Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest contribution. Isaac Schumann on Eastbrook

Guest contribution by Isaac Schumann.

In his blog entry Steve Eastbrook does a very good job at explaining the public's misunderstandings of the scientific process and of peer review in general. It is an unusually honest description of the way many scientists feel and, I think, would be good for non-scientists to read. However, I would see this as a counter argument to Werner's Easterposting; that dialogue with the public is a two way street, both sides should learn something about the other. Professor Eastbrook calls this “naive” and “irresponsible”, science will always be incomprehensible to the layman. He concludes that the media, politicians and business leaders must be more "responsible" when communicating science to the public.

In any event, the candor of the essay is in the spirit of a more honest and open dialogue, and Professor Eastrook should be commended for putting these views out for the public to discuss.

Thank you for your consideration.


Zajko said...

More via Monbiot

Anonymous said...

What a truly depressing post!
And how different from the normal respectful tone of Die Klimazwiebel.
Easterbrook is arrogant, disrespectful of non-scientists, and not informed about the history of the FOI debacle.

Jonas B1

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jonas.
I could hardly get past the falsehood in the first sentence "the worst that can be said about the CRU emails is that the scientists sometimes come across as rude or dismissive, and say things in the emails that really aren’t very nice."
In fact anyone reading the emails sees that they hide data that doesn't fit their theories, refuse to release data, and try to get papers they disagree with rejected and/or not included in IPCC reports.

"Most career academics have large egos and very thick skins." this may be true of Easterbrook and some of the climate scientists but it is not true of most of us.

"This kind of blunt rudeness is common in private emails" - again Easterbrook can speak for himself.

isaacschumann said...

I also disagree with much of what Eastbrook says, especially concerning FOI and his general dismissal of non-scientists. I chose this piece for its honesty, you would not know that he held these views if he had not put them out there. Many other scientists feel this way as well(not me personally), so I felt it was relevant.

In comparison to the 'honest broker' paradigm, I think this can be seen as the 'business as usual' approach, scientists do the science, the public butts out, and the media/politicians regurgitate it to them in a "responsible" manner. I think it will lead to more of the same.

I meant no disrespect in posting this, I would rather have scientists talk in this honest manner than make boilerplate statements about objectivity and peer review. If you asked the realclimate/climateprogress authors whether ego influenced their science, what kind of answer do you think you would get?

Hans von Storch said...

Isaac, I thought it very useful to read Eastbrooks opinion. I find it hard to believe that someone holds consciusly such a position, but he is at least authentic. -- Hans

klee12 said...

The article is less about climate scientists than how science may be conducted. Easterbrook seems to imply that the scientific practices at CRU were the norm in science. It is not the norm ( see this ) and asserting that it is not helpful to science in general and climate science in particular.


eduardo said...

I would perhaps agree that the issue of the request of data based on the Freedom of Information Act could have been be perceived as something at least strange, and that for the public in general it is this the most troubling aspect. But from my limited contact with colleagues from other branches of science, this is not the most damaging aspect. It is the attempt to pervert the peer review process what they find most worrying. I think that credibility of climate science is not only damaged for the public opinion, which perhaps could be explained by a targeted conspiracy, but also in the view of the other scientific disciplines

Günter Heß said...

Eastbrook shows that scientists have as many lame excuses for poor behaviour than any other human community. It only shows that scientists are of course not an elite or different from other people as Eastbrook suggest in his blog. I am a scientist myself and think it pays off for any scientists to pay respect to lay persons and their opinions. In the most areas we are lay persons ourselves.
Respect means per example not to use words and labels like "denialists" as one encounters in blogs from climate scientists.
I personally like the respect and the tone in "The Klimazwiebel"
Günter Heß

Anonymous said...

eduardo wrote"I would perhaps agree that the issue of the request of data based on the Freedom of Information Act could have been be perceived as something at least strange"

Phil Jones seemed to indicate they were reluctant to cooperate with releasing code as early as Jan 21, '05. (See this this email ) I think many, if not most, of the FOIA requests came after 2005.

