Sunday, October 10, 2010

Law and order in paleoclimate


Unfortunately, lawyers are again making forays in the realm of climate science, which is distracting to say the least and probably only damaging. It is clearly not helpful.
I am not acquainted with legal terms and definitions and so this post is just an account, from an interested lay person, of my thoughts about two cases that have grabbed my attention in the last days/months. In both cases I have some background knowledge, though probably not complete.


The first one is related to the subpoenas issued by the Virginia General Attorney trying to prod the University of Virginia to deliver a series of older emails of Micheal Mann, based apparently on the reasoning that Mann could have fraudulently applied for public funds to fund his research activities. This case is for me pretty clear and I do not need to add much to what has been already expressed in blogs of different orientations, Roger Pielke Jr. , Climate Audit, and realclimate, among others. Independently of whether or not one agrees with Mann's scientific results or activities, the eventual accusation of fraud appears to me to have no base. I have no reason to doubt that all his research proposals were duly reviewed by peers and approved or rejected by the corresponding funding agencies based on those reviews. One thing is to argue that this or that paper might be not correct and a completely different thing is to accuse someone of fraud on the basis that perhaps he performed an un-centered principal components analysis instead of a centered principal component analysis. This case smacks of being a modern witch-hunt, and it might prove to be a dangerous precedent should the Republicans regain control of the House in November.

In the second case, Edward Wegman, the author of the so called Wegman report on paleoclimate reconstructions published in 2006, would be accused of plagiarism for extended use in that report of passages taken from the book 'Paleoclimatology' by Raymond Bradley. I think the accusation here is exaggerated, in the same way that  the relevance of the Wegman report was also exaggerated at the time of publication. Wegman is a professional statistician and was commissioned by Congressman Barton (Rep.) to review the climate reconstructions of the past millennium published by Mann and co-authors in 1998 and 1999. The report contains a general background part, which I guess was included to help the members of the House committee to better understand the following, more technical parts. It is quite possible that Wegman made heavy use of paleoclimatology text books to prepare this chapter, among which Bradley's book is very well known. It seems that Wegman did not include the citations in place that are commonly used in scientific texts, although Bradley's book appears cited at the end of the report in the literature list. If I had been in Wegman's place I would have included a couple of sentence explaining that, since Wegman himself is not a climate scientist, he had freely used material from this and that book to convey the necessary introduction for the policy makers. Honestly, I do not think this a big deal, and certainly not a cause for litigation - but what is not possible in paleoclimate science these days ?

A much more substantive matter would be to discuss the findings described in the Wegman report itself. The years 2004-2005 were, as far palaeoclimatology is concerned, different from the present time. At that time, the Wegman report, together with the National Research Council  assessment of climate reconstructions over the past 2 thousand years, appeared as quite a novelty , as they kicked-off a public and unbridled discussion about the hockey-stick. However, from today's perspective, the Wegman report appears to me as quite insubstantial, focused on unimportant aspects of the Mann-Bradley-Hughes reconstruction method, and - most worryingly, having been written by a statistician - not mentioning the real problems affecting this and other reconstruction methods, and that have been (re)-discovered later, not by statisticians, but by humble climate scientist. In some sense the Wegman report reminds me of the recent manuscript by McShane and Wyner, more focused on politically sensitive issues that on real scientific ones. In essence, the Wegman report, as the first part of the McShane and Wyner paper, indicated that the un-centered principal component analysis applied to some sets of proxies used by MBH was incorrect, and that it could lead to an artificial 'flattening' of the reconstructed past temperatures. Although this mistake was correctly pointed out, it bears small relevance for paleoclimate reconstructions. The big problems lie elsewhere: in the tendency of virtually all methods to underestimate past variability. This was completely missed by Wegman at that time. Five years later, we - dumb climatologist- are still awaiting  the smart statisticians to enlighten us with the proper method to conduct climate reconstructions.

67 comments:

bigcitylib said...

He also cops whole pages from wiki entries, and a number of books, on social networks. And I mean whole pages, where only a word or two has been changed. Bradley is not the only one who has a case for extended plagiarism. Bradley's publisher is, incidentally, going after Wegman for breach of copyright. Not really "exaggerated" at all.

John Mashey said...

Eduardo:

My report on this is the SSWR PDF at Deep Climate.

Of the Wegman Report's 91 pages:

DC found (eventually) 10 pages of mostly plagiarized text with unacknowledged sources, following George Mason University's own definitions (and a sample of other relevant places),
shown on p.189 of SSWR.

Of those, 3 were from Bradley, but they were the first ones found. In addition, if you look *carefully* are DC's side-by-sides and analysis, they didn't just copy material, they

a) Weakened Bradley's comments, adding "confounding factors"
b) Introduced errors and
c) in at least one case, directly inverted one of his conclusions, on p.4 of DC's side-by-side.

I'm perfectly willing to read an analysis by experts that says, "Bradley says this, but we disagree because...", given the number of honest scientific arguments that are like that. Meaningful arguments = real science.

On the other hand, Said admitted they knew nothing about paleo, and the frequent errors support that. To have such people plagiarize text to it sounds like they understand, but invert conclusions they don't like, with no explanation or evidence, is not right.

In any case, 25 more pages were mostly plagiarism (again, by GMU's own rules), although of identified papers that used mostly cut-and-paste, not good summarization.

You can see how they handle one of your papers on pp.243-244. As I read your paper, you were having a perfectly legitimate, within-science argument about variability with MBH. The WR mostly copied you with minor rewords, but in a few places made some changes that amplified critiques, and in some cases, said more than you had, like changing "limitations" to "validity" or losing qualifiers to change meanings. A few such could be accident ... but this was pervasive in the Summaries.

