Friday, January 17, 2014

Recognising a pattern

The pattern goes something like this: climate sceptic can't publish their nonsense in any real journal under normal peer review condition. CS attains editorship of journal. CS invites his pals to submit their nonsense, they all "review" each other's papers, and recommend them for publication. CS claims that new peer-reviewed research casts doubt on climate change, or words to that effect. Journal reputation goes down the pan. Exhibit A, Climate Research. Exhibit B, Energy and Environment.
Let's now examine Exhibit C: "Pattern recognition in Physics, an open-access journal". Editor Niels-Axel Mörner, check. Authors and reviewers Scafetta, Tattersall, Jelbring, etc, check. "Pattern recognition in Physics, an ex-journal", check.

Kudos to Copernicus for the rapid and decisive way in which they dealt with this problem. The problems at the journal were was first brought to my attention by ThingsBreak just last night, I emailed various people to express my concerns and the journal (which was already under close scrutiny by the publisher) was closed down within 24h. Compare and contrast with the Climate Research farce.


Anonymous said...

Hi James,
Maybe a it early to start crowing?
It seems Martin Rasmussen may have had second thoughts, the homepage which carried his statement about closure is no longer visible and redirects to the page where our special edition is linked. All papers are still freely downloadable as of now.


Rog Tallbloke

JohnMashey said...

Way to go James.

Hopefully, they will keep the articles posted for a while,as there is good data there, although more for social scientists.

Maurizio Morabito said...

If there is a pattern about it why would this be Exhibit A??

Anonymous said...

James, you seem to be attracted to censorship in a rather unhealthy manner. Shades of Connelly.

William M. Connolley said...

> censorship

Little anon, you know not of what you speak. Try

TLITB said...

You've got to love climate science when you see episodes like this.

I think it is safe to say that in no other science do you see such overt power games played out like this.

"If there is a pattern about it why would this be Exhibit A?"


It is clear that it is not just the retraction of a publication that is of primary importance here, it is the spin that comes off that retraction that is most important.

"Pour encourager les autres"

Since the ostensible reason given in the letter was that the publishers were "alarmed" at criticism of the IPCC it is obvious the lesson an observer should take is that any attempt to go out on a limb and "alarm" people must be shown to be wrong and is not to be encouraged.

You guys in climate must be so proud to have the best policed science that humanity has ever seen. ;)

James Annan said...


Thanks for the suggestion, I hope the revised post makes it clearer.

Rog, I don't particularly expect the papers to be retracted (though I suppose that is possible), my issue is with Copernicus supporting such a journal, giving it a veneer of respectability. Clearly, they share my concerns, and the matter seems closed.

Swingtobop said...

17 years ...

Swingtobop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnMashey said...

I would hate for these papers to be retracted. There is terrific data there for social scientists and those of us who study such things.
know of Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003".

That was much more subtle, because it had one editor doing this,and only really over-reached with Soon&Baliunas. The problem was even more pervasive than expressed by Jones & co at the time.

You also might to add <a href=",</a> which came out the door with a not -so-good piece by Akasofu.

EliRabett said...

FWIW John left an l out after the htm, must be a plant from Microsoft. The link is here

But wait, here is more, a rather tamsinonian cri de cour from the editor in chief about how a fondness for climate science can be acquired at the breakfast table and soured by people who actually hold folk accountable for hi-jinks. Of course that was in reaction to a calling out of her judgement in selecting a lead article for her new journal.

Good times!

Anonymous said...

James should read this and repent for his Connelleyistic tendencies.

Brad Keyes said...

Are there still people on the planet who think, or at least pretend to think, CSs believe in an unchanging climate? Could such an infantile strawman still survive in anybody's imagination, or at least their rhetoric, in 2014?

Apparently so.

"CS claims that new peer-reviewed research casts doubt on climate change, or words to that effect."

Show us the words to that effect.

James Annan said...

Ah, Godwinated already. Bye, and thanks for playing.

Brad Keyes said...

"Ah, Godwinated already. Bye, and thanks for playing."

What are you, 12 years old?

Even if Godwin's Law wasn't a joke (and you do realize it's NOT ACTUALLY A LAW, right?), so what? It may surprise you to discover that the article referred to was about German anti-Semitism sensu lato, which did NOT begin and end with Adolf Hitler. Not by a long shot. Secondly, the lazy, incurious and morally crass dismissal of the entire topic of multiple centuries of German inhumanity towards her Ashkenazi minority isn't even licensed by your beloved pseudo-law! Not even by climate-science standards of deductive rigor.

Unless you know something we don't, Mike Godwin hasn't said you could WIN AN ARGUMENT just by catching someone else in the act of mentioning a historical reality that (for reasons best known to yourself) you'd rather not hear about.

And even if he had, who died and made him Chancellor?

Anonymous said...

"Ah, Godwinated already. Bye, and thanks for playing.

19/1/14 2:09 pm"

In this case the shoe fits nicely.

Anonymous said...

Can you post the email you sent to the publisher?

Anonymous said...

James, take a look. Consider these points as you sharpen your skills as the Great Inquisitor, or simply as a fill-in for censor-maniac, Connelley.

