McMaster puts professor on paid leave after investigation into 'serious concerns'

McMaster University has placed a professor accused of academic fraud on paid leave.The university confirmed it has completed an investigation after “a series of concerns” were raised about Jonathan Pruitt, a behavioural ecologist and holder of a prestigious Canada 150 Research Chair. Pruitt has been accused of manipulating research data and has seen at least three academic research papers retracted by scientific journals.The university would not speak to the nature of the complaints but did say they were of a “most serious matter” and were investigated “through the university’s policies, including McMaster’s Research Integrity Policy.” The paid leave was imposed last week.The Spectator has reached out to Pruitt but has not yet heard back. Meanwhile, it also appears Pruitt’s doctoral dissertation has been withdrawn.A note on a University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s webpage states his doctoral dissertation — Sociality in the Spider Anelosimus studiosus: Behavioral Correlates and Adaptive Consequences — has been “withdrawn.” Pruitt completed his graduate studies at the school.The university, however, would not confirm the dissertation was withdrawn.“The University of Tennessee is committed to integrity in all of its research endeavors, including student work,” said spokesperson Tyra Haag in an email. “The university is prohibited from disclosing student information, including the presence or absence of a research integrity investigation, based on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).”McMaster said it is aware of the note saying his paper has been withdrawn.McMaster would not speak to the findings of its investigation and said the process to determine next steps is still ongoing.McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth said Pruitt's students “are being notified and supported through the transition to a new instructor” who could be in place as early as this week.More to come ...Katrina Clarke is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach her via email: katrinaclarke@thespec.com

McMaster puts professor on paid leave after investigation into 'serious concerns'

McMaster University has placed a professor accused of academic fraud on paid leave.

The university confirmed it has completed an investigation after “a series of concerns” were raised about Jonathan Pruitt, a behavioural ecologist and holder of a prestigious Canada 150 Research Chair. Pruitt has been accused of manipulating research data and has seen at least three academic research papers retracted by scientific journals.

The university would not speak to the nature of the complaints but did say they were of a “most serious matter” and were investigated “through the university’s policies, including McMaster’s Research Integrity Policy.”

The paid leave was imposed last week.

The Spectator has reached out to Pruitt but has not yet heard back.

Meanwhile, it also appears Pruitt’s doctoral dissertation has been withdrawn.

A note on a University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s webpage states his doctoral dissertation — Sociality in the Spider Anelosimus studiosus: Behavioral Correlates and Adaptive Consequences — has been “withdrawn.” Pruitt completed his graduate studies at the school.

The university, however, would not confirm the dissertation was withdrawn.

“The University of Tennessee is committed to integrity in all of its research endeavors, including student work,” said spokesperson Tyra Haag in an email. “The university is prohibited from disclosing student information, including the presence or absence of a research integrity investigation, based on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).”

McMaster said it is aware of the note saying his paper has been withdrawn.

McMaster would not speak to the findings of its investigation and said the process to determine next steps is still ongoing.

McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth said Pruitt's students “are being notified and supported through the transition to a new instructor” who could be in place as early as this week.

More to come ...

Katrina Clarke is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach her via email: katrinaclarke@thespec.com