At least in your case, they did change "we" tot"they," which was not always the case. :-)

I quoted you some in Appendix A.12 on McShane, Wyner. Thanks.

Georg Hoffmann said...

Edu
I think the two cases are different. The first is completely nuts. A attorney general going after a scientists because of data handling? That seems rather invented from Orwell.

Compared to that Wegmanns case seems standard since copyright issues happen from time to time.
If I read examples like the following I can at least understand that editors are interested in that affair.
http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/10/auditing-assessing-climate-change.html
I also can understand Bradley. Being "cited" extensively by someone who on the other hand explains to you in a high tone that you havent really understood your busyness is a bit bold isnt it?

Belette said...

I think Eduardo has misunderstood some of the issues around this: "I do not think this a big deal, and certainly not a cause for litigation" is odd, because there is no litigation - there has been a complaint of plagiarism, and there has been extreme slowness by GMU to investigate. There are hints that Wegman isn't cooperating and is dragging in his lawyers - but that isn't litigation either.

But Georg I think has this right: Wegman was highly critical of Bradley, and purported to know what was going on. That made it difficult for him to pad out his report with honestly-cited material, so he needed to plagiarise it instead. Think how the report would have looked, and read, if it had been done properly.

Your point about it missing the point is interesting, though.

eduardo said...

We agree that we are not judging the quality of the report, but only whether or not this constitutes plagiarism. As I said I am not qualified to discuss this in legal terms, but I would say that plagiarism is a different issue. If Wegman would have copied, even with re-wording, and then had sold that product as an original piece of research or as a book, I would agree that this would constitute plagiarism. But what he did was to write a report to the House of Representatives, which had been commissioned to him by one member of the House. It must have been evident at that time that he was not an expert in climate science, and he would have to retort to copying and re-wording. Apparently he did change some things here and there, and may be he also distorted the original sources. The one that should be cross with him is Barton, because he could have gotten a better report. Or Barton himself could have been smarter and commission the report to a team, and not to just two people with statistical background. But quite probably, Barton got what he wanted to have.

All in all, I think that it is ok to unveil the flaws of the report, as it is happening now, and even analyse side by side the passage that he might have copied. But what would be the point of litigation ? will a court be able to distinguish if Wegman just copied and/or distorted or whether he also contributed with his own analysis and to what extent ? Will a court decision be accepted by all parties as fair? Probably not. As far as I can remember - although I am not completely sure - Wegman was not payed for this report, he was only reimbursed of the incurred expenses, such as photocopies and the like. (Perhaps he photocopied too much :-) So there is no real economic damage, and Bradley's career did not suffer from this, I guess.

'I also can understand Bradley. Being "cited" extensively by someone who on the other hand explains to you in a high tone that you havent really understood your busyness is a bit bold isnt it?

I complete agree. To occupy the moral high ground backlashes sooner or later. I can perfectly understand that Bradley may not be very happy that Wegman used Bradley's own work to stitch up a report critical to MBH. But I think a more intelligent reaction is to expose it openly, not to litigate.

eduardo said...

@ Belette,

Apparently, Wegman has refused to talk about details with journalist about this, because there may be 'some kind of litigation' going on. Sorry, I cannot find the exact source now.

A complain of unacknowledged copying, for instance, exposing the passages that may have been copied, would be, I think, ok.

My opinion is that litigation is just distracting when there is no real damage, just moral hazard, and usually it does not further your point by a lot.

Georg Hoffmann said...

Edu I like very much the part with the reimbursements of copies. So should he pass copy reimbursement to Bradley and then they get even.

"But I think a more intelligent reaction is to expose it openly, not to litigate."

Bradley seems to try to get really really even.

bigcitylib said...

Eli notes the litigation below. Bradley's publisher is going after Wegman for plagiarism and violation of copyright. THEIR lawyers appear to have no doubt that plagiarism is involved. And I'm, sorry this stuff about "exposure" is so much chin music. Wegman ought to be legally handed his ass. Otherwise his ilk won't learn.

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/10/auditing-assessing-climate-change.html

ghost said...

I also think the two cases are different...

Anyway, IMHO the cases, especially the first case, show the problem in climate science/policy: the home US politics. Almost all "skeptics" arguments come directly or over some corners from wingnuts. That is a fact. And so, therefore we have often the fierce answers to it. Even European and Russian think tanks are directly connected to these wingnuts. And that quite stupid political discussion started long before the Hockeystick.

PS: I always liked that Eduardo and others pointed to the real problem of the reconstructions... sorry to see, that you were hit by something like a "collateral damage".

isaacschumann said...

bigcitylib,

Cuccinelli's lawyers are pretty sure they have a case, too. I don't put much stock in the opinions of lawyers on these issues, and I think their increasing involvement in matters of climate science is worrying indeed.

Also, having known of a few people caught plagiarizing in college, none of them were sued by the publishers since no material gain was made (as far as I know, Wegman made no money from this). I am content to let the University he works for handle this matter as would be the case for less high profile infractions. Should every college student who plagiarizes be open to litigation?

P.S. I am not equating the actions of Mann with that of Wegman, very different, yet neither requires legal action.

Anonymous said...

Eduardo is absolutely right in #5 - Wegman is not writing an original piece of research or a book, he is writing a report on the issue of M&M vs MBH. So it is inevitable that there will be a large amount of review material on paleoclimate from Bradley's book. Besides, the book is cited, four times. This is not plagiarism.