Carrick said...

Watts weighed in too.

The high degree of cronyism (not nepotism which is a different thing) exhibited in the publication of this special edition is not excusable and reasonable grounds for termination of this journal by its publisher.

In a comment I made (that is in moderation on Watts blog) in response to a comment by Paul Matthews, I said:

We’ve always been careful to get independent reviewers. I wouldn’t have been difficult here either, since there are certainly many people who are competent to review these papers.

Just look at the papers referenced for each article, pick first authors from each of those papers that are not also publishing articles in this special issue. Not very hard.

My guess is the real problem is few of the papers from that special issue were publishable, and had they opened up the reviews to a larger segment of the community, few or none of them would have been recommended for publication.

Rasmussen seems to have made it clear that already accepted papers will continue to be available., which I think is the appropriate thing to do here, too.

JohnMashey said...

Climastrology papers could; be submitted to Journal of Scientific Exploration, which often publishes papers on planetary effects, such as An Empirical Study of Some Astrological Factors in Relation to Dog Behaviour Differences by Statistical Analysis and Compared with Human Characteristics(2007).
JSE has a David Deming article on The Hum, although it is a different Hum than the one in PRiP.

There is thus a long queue of papers awaiting refutation by anyone who cares, so PRiP papers should await their turn. Sadly, there is a lack of people willign and able to take on this task.

James Annan said...

The fact that Watts finds plenty to criticise on the editorial side is pretty conclusive IMO. The combination of astrology and pal review is too much even for him.

Brad Keyes said...



It seems the point of Mike Godwin's meme is that,

"I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler or to Nazis to think a bit harder about the Holocaust."

Of course, you may have managed never to bump into that information in the last 24 years. It's not like the quote comes from the article you linked to!

On second thoughts, you probably just misread it as:

"I wanted folks to glibly avoid thinking, reading or hearing about Hitler or Nazis or the Holocaust."

...which is Close Enough For Climate Work, right?

Carrick said...

James: The fact that Watts finds plenty to criticise on the editorial side is pretty conclusive IMO.

My feelings too. Anthony has been sympathetic to Rog Tallbloke in the past, so one certainly can't accuse Anthony of having an ax to grind here.

Some pretty grown up comments on that thread, IMO.

Brandon Shollenberger said...

Since we're asked to compare this to the "Climate Research farce," can someone explain to me just what the farce in the "Climate Research farce" was? I've read the EoS article supposedly rebutting the Soon and Baliunas paper a number of times, and I don't get it. It raised three main issues.

1) S&B used precipitation proxies without ascertaining their sensitivity to temperature. The original hockey stick used 11 instrumental precipitation series as temperature proxies. Many reconstructions since have used precipitation proxies as temperature proxies, ranging from Moberg 2005 to the more recent Christiansen & Ljungqvist reconstructions (C&L even acknowledged this when I e-mailed them). This criticism of S&B could be applied to the majority of temperature reconstructions that are happily accepted.

2) S&B was criticized because its proxies lacked the resolution necessary to say whether late 20th century warming was anomalous. The same could be said of almost any major temperature reconstruction since. Most glaringly, Marcott et al was said to show recent temperatures are anomalous in ten thousand years, yet the authors admitted their reconstruction lacked resolution at 200 year scales. I saw no outrage from scientists about this.

3) S&B was criticized for using regional information as though it were global without checking to see if the patterns they found corresponded to each other. That's just a weaker version of the criticisms skeptics have applied to every temperature reconstruction. They say a small number of regional proxies are given undue weight and most of the proxies used don't show anything resembling a hockey stick. It's even been admitted in at least two cases (MBH98, Mann 2008). Again, scientists didn't speak up.

So just what was the "Climate Research farce"? As far as I can see, Soon and Baliunas were criticized for things that are common practice. The only "farce" I can see is the people flipping out were completely hypocritical and did it only because they didn't like certain results.

Unknown said...

You destroyed a whole journal and you're justifying it by quoting Anthony Watts?

Anonymous said...

Need better trolls.

Anonymous said...

" You destroyed a whole journal and you're justifying it by quoting Anthony Watts?"

What do expect. James is a technocrat, a bureaucrat, and a carboncrat who has been living off the public his whole life. He'd starve to death if he had to make a living from his work output in a free world.

Brad Keyes said...

OpenID jblblog said...

" Need better trolls."

Don't kid yourself. What you need is billy-goats with both the balls and the brains to take back the bridge, one headbutt at a time. Or we'll continue to make cashmere socks and kid gloves of your "defenders"... one butthead at a time.

Alain_Co said...

Is there any critical paper that criticize the heretic paper ?

If cold fusion, the official voodoo science, get industrial this year, you will know you are wrong.

For climate it is not easy to make something industrial with climate realism, so denial of reality can last a century.

Good luck to explain that to your children.

An Inside Trader. I don't like playing without knowing the end. ;-)

Mal Adapted said...

Brad Keyes: "Or we'll continue to make cashmere socks and kid gloves of your "defenders"... one butthead at a time."

