Truth, integrity and transparency: the upside-down world of Bauke Geersing
Two letters from Bauke Geersing, coordinator of the association of ‘Advocates for the Principles of Academic Integrity – AURORE’, were previously posted on this website. Geersing insisted that all of his subsequent letters should likewise be posted on the programme’s website. This was not done, firstly because the website was not set up to be a discussion platform and secondly because, in his letters, he systematically relied on incorrect assumptions and biased interpretations with respect to everything that was taking place within and in relation to the programme. In short, as we informed Geersing on 14 February 2020, ‘there was no basis for a fruitful exchange of ideas’.
Geersing subsequently continued to distribute letters full of unproven and suggestive allegations against the research and individual researchers for the purpose of having, as he put it in a radio broadcast, the programme stopped.
In his efforts to undermine the academic integrity of individual researchers, this advocate of transparency and integrity systematically resorts to falsehoods, unproven assumptions and personal attacks. Ignoring this constant stream of letters and blog statements would perhaps be the only right response. On the other hand, however, we believe that such crude allegations cannot remain unchallenged, if only because someone might get the impression that they contain a grain of truth.
We therefore consider it important to show how Geersing operates and, to this end, subjected one of his letters to careful fact checking. In the letter in question, which was sent in July 2020, Geersing seeks to show that the research programme is the result of a long-term conspiracy headed by researchers Rémy Limpach (NIMH) and Peter Romijn (NIOD). Geersing alleges that, from 2009, Limpach was a pawn secretly controlled by the NIOD and that all kinds of machinations were used in relation to his doctoral thesis for the purpose of prompting the Dutch government to fund a major follow-up study.
The analysis available here makes the way in which this self-styled defender of academic integrity operates in his campaigns, which can be considered to be defamatory (slander and libel), abundantly clear. The conspiracy theory that Geersing sets out in this letter is based entirely on falsehoods, made-up ‘facts’ and unfounded assumptions and was concocted for a single purpose: to discredit both the academic integrity of the researchers referred to and the research programme as a whole.
It is precisely on this point that we, as the directors of the three institutes involved, believe that a firm line must be drawn. Under no circumstances whatsoever will we allow our employees to be dragged through the mud. We are always willing to engage in debate provided that such debate is based on substantive arguments. We are not prepared to engage in debate with persons and parties that use innuendo.
Gert Oostindie, Director, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV)
Ben Schoenmaker, Director, Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH)
Frank van Vree, Director, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD)
The fact checking of Geersing’s claims in Meerjarenonderzoek Dissertatie Limpach (multi-year study regarding Limpach’s doctoral thesis) can be viewed here (in Dutch).