The usual activists like Connolley are kicking up a fuss but I think it will backfire by giving the report more publicity, such as its key finding, "Mann's assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis."

bigcitylib said...

It is worth noting that George Mason has moved to an investigation of Wegman's report (ie no longer a merre inquiry). This essentially means:


“An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the alleged conduct falls within the definition of research misconduct under this policy and preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the inquiry indicates that the allegation may have substance,” according to the university’s misconduct policy.

Marco said...

Anonymous #11:
you are mistaken that citing a book is sufficient when you copy large sections of said book. The main problem is also that the book is cited in connection with some tables, and as a kind of "further reading" on one subject. The large sections that were copied almost verbatim are NOT referenced to Bradley. That's poor scholarship, and something that according to GMU guidelines (Wegman's university) constitutes plagiarism. Note that years ago René Diekstra in the Netherlands essentially got away with his plagiarism because a definition was lacking. No such luck for Wegman.

Marco said...

Isaac: it is unclear what the litigation refers to. It may be related to Donald Rapp copying parts of the Wegman report (apparently with Wegman's consent), but Wegman had no right to give that approval, since he copied it from Bradley.

Note that students caught plagiarising, at least at my university, fail their exam and may even be expelled. That's a form of litigation, too...

isaacschumann said...

Marco,

I completely agree, this should be dealt with by George Mason. And from bigcitylib's above post, it seems as if they already are. The students caught plagiarizing at my uni were expelled as well, but not tried in civil court, which is what is happening to Wegman.

ingno said...

This is just silly. If there is any criticism of Wegman's criticism why not come forward with that instead of criticizing the formality of a report? It makes me suspect that there are no relevant arguments against Wegmans criticism:

Stan said...

We have evidence from the files that Mann left accessible on the web that he may have made knowingly false statements or at least highly improper ones. That is, he ran results which he saw blew his "findings" out of the water and didn't acknowledge them.

He and the university are subject to FOIA requests. They have chosen to stonewall some requests. They deserve to have the proper legal authority enforce the law that they have ignored.

Hans von Storch said...

Stan, even if somebody else behaved unethically, this is no excuse for Wegman (or his students) to copy other scientist's text without acknowledging this "copying". The techncial expression for such a practice is "plagiarism".
The problem with the Wegman-Report was that he failed to ask fellow scientists if there may be good causes for some of the "inconsistencies", he believed ot have found. If he had done so, his report would have been much more valuable. A spoiled chance.

steven said...

Bradley's lawyers will have to explain why they decided to go after wegmans report which is covered by the speech and debate clause and not after others who actually published books lifting the same passages from Bradley

Counter suit.

Stan said...

I am referring to the Virginia Atty General's subpoena which is also discussed in this thread. Wegman and plagiarism are irrelevant today, insofar as the state of our knowledge of climate science is concerned. Mann's work has been taken apart by a whole lot of people. Whether or not someone succeeds in impugning Wegman's credibility matters not in the least.

Marco said...

Steven, these are not Bradley's lawyers, they are ELSEVIER's lawyers. Don't think they don't know what they are doing, they've been going after plagiarism for decades. And it appears they ARE going after other books, in particular Donald Rapp's almost verbatim copying of parts of the Wegman report, which, in turn copied from Bradley. Rapp has tried to defend himself noting that Wegman had no problem with this verbatim copying, but that misses the rather important point that Wegman has no right to allow this verbatim copying, as he's not the copyright holder.

John Mashey said...

As revealed in Rapp's post at USA Today, there is a fellow named John Fedor @ Elsevier.
The litigation is copyright.

1) Numerous people have unusual ideas about plagiarism & copyright, seemingly without [doing as I do]:
- reading university policies
- talking to academic experts
- talking to people who often do expert witnessing in legal copyright cases.

2) But Bradley's 3 pages is just a tiny fraction of the plagiarism, as there is serious plagiarism on 35 (of 91)pages, often mixed with distortions might rise to fabrication. I didn't enumerate those, as they are more complex, whereas obvious plagiarism is obvious. Dead horses are dead.

3) The deadliest plagiarism isn't in the WR itself, but in the Said(2008) paper, which re-used plagiarized text from the WR. It sure looks like mis-use of research funds, ack'd to 3 different US government agencies. The DHHS Office of Research Integrity is not good to cross.

4) Actually, the whole report is in essence a fabrication, because the {bibliography, summaries, literature review} quite often contradict the findings .. .and they simply ignore them. Numerous papers tell them, in effect that the 1990 FAR sketch is wrong, but they use it anyway. Worse, they even distort it to add more emphasis to the MWP. They show a table that carefully omits the half of the data that would disagree with them. They write off the Greenhouse Effect & post-industrial temperature rise as "correlation is not causation." In testimony, Wegman says:
"Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don't know. I am not an atmospheric scientist to know that but presumably if the atmospheric--if the carbon dioxide is close to the surface of the Earth, it is not reflecting a lot of infrared back."

All this was promoted as "independent, impartial, expert" work by a team of "eminent statisticians."

Most of the work was done by someone less than 1 year post-PhD plus some grad students.

Anyway, sample the report I wrote. It really, really is worse than I ever would have believed.

fred said...

Does this mean that the conclusions of the Wegman report are now not valid anymore?

ghost said...

@Prof von Storch

you were a witness in front of the congress during the Wegman panel.

You are saying now: the Wegman report was a spoiled chance and criticize Wegman personally and the report scientifically rather harsh.

However, you are talking always about others, but what do you think about your actions five years later? Did you misjudge the intentions of Joe Barton and the GOP? Would you take part in such political hearing again?