To see the context of some of the CRU emails consider this history of a FOIA request . This is not good scientific behavior.


Anonymous said...

It seems the last link in my previous post did not work. It should be




Chuckles said...

Thank you Isaac for posting this, and thank you commentators so far, for restoring my faith in scientists. Truly, it is time to remove science from academia in some parts of the world if this is an example of the worldview.

It is one of the most depressingly narcissistic, self-centred commentaries I have ever seen. Even more depressing is the approval and adulation it is receiving in many journals in North America.

_Flin_ said...

It amazes me that nobody seems to remember that the mails were private, not meant for publication. It is a difference how one talks to a well known person or colleague in a trustful conversation and another thing how one talks in public.

Raising the impression that commenting about other people, and doing so maybe in a rude way, is never done by anyone in private E-Mails seems hypocritical to me.

Scientists are scientists because they do good research. Not because they win a lot of votes due to their superior abilities to spin every topic.

@Anonymous: Getting a callsign is easy. Just choose Name/URL, write your name and post.

@Günther Heß: But "Warmist" and "Alarmist" is ok?

_Flin_ said...

And a last thought to add:

Does the fact that Gauss was arrogant, disrespectful of other people, moody, snooty and thought everyone else was unbelievably dumb change the fact that he was one of the greatest scientists ever?

Not a single bit.

Sven Türpe said...


I'd prefer faith in science over faith in scientists. Humans are fallible and scientists are humans. Science as a process and social system organizes fallible, arrogant, selfish humans in such a way that they, as a system, have higher chances of producing useful results than they have of producing crap. Most successful social systems are organized this way, compare for instance free market vs. centrally planned economy. The latter usually comes with political ideologies that require or expect people to change, which is the reason why they fail. The former accepts man as greedy as he usually is, and turns this greed into something useful. Science achieves the same in a different field, turning the self-interest of fallible humans into something useful. If faith in scientists was necessary, something was seriously broken.

Werner Krauss said...

I think Steve Easterbrook's contribution is highly valuable. It gives indeed a wonderful insight into the process how science sometimes still works.

Mr. Easterbrook uses in almost every sentence the small word 'we', which means the group of 'big men' that control science. He shows very openly how this 'we' group comes into being: those who don't play their game, are avoided at conferences; the very same people by accident control the tenure process and peer review. That means, you won't publish and you won't get a job if you are one of those with 'thin skin'. No cognac for you with the guys.

But there is an easy way out: just do something to be respected and preferably be liked (listen, female post-doc!) by those seniors who have power over your career. You don't want to argue with them, do you? And you better don't challenge their theories, or else you might miss an important career milestone.

This reads like a perfect description of an old-boys network. Inside, they exclude rigorously with psycho-terror and control of the career milestones, and they protect each other even in the case of fraud (parts of their publications written by post-docs); to the outside, they use their white coats as a shield against the self-acclaimed experts.
This is how a cartel forms; in politics, in science, in other forms of (predominately male) organizations.

Or did I misunderstand something?

Werner Krauss said...

Issac Schumann suggested that Steve Easterbrooks' post contradicts my Easterpost (ooops, lots of Easter here). I just read some posts on Steve's really interesting blog
and I think he corrected himself; he considers it useful and possible to talk to lay people.
In my Easterpost, I had something different in mind when I talked about the two-way-street: it is not only about explaining people how science works; it is about the co-production of scientists and 'people' of an environment that we can safely inhabit. To do so, we need maybe a completely different science culture from the one that Steve described in his post. I think he even would agree?

Günter Heß said...

Poor behaviour is poor behaviour. So you just added two lame excuses.
So „Alarmist“ and „warmiest“ are also labels that I would object to.
Labeling people is poor behavior. What else?
One can understand it, of course we all are human beings making mistakes, but excusing it is not necessary.

Günter Heß said...

