Nick DiRienzo has the news:
Nick’s screenshot is of this page of the University of Tennessee doctoral dissertation repository, known as TRACE. Note that you can’t find that page by searching the repository. A repository search on Pruitt’s name doesn’t find his dissertation, though it does find numerous others from the same lab. I found it by following the link from the EBSCO listing for Pruitt’s dissertation.
It’s not clear when the dissertation was withdrawn from the repository. The linked page doesn’t say, and I got no joy when I tried to figure out when the page was last modified.
I’m also not clear on the implications of this. I kind of doubt it means that Tennessee has officially rescinded Pruitt’s PhD, though I’m just guessing on that. On the other hand, it’s certainly not a vote of confidence from Tennessee in the integrity and validity of Pruitt’s dissertation research, is it? It sure would be nice to have some transparency from Tennessee on exactly what action they’ve taken and why, and whether there are any further actions pending.
UPDATE: Here’s the Tennessee repository’s official policies. The policy on withdrawal of materials says:
TRACE is meant to be a permanent scholarly record (working papers may be an exception). Once an item is deposited, a citation to it will always remain. Removing content is discouraged. However, authors may request the community manager to remove an item, except for peer-review series and journals, where removal is not allowed. No files will be removed by the TRACE administrator or community managers without author notification. If a contributor leaves the University, the material will remain in TRACE; upon request, new contact information will be added to the files.
So I guess it’s possible that the dissertation was removed from the depository at Pruitt’s request? Or that it was removed at the request of someone else and that Pruitt was notified?
UPDATE #2: Retraction Watch has a story on this. No new info, except for one small tidbit of questionable relevance: Pruitt’s Twitter bio now says he’s based in rural Florida, even though his department webpage at McMaster University is still live and he’s still listed in the department faculty listing. Not sure what to make of this, but it probably doesn’t mean anything. He’s listed as the instructor for Comparative Social Evolution during the F 2021 term, and the course is being taught virtually rather than in person, so it might just mean that he’s teaching remotely? (go here, open a search, search on subject “PSYCH” and the exact course number 3SE3) Or maybe he’s not even in rural Florida, who knows. I don’t really see how it’s relevant in any case. /end update #2
UPDATE #3: CBC News reports that, according to a UTennessee spokesperson, Pruitt still holds his PhD. /end update #3
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