Hope, it is not a too personal question. I am just thinking, you changed your official opinion of Wegman, the report, and maybe the hearing quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

It is Mashey who needs a lawyer, in view his serious false accusations, for example above he writes "the whole report is in essence a fabrication". He also falsely accuses McShane and Wyner of fabrication.
He provides no evidence for his claim that most of the report was written by a PhD student, other than his own opinion ("It is not Scott, seems quite unlikely to be Wegman, so the evidence fits Said").
There are various suggestions in the blogsphere that it is Wegman who may considering litigation in response the false defamation by Mashey.

Neven said...

There are various suggestions in the blogsphere that it is Wegman who may considering litigation in response the false defamation by Mashey.

Will he be calling the same Minnesotan law firm that Christopher Monckton did for suing John Abraham?

EliRabett said...

To elaborate a bit on the question of whether this invalidates the conclusions of the Wegman Report, which ones and were they ever valid?

willard said...

> Does this mean that the conclusions of the Wegman report are now not valid anymore?

It seems important to know exactly what exactly are these "conclusions".

For instance, Joe Barton, recently stated in an op-ed that:

> The reality is that the two-day hearing made it clear that Mr. Mann's global warming projections were rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as "consensus" by a closed network of friends. The hearing strengthened science because it was informed by various expert work, including that of the National Research Council, which corroborated our central concerns.

It appears that these central concerns did not include the social-network analysis of his students. As Dr. Gerald North stated:

> Dr. Wegman's criticisms of the statistical methodology in the
papers by Mann et al were consistent with our findings. Our
committee did not consider any social network analyses and we
did not have access to Dr. Wegman's report during our deliberations so we did not have an opportunity to discuss his conclusions. Personally, I was not impressed by the social network analysis in the Wegman report, nor did I agree with most of the report's conclusions on this subject.

Source: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_house_hearings&docid=f:31362.wais

I would suggest that Joe Barton is misrepresenting the "central concerns" of his commission.

Hans von Storch said...

Ghost / 24:
I will accept invitations to hearing by all legitimate parliaments. The US House is a fine democratic parliament, so why not going there?

Did I publicly voice an opinion on Wegman? I do not remember, but would believe I did not.

co2fan said...

There are 2 possible outcomes from this situation:
(As Bishop Hill said:)

1* Wegman et al are guilty of plagiarism; short-centered principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.

OR

2* Wegman et al are not guilty of plagiarism; short-centered principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.

PS
Interresant, der "Hase" tauchte hier auf, und er sprach nicht einmal in der Dritten Person.

Hans von Storch said...

Eduardo an me had a "Comment to 'Hockey sticks, principal components and spurious significance' by S. McIntyre and R. McKitrick", on the issue of AHS = "artificial hockey stick effect" introduced by biased centering in Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L 20701 doi:10.1029/2005GL022753

It reads:
[3] MM05 performed a Monte Carlo study with a series of independent red-noise series; they centered their 1000 year-series relative to the mean of the last 100 years, and
calculated the PCs based on the correlation matrix. It turned out that very often the leading PCs show a hockey stick pattern, even if the data field was by construction free of such structures. This finding was recently confirmed by others. The paradox in the AHS effect is that the true covariance matrix is a unity matrix, so that no real structures will steer the eventual selection of the eigenvectors. However, in the biased centering approach, those time series with largest differences between their 1000–1901 mean and 1902–1980 mean will tend to contribute more strongly to the leading PCs, thus producing an artificial hockey-stick shape.

and later
[7] Our results, derived in the artificial world of an extended historical climate simulation, indicate that the AHS does not have a significant impact but leads only to very minor deviations. We suggest, however, that this biased centering should be in future avoided as it may unnecessarily compromise the final result.

Thus, in the "Wegman"-case the matrix is a unity matrix, but in the real world it is not. In the later case, the AHS effect disappears.

You may have to read the full article.

ghost said...

@Prof von Storch

hm, hm, yes, in your testinomy you had an opinion about the report, you wrote here an opinion, and you had also an opinion about Wegmans behavior here. Why do you always think the Internet will forget? It never forgets. And I like google and I actually read comments. So, you forgot all this like "He [Wegman] mostly tried to use his authority among statisticians to impress NRC and politicians"? Well, I think it is an insult, but you did not say this in front of the congress. Why not? It is a serious charge in a political show like the Barton hearing.

Furthermore, you say the Wegman report and the hearing were a spoiled chance. What did you expect of a political hearing about science issues? And why did you not say this in 2006 in front of the congress and in the media?

Anonymous said...

To Cuccinelli:
Hmmm... nobody is above the law, or?

To Bradley et al.:

(In order of a conceivable overhasty appearance to comment on this blog/post (h/t and ty Georg Hoffmann to bring this up):) Perhaps bigcitylib, John Mashey, Georg Hoffmann, Belette, eduardo, isaacschumann, Marco, Neven, EliRabett and willard have got in some way a wishful thinking about practised science? But as we can see at the Climate Audit Blog, the statistician Steve MCIntyre shows in a relevant post that representing science is often not as simple as we could easily believe. Waiting for some kind of redefined peer review: "Copygate".

Who wants to rest his/her case in this somewhat "paleo normal science"?

namenlos

Laws of Nature said...

Re #31:

Dear von Storch,

McIntyre seems to indicate that the noise level you used in your simulation was too small
http://climateaudit.org/2005/10/04/reply-to-von-storch-and-zorita/
and thus AHS in Mann's data would be relevant.
I would be very interested in your comments on this.

itisi69 said...