One more comment to the term "private email".
If I write an email from my work account at work I need to be aware that this email account is not privat. Any email that is related to my job belongs also to my employer and is usually taped. Private communication is tolerated, but not necessarily allowed. So the Cru emails were not all private, some were payed by the tax payer. However, publishing them is wrong.

Anonymous said...


Do you imply that since Gauss was arrogant, it's OK that Easterbrook is arrogant too?

I find it counterproductive, if a scientist in a public debate is arrogant. Whether he is a brilliant scientist or not, is beside the point.

May I also submit that my experience is that arrogant people tend to be less than brilliant.

Jonas B1

Marco said...


Does that include the apparent perversion of the peer review process by certain 'skeptics' ?

And do they provide evidence of what they perceive as "perversion"? Or is it merely the well-oiled disinformation campaign making people *believe* it is "perverted"?

Marco said...

@Günter Hess:

Do you perhaps have a better word than "denialist" for people who deny a large body of scientific literature, largely for ideological reasons (although mostly not admitted as such) ?

Skeptic is not the right word for someone who dismisses a large number of papers, and then runs after the odd one out.

Werner Krauss said...

good scientists don't have to be nice persons, for sure. But here we talk about university and professors. Their job is research, but also administration and teaching. Imagine you are a grad student or a post-doc; your genius professor decides that you are one of those with 'thin skin' - well, that's it. What does 'thin skin' mean? Maybe you do not share his opinion? Maybe he doesn't like your style? Maybe you refuse to contribute to his already unbelievable publication record?
Genius lets you down whenever he wants to. You are a genius yourself? It doesn't help without the infrastructure of knowledge, that is, access to peer-review and getting tenure. Nobody will listen to you.
The problem is the control of knowledge; some time ago, Hans von Storch talked of the 'cartels' in climate science that try to control knowledge. Cartel or not, science is not something that is produced in an empty space. This is something we can learn from Steve's post, too.

eduardo said...

@ 9,

'To see the context of some of the CRU emails consider this history of a FOIA request . This is not good scientific behavior.'

I am not saying that not sharing data was a good scientific behaviour. But I do say that until very recently there wasnt a culture in climate science of sharing data, and even now it is in some areas (e.g. paleoclimate) to get data from other groups.

So my view is that data have should be shared, but we still need an accepted protocol for data sharing in climate science.

In this particular issue, however, I also think that Jones evidently didnt want to share the data with some persons, but I am not convinced either that all the FOI requests were motivated by scientific reasons. In this discussion the data became mostly a political football.

eduardo said...

@ 20

I am not sure what you exactly are referring to. in which did the skeptics pervert the peer review processes? I think they are not reviewers not editors. Perhaps you mean that 'bad' papers by the skeptics got published? well, sure we see recent examples even now, but we also see incorrect papers being published all the time.
However, this is different to collude to scupper papers on purpose, and not only those papers that are deemed wrong, but also those that are seen as a contradiction to their own work, and therefore also dangerous. Here they confused the 'grand interest' of science, which they were purportedly defending, with their own interests.
I think this is what other colleagues may see. The link provided by klee in comment 6 agrees quite closely with my experience

eduardo said...

In Easterbrook's debate with Monbiot I found particularly one paragraph distrubing:

'The normal practice is for other labs to get hold of the raw data independently and do their own reconstructions. So when someone comes along demanding the data, because they want to find flaws in work that’s already been thoroughly replicated elsewhere, and is known to be sound, well, they’re just timewasters.'

He seems to think that an analysis can be replicated and therefore settled for ever. I think he is very wrong here. There is not time limit to scrutinize any theory or analysis. One good example is Newton's theory of gravitation, proved to be incomplete (or wrong, as you prefer) 250 years later.

klee12 said...

Marco @20 wrote "And do they provide evidence of what they perceive as "perversion" (of the peer review procedures)" .

