism of Lucassen’s contribution therefore belongs to a scientific debate rather than to complaints 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.

Do not violate scientific integrity

The fact that Professor Leiden mentions politics in his opinion of the report cannot be considered, in LOWI’s opinion, a violation of scientific integrity, but as a consequence of the content and context of the report and the contributing nature of the report: an opinion in a newspaper.

For example, LOWI came to the conclusion that there was no violation of scientific integrity and therefore the complaint is unfounded.

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