To elaborate a bit on the question of whether this invalidates the conclusions of the Wegman Report, which ones and were they ever valid?
Which ones? Well, for starters the ones which Prof North (NAS) confirmed under oath having used pretty much the same? Haven't seen any of the AGW pitbulls attacking the NAS?

Marco said...

Slight difference there, itisi69:
the NRC report, nor its members, claimed that the hockeystick shape was the result of a mathematical artifact. M&M did, Wegman forgot to check that, and by upholding M&M's criticism implicitely agreed with that claim

Marco said...

anonymous:
McIntyre is grasping at straws in several of those places. He has two arguments that are laughable: the first can be described as "but others have done it, too!"
The second is his claim that the Wegman report gives several citations to Bradley in a certain section. Right, too bad those citations are NOT to the sections that were copied almost(!) verbatim, apart from a few tables. The reference to Bradley's book as further background reading is NOT the same as indicating you quote someone else.

Now, the "almost(!)" I used is quite relevant, as by making small changes, the authors (Wegman et al) have appropriated the text. That is, the claim it as their own. That those changes also introduce errors and even direct contradictions makes it even worse.

Finally, it is fun to see how certain people have gone after Mann for supposed bad scholarship, how McIntyre has gone after Caspar Ammann for supposed plagiarism (and does so again in his copygate post), but vehemently defend Wegman. I'd say, if you feel so much that Mann (and Ammann) has to be investigated, you should be jumping for joy that Wegman gets the same treatment. The problems with the Wegman report go waaaaaay beyond a major amount of plagiarism (and does not just cover Bradley's book).

Anonymous said...

@Marco,

well -- surely, alleged errors (confer for example some text, ostensibly out of Wikipedia, without proper reference) and/or -- as delivered -- indications of "direct contradictions" shall -- and obviously will -- be further examined. Where I'm supposed to have suggested I "feel so much that Mann (and Ammann) has to be investigated"?

namenlos

Anonymous said...

@Eduardo + Hans

For people outside this whole story, the comments of Steve McIntyre seem to be rather convincing.

You know that many lay people read more blogposts from everywhere around the world to understand what's going on.

And I can tell you that the more I read the more I feel confused.

This could be the chance to show us lay people exactly what is going on and why we should not trust Steve McIntyre more than a science community who didn't even notice that something was wrong with the hockey stick before McIntyre told us.

Plagiarism does not explain us what was wrong with Wegman's science and as a lay man I feel very confused about such a game that imho ought to be played by politiciancs and activists and not by scientists.

I am open for informations and facts and many so-called skeptics are.

We read your Blog because we think you are more honest that many other people. We are here and listen to you. So please explain us this time what's going on.

Best regards
Yeph

Marco said...

"namenlos":
Perhaps my English failed me there, but I did not want to infer that YOU want us to go after Mann. McIntyre and many of his followers do. They were happy with the investigations into Mann, and suddenly get all upset when Wegman gets his turn.

Again I'd like to note that it isn't so much the direct copying. It is the copying *and* making small changes [that at times alter the meaning (even in a few cases almost opposite of the original)] that in essence makes you appropriate the text. It is now *your* opinion/knowledge. And then the academic world isn't too happy if most of "your opinion/knowledge" in reality is mostly a direct copy/paste from others. One also wonders *why* they made the changes they did. Due to the introduction of the errors, they actually show us they do not have the proper expertise in the area they are commenting on.

It gets worse in the Social Network analysis, as they draw a conclusion that according to the experts in the field cannot be drawn from the data analysis. And why did these non-experts in the field perform this social network analysis? They again had to copy, without attribution, several textbooks.

Why did they have Tom Valentine in the reference list (look him up, it really IS that person you likely find first), and for what did they use his article? Why did they have Von Storch & Zorita in their reference list, but not discuss it at all in the report? It was a criticism to M&M's criticism, which they were supposed to investigate, so it makes no sense they did not refer to that.

There simply are a lot of unanswered questions that pop up, now that someone actually read the report in detail...

harold said...

I think calling the Cuccinelli request a 'witch-hunt' or 'completely nuts' is not very helpful. Cuccinelli has not made any allegations, his fishing trip has nothing to do with Mann's science. My understanding is that the question is not IF but WHEN the information is handed over.

http://vaquitamlaw.com/2010/08/31/pick-your-own-title--former-uva-scientist-michael-mann-is-proven-correct-and-human-activity-really-is-causing-the-earth-to-warm-or-virginia-circuit-court-judge-sets-aside-portions-of.aspx

It is the University of Virginia who is playing politics, first a crap investigation, and then going to the press on a high horse saying this is a case about scientific integrity. I found it interesting that the legal tab (now more than $350.000) is paid for by 'private funds'

http://virginiapolitics.mytimesdispatch.com/index.php/virginiapolitics/comments/defending_u.va._researcher_big_bucks_investigating_cheap/%28entry_id%29

Nobody likes being audited, but I fail to see why a university accepting state money should be above the laws of that state.

eduardo said...

Dear readers,

Some clarifications...

when one applies un-centered principal components analysis (UPCA) to a set of random series, the leading PC tends to show a hockey-stick shape, even more so if these random series are red-noise. This is in essence the claim made by McIntryre and McKitrik in their GRL paper. In our response we argued that, whereas this is true, the MBH method would tend to produce temperature reconstructions that are artificially too flat even when the UPCA is not included in the algorithm. Therefore, this effect, though possibly real in the MBH reconstructions, was not all too relevant. In other words the MBH method would be deficient with or without UPCA. This deficiency is shared by other reconstructions methods, as Bo Christiansen illustrated in his guest web log.