If a journal receives an article for publication, I would consider it a perversion of the procecedures if an interested party tried to influence the editor and/or the reviewers. There seems to be several documented instances that one side of debate perverted the system. See

1. Douglass and Cristy

2. McLean, Freitas, and Carter

3. Ross McKitrick and see also remarks by Pielke Sr.

I have not found any documented instances when a "skeptic" tried to influence editors or reviewers in judging a paper. I would be just as outraged if I did. Whether the paper is garbage or not is beside the point. The point is that procedures are important.



Marco said...

I'd say Soon&Baliunas is a good example of perversion of the peer review process. I'd also say that Energy&Environment (as a whole) is a good example of perversion of the peer review process. The latter actually tout Beck's article on historical CO2 levels as their most heavily reviewed paper.

I'd even call Gerlich & Tscheuschner's attack on the greenhouse effect a perversion of the peer review process. Wrong articles is one issue, obvious political opinion pieces is another. And we also all know that sometimes good papers get rejected for good reasons (however much we ourselves disagree with reasons like "not enough space").

In the e-mails I actually see very little perversion of the peer review process, but rather indignation with the sometimes poor peer review procedures maintained by some journals/editors.

Marco said...

I think you do not understand what Easterbrook is actually indicating: a scientific analysis is strengthened if someone does the analysis themself, *including* getting the data from the *original* sources. Just getting data and checking all periods and commas is OK, but *not* if your only goal is to loudly proclaim any error as "fraud", or as something that invalidates everything. And you know as well as I do that this is what is happening in climate science. How many times have we seen the "final nail in the coffin of AGW!"-remark ?

The example of Newton's theory of gravitation is a rather strange one. With the data at that time, his theory held up quite well, with some exceptions (especially Mercury's trajectory). Many looked at the same data and came to the same conclusions. The discrepancy was not solved until Einstein had his great idea. But that idea did not come from Einstein getting data from certain researchers, looking at how they handled the raw data and checking any and all calculations that they had done.

Marco said...

People contact Editors all the time. You give a few nice examples (but forget the rebuttals / other side of the story), so let's go through them.

1. Douglass et al wrote a paper that got rejected at GRL. Santer was one of the reviewers, and already pointed to various of the issues that were nonetheless repeated in their IJoC submission. Santer et al then wrote a paper that both criticised Douglass et al *and* contained a lot of new analysis. It is only normal that Santer et al wanted to make sure the paper was treated as an original submission, rather than a comment. Thus, they contacted the Editor. This is normal procedure!
That the *Editor* decided to withhold the Douglass et al paper in the PRINT edition (note that it already was freely available online at the journal homepage) is not to be blamed on Santer et al. However, it most likely was related to Fred Singer already touting it (even before online publication) as "the final nail in the coffin of AGW". As a journal Editor, I'd be very unhappy with people making such large claims, especially when somebody later points to serious errors in that paper. Perversion of the peer review system? Yes, by Singer, for making it political right away.

2. MdfC: people talk to each other during conferences. Many people are (associate) Editors of journals. Sometimes the talk is about bad papers. Here, someone talked to a JGR Editor, and apparently the Editor agreed that a comment would be warranted. Nothing special here. In fact, I myself, and I know many others, often contact Editors to see if they are willing(!) to publish a comment. Not all Editors are enthousiastic when papers in their journal are criticised, in particular when the flaws are so obvious. It means someone did not do their job...
The comment was ultimately published. The reply was not. Why? Because MdFC just repeated their false claims in their reply, without acknowledging or rebutting any of the errors being pointed out! Ask yourself why MdFC cherry pick from the reviewers' comments (complaint about the tone of the comment, but not note that the same reviewer considered the original paper one of the worst papers ever). Also ask yourself why they used THREE reviewers, instead of the normal single reviewer for the comment. Oh, and here also we have a good example of politicising a paper: Carter et al, before publication, already touted the paper as..."nature, not man, responsible for global warming".

