A case of widespread scientific fraud appears to have been uncovered in the world of behavioural ecology, as a researcher is accused of data manipulation in numerous papers about the lives of social spiders.As Nature News puts it,A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.A detailed and devastating blog post by Kate Laskowski, a former collaborator of Pruitt, appeared three weeks ago that makes clear the seriousness of the problem.Laskowski explains that last year, she was prompted to take another look at a dataset which Pruitt had sent her in 2014, and which was published as a paper in 2016. Close inspection revealed the presence of repeated patterns of values, as illustrated here:The colors (added by Laskowski) show repeated ‘blocks’ of data values in…



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