Eppur si riscalda.

EliRabett said...

The truly amazing thing is that the clowns actually took you seriously. Eli bows in awe

James Annan said...

jbl is winning the thread so far.

Anonymous said...

If your concerns were so primarily about the reputation of someone else's journal, and of science's, you'd post the emails you wrote to your colleagues. They would support your contentions.

James Annan said...

nigguraths, can you clarify exactly what about my email might hypothetically support or refute your conspiracy theories? I'm having a lot of fun watching people defend the astrology and numerology.

Carrick said...

Shub, I'm puzzled why we need to see any person's emails here?

Almost nobody self-identifying as a skeptic is embracing this debacle. The science is terrible, but somehow the editorial process managed to be even worse.

So again, what would seeing emails accomplish?

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy? Dr Annan, I've been writing about climate stuff for about 4 years now. You've got to come up with better stuff than that.

Among like-mineded people, it is easy to get cascades of indignation going in email chains. I don't know what information Thingsbreak presented to you and how it was framed. But if you wrote several emails to your colleagues and things happened quickly in a span of 24-48 hours, it is quite likely little thinking and reflection went into these messages. Just as it is with blogs, it is often the outrage and the chest-thumping that gets amplified in such circumstances.

From what I can/could tell, from your blog persona, I didn't figure you to be someone who would go out your way carrying out hits on authors, papers, or even whole journals. So I figured maybe you only expressed your protest. Or, maybe I am wrong, and you actually wrote emails in much more strongly worded terms, which along with your colleagues' emails precipitated the journal's demise.

So, that's the reason. I have no desire to see the emails themselves. They belong to you. Your word would be good enough too. Censorship of the kind the editor carried out is unusual and extreme even if 'skeptics' are just roadkill and trash to you. For what it's worth, you are an influential and prominent climate scientist and so I would assume are your colleagues.

James Annan said...

Wow. 4 years of actually writing about climate stuff. I am gobsmacked atyour awesomeness. Next you'll be telling you once met an IPCC Expert Reviewer.

Steve Reynolds said...

Willis shows the R. J. Salvador paper from this issue to be just curve fitting with 20 tunable parameters (including ones that adjust the values of orbital periods).

JohnMashey said...

But James, another part of the pattern appears as PRP is being "saved" by one who lives not too Far North of you. Scroll to end of that post to see the mockup cover of the resurrected journal. I see a pattern of some kind there.

JohnMashey said...

Oops, "being saved" was supposed to be a link to this Monckton post.

Brad Keyes said...

John Mashey:

" I see a pattern of some kind there. "

This is the great gift you bring to the climate cause, John: your knack for spotting hush-hush connections, well-covered trails and under-the-table collusions which the rest of us would otherwise have missed completely, or dismissed as mundane and innocent coincidences. With your sleuthing skills and the various talents the rest of us have been invested with, we'll keep keeping the bastards honest. No orchestrated, coordinated campaign against the science can hope to stay secret for long.

James Annan said...

Brilliant! The potty peer has entered the fray. It is just as the global conspiracy had hoped. Now the journal will forever be remembered as a vanity publishing project by a bunch of nutters, rather than an attempt at a genuine scientific journal.

Susan Anderson said...

Comments here would make a study for some shrink. I think the price for absolute absence of content goes to Drug Maven, but he has paid me the compliment of saying I'm in a "class by myself".

Meanwhile, awaiting fascinating developments as the self-promoter in chief (Monckton), who makes quite a lot of money promoting some rather fascinating misknowledge, takes over.

PeteB said...

I think the Monckton post would be rejected by 'Denial Depot' as a too obvious parody

JohnMashey said...

As I recall,the House of Lords objected to his claims of being a member, and asked him to stop using a logo almost identical to that of the House. Monckton's response was to make the chains wiggly.

My wife has some obsolete British coins that has the House logo on the back. Maybe Monckton can revive them with his new logo by issuing his own currency. His logo at upper left on cover may not visually match the pattern of psychedelic spins, but perhaps logically fits.

EliRabett said...

Pete B wins the INTENETS

Don Brooks said...

Compare Monckton's version to the House of Lords insignia.

As others have noted the main differences are that in Mr. Monkcton's version, the chains are totally unhinged and there's an empty space under the crown.

Carrick said...

The only reason Chris Monckton is allowed into the debate is for the humor and entertainment value. He does the best "I'm a complete twat" British Aristocrat impression I've seen, outside of Monty Python anyway.

Here's a better comparison

The caption:
Left: the House of Lords insignia. Right: Viscount Monckton's insignia. Monckton's is clearly completely original and not mimicking the Lords insignia in any way.

This is from The Rational Wiki.

Thank you Chris, you lighten my day.

Hank Roberts said...

You should link an appropriate sound file behind Monckton's "chain rattling" alteration of the House logo. Here's one such:

Hank Roberts said...

Also from the same page:

"When I recently co-authored a paper with professor Fred Singer on the consequences of chaos theory for the predictability of global warming, the editor of Energy & Environment, one of the few journals to allow skeptical science an airing, ordered my name to be taken off the paper ..."

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