3. The final judgement on the McKitrick story will have to wait until it is actually published to see if it holds up to proper standards (but see also my comment to Eduardo: plenty of papers with few negative comments are rejected). I'm not holding my breath. McKitrick previously claimed a degree/radian error had little effect on the analysis ( cut the proclaimed effect of economic activity in half), and he's misrepresented the IPCC (see for a rather good summary of McKitrick's questionable complaint)

Oh, and the funniest thing about the whole McKitrick story? He contacted an editor of JASA, and complained about what happened at other journals. The Editor then pointed him to a new journal who would be interested in this type of paper...

What did you say again about perversion of the peer review process by influencing editors? Can I assume you now are outraged at McKitrick for influencing an editor?

eduardo said...

@ 27
I have changed the names to A,B and C

Can I ask you something in CONFIDENCE - don't email around,especially not to A and B here. Have you reviewed any papers recently for Science that say that MBH98 and MJ03 have underestimated variability in the millennial record - from models or from some low-freq proxy data. Just a yes or no will do. B is reviewing them - I want to make sure he takes my comments on board, but he wants to be squeaky clean with discussing them with others. So forget this email when you reply.

C is B's boss. I think this is a pretty clear example of C attempting to influence reviewer B, who doesnt want to be 'influenced'. Eventually both papers got published, that is true, and it says quite a lot about B. Both papers say nothing about future warming, both just showed that the Hockey-Stick reconstruction could be wrong.

So do you think t is appropriate to try to influence reviewers only because those papers contradict one's own work? It seems also clear that C knew his behaviour was not appropriate.

_Flin_ said...

@Günther Heß: Of course poor behaviour is poor behaviour. And poor science or good science is something different. Just because some scientists behave poorly doesn't change the science.

@Jonas: Personally I prefer it if people are nice, humorous, gentle, understanding etc. Most scientists are probably judged by their work, not by their character. Getting sponsorship money might be something else, though. So is being voted for.

Marco said...

I think the inappropriate issue started when B apparently told C about the critical papers (including general content) and that he was reviewing them. I think any human being would be hard pressed not to want to get their 2 cents in when hearing they are being attacked.

Note that I also consider it inappropriate if such critical papers are not sent to at least one of the authors of the papers being criticised. It appears this was not done, although it is impossible to see Mann's answer or any further discussion. The mails are somewhat selective...

eduardo said...

@ Marco,

an interesting way of reasoning indeed.

'attacked'? C only knew the papers contained results that contradicted some other previous papers. is that an 'attack' ? The hockey-stick also contradicted previous ideas. was that also an attack on someone ?

if you thing that that justifies an attempt to influence a reviewer, well I can only say we have very different standards

klee12 said...


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

1. Why couldn't Santer write a comment and write a paper for publication later, like most people would. That's what I would have done in his shoes. Lots of garbage gets written and it is sorted out later. Why didn't Santer let the editor and reviewers do their job they are supposed to. If I asked the editor to hold up a paper until I finished mine the editor would probably ignore me (I'm not associated with CRU). How would you like it if you had a paper held up because someone thought it was garbage and wanted to publish a correction within a paper?

2. Re the McFC paper, thought that suddenly having the editor replaced was suspicious. Five possible referees for the comment was known to Phil Jones from the Climategate email and that was suspicious. Finally 3 referees rejected McFC's reply to the comment about the paper. I thought that suspicious. There are other points in the paper I felt less strongly about.

3. Re the McKitrick paper, he wrote "I was now confronted with a journal that had solicited two reviews, blocked one reviewer (Roger Pielke Sr) before he could reply, received a positive response from the other reviewer, and then rejected the paper on the grounds that they could not publish every paper they receive." To see what he was talking about see bottom of page 15 and page 16. I couldn't believe it. In the link in my post (26) I listed a link where Roger Pielke Sr wrote "His (McKitrick) experience is not an extreme example, but is illustrative of the experience that I and a number of my colleagues have experienced with respect to the submission of research papers and scientific research proposals."

The blame for these deplorable instances lies with some scientists in CRU and the Journals involved, IMHO. IMHO they have harmed the public's trust in science.



