#pruittdata latest (and last?): Jonathan Pruitt resigns from McMaster University (UPDATEDx2)

Science news article here.

In the unlikely event that you have no idea what this is about, start here and say goodbye to your day.

I may blog about this later, or maybe not.

UPDATE: Nature has a new piece on the ongoing consequences of the Pruitt case for Pruitt’s trainees and collaborators. The linked piece illustrates that institutional investigations of scientific misconduct and other bad behavior aren’t designed to give closure to the main victims of misconduct (here, Pruitt’s current and former trainees and collaborators). I wish I had good ideas about how to change that, but I don’t. The piece also contains a bit of news that’s surprising to me–McMaster is going to continue the formal hearing process that surely would’ve resulted in Pruitt being fired, even though Pruitt has already resigned. The linked piece also has some new details on Pruitt himself, in case you care (personally, I don’t). Apparently he’s a high school science teacher at a Catholic school in Florida now. If you feel the urge to joke sarcastically about what he’ll do if he catches a student cheating on a test, well, you’re not alone. And, hilariously, Nature claims that it’s still investigating Pruitt’s Nature paper. That paper has yet to be retracted (it carries an expression of concern), despite overwhelming evidence of data fabrication. Yeah, sure you’re still investigating. /end update

UPDATE #2: To my mild but pleasant surprise*, Nature just retracted Pruitt’s paper. Better late than never. But come on, Nature, what did you know about that paper yesterday that you didn’t know, like, two years ago? I know the Nature editors are busy and all, but so are the editors at many other journals, and they found time to retract Pruitt’s fake papers ages ago.

On another note, can’t resist quoting this bit of comedy gold from the retraction notice: “Jonathan N. Pruitt disagrees with this retraction.”

I’m mildly surprised because, not all that long ago, Robert Trivers had to go to extraordinary lengths to get Nature to retract a fraudulent paper on which Trivers himself was one of the authors. Pruitt’s co-author Charles Goodnight passed away soon after the #pruittdata scandal broke, and so wasn’t able to request retraction. So Nature doesn’t like retracting papers, even when they’re obviously fake and a co-author has requested retraction. Hence my surprise that Nature would retract an obviously fake paper without any of the authors requesting the retraction. /end update #2

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