Wegman's report comprised three different parts, and so it is not clear to refer to 'Wegman's conclusions' without being more specific. The first part was the palaeoclimatology background. It is in this part were the 'plagiarism' would have occurred. This part was included just as a background for the US member of the House. It could have perfectly omitted and focused on his area of expertise. Why did he include this part is not clear to me- perhaps due to the traditional structure in this kind of reports. At any rate, he should have consulted with someone with deeper knowledge than him in the area of paleoclimate, . It is also striking to me why he would copy almost verbatim from books. If the Democrats had discovered this in 2006, they could have easily discredited the whole report in the hearing itself, based only on Wegman's clumsiness in this first part. If one reads the transcript of the hearings, one can read that Wegman also blithely waded into areas in which he is not an expert. For instance, I was surprised when I heard him saying that since CO2 is heavier than air, this gas could not trap much infrared radiation. He later retracted, but why say anything so wrong and unnecessary like this in a Congressional Hearing ?

The second part, in which the UPCA is described, is mostly reflecting - and limited to- McIntyre's studies. As far as I know, he did not contacted other scientists than McIntyre. One can argue about the quality of the report, but of course, he was entitled to include in his report whatever he deemed relevant. So I would just describe this part as incomplete and move on.

The third part included the social-network analysis of Mann and co-authors. Probably this analysis is original and technically correct. In my opinion, it is barely useful as well.

Many of our readers are discussing whether or not Wegman legally committed plagiarism and who should be suing whom. To be honest, I am not much interested in those legalistic questions, on which I am not qualified to comment either. I am just trying to apply common sense to decide for myself what would be acceptable behaviour. While I think that copying verbatim from texts should be avoided in general, and it really does not reflect well in the case of a university professor, in this case it was just clumsy and unnecessary. Everybody knew that Wegman was not an expert on palaeoclimatology, so nobody should be surprised that his text was must have been a rewording of other studies. Perhaps he could have written this first part more elegantly, or just skip it entirely.
It also surprises me that all this has been uncovered now, four years later. Let us assume that Wegman is found guilty of plagiarisms in the first part of the report. Would that change the conclusions of the report on the hockey-stock? Not really. It would only disqualify him in the view of the general public, but technically the UPCA would be as correct or incorrect as before.

Marco said...

Eduardo,

The social network analysis is ALSO filled with plagiarised sections from several unacknowledged textbooks. Worse even, Wegman also published the social network analysis in a journal, in which the introduction also contains large sections that were copied from textbooks, one of which was not even in the reference list (the other poorly referenced); also, it appears Wikipedia(!) was partly copied, although that could be an indirect plagiarism of yet another textbook (which Wikipedia copied).

To make things worse, Mashey's report contains the comment of an expert in social networks, noting that the conclusion on the social network does not follow from the analysis (see page 151).

itisi69 said...

"Would that change the conclusions of the report on the hockey-stock? Not really. It would only disqualify him in the view of the general public, but technically the UPCA would be as correct or incorrect as before."

Well, it's obvious that the Mann Army is going for the disqualification of Wegman on these grounds, because there's nothing else left. People will eventually be aware that Bradley has been quoted by many other scientists within the AGW circles without being disqualified by their peers. So that's how climate science seems to work, apparently: lots of politics and smear, very little real science.

Laws of Nature said...

Dear Eduardo,

let me first apologize for me asking for von Storchs opinion on a paper written by both of you - in your blog!
It had to do with my selective reading and I do value your answer as much as one from von Storch!

With that, thank you for your answer and the clarification!
You wrote
"In our response we argued that, whereas this is true, the MBH method would tend to produce temperature reconstructions that are artificially too flat even when the UPCA is not included in the algorithm. Therefore, this effect, though possibly real in the MBH reconstructions, was not all too relevant. In other words the MBH method would be deficient with or without UPCA."

This doesn't look like the contradiction to McIntyre I believed to have found! Arguably S. McIntyre and R. McKitrick might have a point saying that you could have picked a higher noise level, which would give a higher result for "their" effect, but you were up for a different "feature" of Mann's method, the flattening of curves which is seen for other methods as well.

Please allow me a small clarifiaction about Wegman CO2-comment, which seems to pop up again and again. It is correct, that CO2 is one of the heavier molecules in air and thus can concentrate for example in wine cellars. However it is also found in the high atmosphere and increasing the concentration down here increases the concentration everwhere. And the IPCC wrote about the saturation:
"It has been suggested that the absorption by CO2 is already saturated so that an increase would have no effect. This, however, is not the case. Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation in the middle of its 15 mm band to the extent that radiation in the middle of this band cannot escape unimpeded: this absorption is saturated. This, however, is not the case for the band�s wings. It is because of these effects of partial saturation that the radiative forcing is not proportional to the increase in the carbon dioxide concentration but shows a logarithmic dependence. Every further doubling adds an additional 4 Wm-2 to the radiative forcing."

Anonymous said...

Yeph (and Eduardo), There is really not very much difference between Eduardo's statements and McIntyre's. Eduardo says that Wegman should have included a sentence explaining that the background section of the report is largely based on certain standard texts, and McI agrees with that. Both agree that the alleged plagiarism is mostly in the background section where standard material has to be set out, and it is not a big deal.

Eduardo is certainly not saying 'we should not trust McIntyre'. What he is saying, avoiding technicalities, is
* McI identified one problem with the Mann et al hockey stick
* More problems with it were identified later by others, including Hans and Eduardo
* Wegman's investigation was rather narrow because it focused on the McI issue.

eduardo said...