Marco said...

In essence we're both stabbing in the dark, since we do not know how B presented the manuscripts to C.

We also do not know what type of "influencing" had been going. It appears to me that "influencing" was Jones explaining to B what they had done. The horror!

Marco said...

1. Eh? MANY papers contain criticisms of other papers, without being considered (or submitted as) a comment.
Santer et al have every right to consider their work so substantial that they'd want it to be a stand-alone paper and let the Editor know so. I don't see any influencing of reviewers at all (who, notably, would likely not be asked to see if it was a comment or a stand-alone paper!).

Moreover, Santer et al did NOT ask that publication of Douglass et al was put on hold! In fact, it wasn't: it was published online already. The claim by Douglass and Christy is not backed by any evidence, and is yet more evidence of the blatant distortion of the hacked e-mails.

2. Editor replacement is (or at least should be) *normal* when a critical comment to a paper is submitted: it indicates that something may have gone wrong in the review process. Moreover, you are misrepresenting the CRU mails: when you submit a paper/comment, you are asked(!) to provide the names(!) of 5 potential(!) reviewers. That's what Jones did, as per the journal policy!
Personally I am not surprised the three reviewers rejected the reply: it simply did not answer nor acknowledge the criticism. You simply do not get to repeat your nonsense unless you prove the comment wrong.

3. Here we have to rely on McKitrick's and Pielke Sr's comments. I have little faith in either being fully accurate. For example, I'm still waiting for Pielke Sr. to explain why he believes Menne et al should have offered the person who accused them of cooking the books to be a co-author.
Fact also remains McKitrick complained to an Editor of JASA, who then recommend his new journal. You were outraged at Santer contacting an editorial board member, so why not with McKitrick?

eduardo said...

Marco, I think you are trying here to spin the story beyond the reasonable limit.

-B is an expert in climate reconstructions, so C doesnt need to explain to B what the papers are about.
-The reviewers in Nature and Science chose to send the manuscripts to him for review, and not to C . So the manuscripts are none of C's businnes.

-B is not willing to comment the manuscripts with C, but C , being B's boss, will make sure B includes his comments.

-C is pretty aware that his behavior should not be known to others

To be honest I really do not see how you can interpret this in a different way. Of course you are free of your own interpretation, but dont be surprised that other people, without being part of a well-oiled campaign, do not share your view .

eduardo said...

Concerning the McFLC paper, I also think it is wrong.

But I see that the whole process can be now interpreted, or spined, as censorship. We need some new mechanisms for these cases to avoid the impression of conspiracy. For instance, one could think of publishing McFC's response on-line tagged as rejected if the authors agree. Or publish the response along with the reviewers comments.

ghost said...

Yes, you can spin everything, if you want to. But, should editors of scientific journals think about this crap? You, Richard Tol, prof von Storch have been saying the complete opposite in this blog and in other places. Sorry, if their response does not meet scientific standards, then it cannot be published. The authors can put their response unpublished on their homepage and on the homepage of a lobbying think tank, and we can get a picture. BUT: that is their private thing.

However, the worst part is, that the authors lied, illustrated here:
For me, selective quotation for distorting the actual meaning is a lie. de Freitas played also a part in the Soon & Baliunas scandal, right? Well, well,...

ghost said...

PS: I hope my first sentence of the previous is not misleading... I do not mean, Eduardo is spinning anything. One can spin everything, if this person or organization wants to. And McLean et al did it in a really cheap way. But, I really do not think, they should get therefore a better treatment than real scientists. In no way.

Maybe, a good way would be open reviews like in EGU journals. I always enjoy reading these reviews. I am a lay person, and it is fun to see the review process.

Günter Heß said...


Labeling people is wrong. There is of course no better word, since there is no good word at all. Scientific discusssion is about arguments not about politics, camps or people. If someone wants to use such labels for people, for my opinion, he should stay away from a scientific discussion.
Germany has also in science a history, wherin labels have been used about the science of Einstein and others.
I think we should learn from this history and not labeling people..
But everybody can choose for his own. We have a free country. But offering excuses for labeling people is futile in my eyes.
Best regards

Marco said...

