Jonathan Pruitt hasn’t gone away yet?


Please, can we think of the spiders?

I think there are a heck of a lot of good scientists who deserve to be displayed in a big photo in the pages of Nature. Can he please be retired to a well-deserved obscurity now?

At least this article seems rather more focused on the foot-dragging by university administrators and the deep harm he has done to collaborators.

After more than two years of allegations over data irregularities in his publications, Jonathan Pruitt, a behavioural ecologist and rising star in the field of spider behaviour, resigned from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, in July. The resignation marks a turning point in a painful saga — but Pruitt’s former lab members and collaborators told Nature that they want more closure, as they continue to deal with the fallout. Aside from the time wasted on studies that are now retracted, they have struggled with the stigma of being associated with alleged misconduct and have found it difficult to once again trust co-workers and collaborators.

The university concluded an investigation into the matter in late 2021 but has not released its outcome, and revealed last month that it had reached a confidential settlement with Pruitt.

For those who have spent years combing through data to comply with university investigators and talking with journal editors about retractions, this resolution is particularly unsatisfying, says Kate Laskowski, a behavioural ecologist at the University of California, Davis, who collaborated with Pruitt on several projects. Since allegations of data fabrication emerged in early 2020, at least 13 of Pruitt’s papers have been retracted, and 6 others have been labelled with expressions of concern.

Note the “confidential settlement” and the “more than two years of allegations” — this has been agonizingly drawn out over years without a clear resolution. McMaster University lawyers and administrators were clearly more interested in concealing malfeasance than in little things like “research integrity”. And then there are all these people like Laskowski left twisting in the wind…I would say that this is no blot on her career at all, but rather a huge red flag about McMaster’s management.

Unfortunately, Pruitt has landed on his feet and is now teaching at Tampa Catholic High School in Florida. I know, it’s Florida, so standards are pretty low there already, but I wouldn’t want a fraud teaching my kids. The way things are going, he’s more likely to be punished for being gay than for faking data.

Oh, and this is timely: you’ve heard of RateMyProfessor? Now there’s a version to RateYourCampusAdmin.

Are you tired of having little voice over the decisions on your campus?

Are you concerned about the spiraling costs of senior administration?

Do you think accountability is a two-way street?

We believe in the power of symmetry and transparency, of open evaluation, for and by faculty. At RateYourCampusAdmin.com, you will have the power to evaluate the performance of the senior administrators on your campus, through a thoroughly researched, robust means for aggregating expert opinions about the quality of the service they deliver to your community.

Turnabout is fair play. It’s little more than the promise of delivering a little accountability at this point, with only a few names in the database, but give them time, it could grow.

Comments

  1. Matt G says

    We at Tampa Catholic are pleased to welcome professor Pruitt, fabricator of data and perpetrator of fraud, to our faculty!

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Florida is an excellent choice. He can get a job at DeSantis, making up stuff about scool textbooks c8ntainung CTR.
    -The governor let his spokesperson quote a hacked, corrupted web site for examples of textbook questions.
    This would be an ideal job for a charlatan, like a serial killer working for the mafia as a hitman.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    If Hitler could temporarily overlook the orientation of Röhm, the head of SA, I am sure Ron DeSantis can overlook that detail.
    Yes, I did go full Godwin. DeSantis is incompatible with subtlery.

  4. says

    Pruitt … is now teaching at Tampa Catholic High School in Florida.

    Oh yeah, a guy who was quietly shoved out a college’s back door for SCIENTIFIC FRAUD is just what the Catholic school system needs to burnish their reputation. Did they check his past job performance before hiring him, or was hiding his history part of that “confidential settlement”?

  5. yoav says

    The editorial from this week Scienc
    TL;DR: The idea is to break the retraction process in two, first will be determination regarding is the data valid or not than once the unreliable papers have been retracted the process of determining who is responsible and was it a case of incompetence or a deliberate manipulation can take place without delay in correcting the scientific record.

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