@ itsi

You said "Well, it's obvious that the Mann Army is going for the disqualification of Wegman on these grounds, because there's nothing else ,..... lots of politics and smear, very little real science."

Would you say that all climate skeptic circles behave honestly in this respect and are just interested in science ? I dont think so.

We all have still to learn to listen to each other, I guess

John Mashey said...

Eduardo:

1)*Most* of SSWR is *not* about plagiarism, which can be seen in first 4 pages.

*Most* of this is about the pervasive bad science, anti-science memes, undergrad-level errors, and biases, in some cases likely fabrication. The first page has *one sentence* on plagiarism, but the reason it gets the early press is:

a) It is the easiest problem for anyone to see. This applies to people who actually know something about the plagiarism, like university {provosts, VPs of Research, most professors}, key US funding folks like the Office of Research Integrity, or people who do expert witnessing for copyright trials. Alternatively, reading 10-20 academic policies is more than enough, since they are pretty similar. SSWR p.189 cites some and even quotes some from George Mason U.

35 of 91 pages are mostly plagiarism. That isn’t sloppiness.

b) 10 pages are from Deep Climate, introductory material. Why was PCA material plagiarized? Didn’t this team know it well enough?

c) The other 25 are the Summaries of Important Papers, which include one by you and Dr von Storch, but somehow omitted your critique of MM

See pp.242-243 for the one included. Yours was fairly typical:
57% (cyan) exact words, in order, i.e., cut-and-paste.
+23% more trivial changes (yellow, likely done to foil plagiarism checkers), minor rephrases, movement of a few words.

So ~ 80% of the text was something that could be done with little understanding of your paper. MOST of the summaries look like this. MBH98/99 were really perfunctory, since they were unimportant.

d) This much plagiarism shows massive incompetence, at best.

e) The WR authors were Wegman, Scott, and Said. Who did 35 pages of error-prone plagiarism?
It was *not* Scott, who wrote only the straight math Appendix A, different from anything else.

Wegman was *responsible*, but I do not believe he actually did the mechanics of the plagiarism.
The evidence points to Said, who was at that time a lecturer at Johns Hopkins, with little relevant experience, and who had gotten her PhD Spring 2005 (with 5 pages of similar plagiarism).

f) In effect, literature review/bibliography was done by a new PhD with minimal knowledge, as easily shown by the ludicrous errors, as bad or worse than McShane/Wyner. (See “phonology” on p.117 for fun.). In some cases, it is very likely that Wegman never read some relevant papers, their Summaries or even the WR's Literature Review.

g) See the Tally on p.22. It is pretty easy to find about half or more of the WR almost certainly done by Said (in one chunk with help from a grad student), even ignoring the 11 pages that are just Ack'd copies of text from elsewhere.

h) This was repeatedly presented to Congress as "expert" work by a team of "eminent statisticians."

The non-plagiarism problems are *pervasive*. An undergrad would flunk or be expelled ... and then, they didn't even do any relevant new statistics. Of course, the social network analysis was junk, and I showed why, also quoting an expert who whacked it.

i) The review process was a joke, covered in some detail.

2) pp.114-250 are in effect an annotated WR, spending as little or much discussion as seemed needed. Of those, pp.118-128, and pp.200-249 show side-by-sides, simply because this stuff had to exist so people could check, given how bad it is.

Some people want to focus only on the plagiarism in the 10 pages of introductory text. Ho-hum, most of that (except the fabrication embedded in the Bradley plagiarism) is just simple plagiarism. There's worse elsewhere.

SSWR covers much more than plagiarism, if people actually bother to look, rather than reading N-th hand accounts, and then saying it doesn’t cover some topic (that it does) or says something (that it does not).
Acrobat search works well, if one actually opens the file.

It has been quite amusing to see the amazing fantasies about plagiarism though. Some are old, but some are wonderful new inventions! People should send those to Wegman or GMU. 

Hans von Storch said...

Ghost / 32 - What do mean by "Why do you always think the Internet will forget? It never forgets."? How do cou come to the idea that I do not only forget but even always forget that the inter net never forgets? You can see my testimony on the video documentation (Eduardo gave the URL). What is your point?

Anonymous said...

@ Marco (cf. above, comment #37),

truly, after all I would be kinda eased, if I would have seen a really thorough investigation for instance into the "Mann case" so far, which means a transparent and an open investigation -- at best independent. An investigation that is not closed to the public and which is not carried out by a few (two or three?) well-known flagship scientists.

namenlos

Marco said...

Namenlos:

From everything I have seen and read so far, it is clear to me that a lot of people would ONLY call an investigation "independent" when it decides that Mann, or any other climate scientist who says something certain people don't like, is "guilty". Just look at the House of Commons investigation: open to the public, not performed by a few 'flagship' scientists, but oh dear, it managed to exonerate UEA of wrongdoing...immediate cries of "whitewash" followed.

What we know is that the "Mann case" is nothing but a general scientific discussion on methodology and data, blown hugely out of proportion by a group of people who will do everything to sow doubt. All under the cover of "public interest!"

Hans von Storch said...

A problem with the various
investigations in Britain and the US was that they failed to hear the critical voices (except for the US-House committee in 2005). I do not want to imply that these voices are providing a realistic analysis of the situation. But for creating trust into the procedure, and the resulting assessment, a balanced list of witnesses is certainly required. It seems that nobody invited Steve McIntyre (apart of US Rep. Barton).

The Mann case was certainly more than a discussion about methodology. It was an attempt for hegemonizing in the social process called science. This one case is certainly demonstrated by the ClimateGate mails.