OK, let's say the manuscripts are none of C's business. Then *why* did B inform C of the content manuscript he was reviewing? Also, there is no evidence, as you seem to suggest, that C was trying to get B to reject the manuscript. We simply lack a whole load of context and additional information.

Oh, and I am not part of a well-oiled campaign. I am an individual, who just happens to have an opinion.

Marco said...

@Eduardo: yes, let's use even *more* pages on political issues. It's bad enough JGR used (expensive!) pages for bad science, and had to use more pages to publish a comment. Now also publish the non-responsive reply and perhaps even the reviewer comments? This means *actual* science is being held back for political reasons...I'm not a fan!

I realise you refer to online publication, but this means the paper version differs from the online version in a significant way. That will not be appreciated by many people.

eduardo said...

@ 43,

Actually, I have no strong opinion on this. I was suggesting an option not only for the McFC paper, but for more general cases: if authors feel the reviews are unfair they could have the right their manuscript to be shown on-line only ( not 'published') together with the reviews, under some link like 'rejected manuscripts'

I think this would also be beneficial in the present case. You and I may be able to evaluate by ourselves the manuscript; others may want to know why it was rejected, not because they are McL fans, but to have the whole story. I think that if those reviews were made public it would be much more difficult to spin. So in this case I would be rather on your side, but I think that transparency is a better solution on the long-term .

Marco said...

But where does it stop? Should a journal keep an open repository online of all rejected papers, along with reviewer comments?

There are thousands of papers being submitted every day to journals. Many are rejected, and in many cases people will consider the reviewer comments either unfair or not serious enough to warrant rejection (interestingly, MdFC don't discuss the reviewer comments to their reply...). I regularly talk to an Editor of a top journal in my field, and he notes that they sometime have to reject up to 75%, of which a significant number due to lack of publication space (limit to total number of pages). "Transparency" would require all those papers to be under such a link, giving VERY long lists that no commercial publisher would ever be willing to maintain. The only real upside I see is that you can check whether a paper had been submitted to another journal, read the reviewer comments, and see if (and how) they were taken into account.

Also, if it's all about "us" evaluating the manuscript, why not just publish anything and everything without peer review? The whole problem is to put a line somewhere: only if there's accusations of politics? I would expect it to become a common excuse to demand publication. Upon which others, at least in climate science, will take it further and claim the criticism is debunked, and loudly proclaim as much to the lay audience, who is *not* able to see this is false.

It's a no-win situation. And I think that if you read the MdFC reply that you will agree it does not properly address the criticism of Foster et al, and thus is not worthy of publication from a scientific point of view. From a political point of view it doesn't matter: it is going to be spinned no matter what.

eduardo said...

@ 45
the on-line open-review journals of the European Geophysical Union do exactly that. For instance Climate of the Past. You can read all manuscripts together with their reviews and comments by others. They have two categories Climate of the Past Discussions, where all manuscripts are welcome, and Climate of the Past, where only the accepted manuscripts appear. There are many others for other areas and so far it works fairly well

klee12 said...


As I said earlier, I we have to agree to disagree. Let me make a couple of final points.

1. Many scientists, some of them supporters of AGW, disapprove of the actions of some at CRU and some editors regarding handling of submitted papers.

2. There are additional letters in the CRU emails that suggest, at least to me and others, behavior similar to the three cases I cited.

3. I would like to amend my definition of perversion of the review process. It is proper for a person submitting a paper to advocate his own paper. It is improper to influence the editors and reviewers handling of other papers in a negative way.



Marco said...

Appearances can be deceiving.

At least I am glad you now take Santer et al off the hook (nothing improper or negative there), as well as Foster et al (no negative influencing of Editor or reviewer there) and the whole kerfuffle around the McKittrick issue (no evidence of negative influencing of Editor or reviewers).