Nowadays, it is clear that the MBH (hockeystick) curve was an interesting approach, which suffered from a number of limitations, some of which are now overcome. In the times of IPCC-TAR it was used as a means for convincing decisions makers about the seriousness of man-made climate change, as well as a tool to claim hegemony in scientific circles.

Interestingly, it seems that a substantial numbers of people became skeptics - because of the hockeystick (see Rob Maris's survey here on Klimazwiebel, to be published soon). Overselling the hockeystick gave a number of short term "advantages", but eventually backfired.

Anonymous said...

@ Marco,

from everything I have seen and read so far, it is clearly documented that certain scientists were/are able to publish merely because a foundation of trust (which means ultimately nothing else than 'belief' -- what in turn belongs to 'religion').

Just look at the House of Commons investigation: Phil Jones incredibly admitted that in all the years of his research nobody of his peer reviewers wanted to see his "data" -- data of these we know now that he lost them.

Jones: "They have never asked."

What kind of science shall this be? I do not think this is for the purpose of exoneration.

namenlos

Marco said...

Hans von Storch:
I will respectfully disagree that there was an attempt at "hegemony". I can understand you are not happy with some comments about you, but at the same time there is also significant evidence of discussions and 'controversies' between the various people who supposedly are such a tight network.

Marco said...

namenlos:

Name me a field of science where peer reviewers demand to see the original data. I know a lot of areas where it is not done, because we scientists indeed have trust in other scientists, until we have a solid reason not to have trust. There is no reason to not trust Phil Jones, unless you are paranoid and believe every single surface station record is being manipulated (GISTEMP and HADCRU are not the only records...).

Moreover, the "lost the data" is yet another of those examples of deliberate distortion of the facts by supposed skeptics. The raw data is not lost, it is still present at all the original data owners. Jones has the calculated, so-called value-added data (which in principle would allow him to calculate back the data).

Hans von Storch said...

Marco, when I referred to "hegemony" I was thinking for instance of the treatment of colleagues involved in borehole temperature reconstructions. Or the critique of Gert Bürger's submission to Climate of the Past, which can be read by everybody. On the other hand, for some lucky reasons, Eduardo and I got an opening to present our case.

"The lost data" case - true, one can build a new data base, and that is what should be done to re-establish the trust, which is shattered in certain quarters (whether you like it or not). But here the demand is that people want to see Jones's work redone - which is a legitimate request. Reproducibility is a key measure of quality in science. On the other hand - we have to be fair: when Phil started this business in the 1980s, nobody knew how important these data would became later; this job was done ad-hoc in the early years (maybe even in the later years). In the process of replacing computers and storage media, moving offices, having new personal some intermittent data sets were lost - who would be surprised about this?

Thus, the whole rpocess shuold be redone - and I understand this is presently prepared - not because I expect significant changes or even flaws in Phil Jones' work - but for building trust not by you, Marco, but by the others, namenslos and Yeph and ...

Anonymous said...

@ Marco,

I don't want to change the subject as you did with Mann and the House of Commons or the "so-called value-added data", but I want to focus on practiced science.

To your challenge ("Name me a field of science where peer reviewers demand to see the original data."):

In every field of science where doubts remain in my opinion peer reviewers have to demand to see the original data (see for example medicine).

I don't think that for instance Donald Kennedy, editor of Science Magazine, who is one of the two people which were interviewed in a "climate investigation" (the other were Gerry North of the “North Report”) is right when he claims:

"[T]he journal has to trust its reviewers; it has to trust the source. It can’t go in and demand the data books."
(cf. for example here or here.)

But I can try to believe Jones (and you) allthough there are a lot of questions:

"He [Phil Jones] insisted that he had not lost any original data, but that the sources of some of the data may have been insufficiently clear."
(See Roger Harrabin, BBC News (13 February 2010): "'Climategate' expert Jones says data not well organised")

"The saga shows that the debates about the hockey stick remain unresolved (even Phil Jones agrees on that now). [...] I [i.e. Fred Pearce] think there were subtantial issues raised about scientific process and integrity -- about sharing data [...]."
(See Fred Pearce Interview with Roger Pielke Jr. (12 September 2010): "An Interview with Fred Pearce")

Mann's research relied on different techniques and data than those for example used by Keith Briffa, but considering reproducibility:

"Stringer [Graham Stringer, Labour MP, involved in the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee] says the practices exposed at C[limate]R[esearch]U[nit] undermine the scientific value of paleoclimatology, in which CRU is a world leader.

'When I asked [Lord] Oxburgh if [Keith] Briffa [CRU academic] could reproduce his own results, he said in lots of cases he couldn't.

'That just isn't science. It's literature.'"
(See Andrew Orlowski, The Register (10th September 2010): 'Is this science, or literature?')

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Why shall we check the data?

John Ioannidis wrote recently:

"[R]esearchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.

[...]

Though scientists and science journalists are constantly talking up the value of the peer-review process, researchers admit among themselves that biased, erroneous, and even blatantly fraudulent studies easily slip through it. Nature, the grande dame of science journals, stated in a 2006 editorial, 'Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.' What’s more, the peer-review process often pressures researchers to shy away from striking out in genuinely new directions, and instead to build on the findings of their colleagues (that is, their potential reviewers) in ways that only seem like breakthroughs [...]".
(See David H. Freedman in The Atlantic (Nov. 2010): "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science")

I conclude that we should be carefully.

Equally Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet and recently involved in one relevant "climate investigation", warned us once:

"The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong."
(See Horton in Medical Journal of Australia (MJA 2000; 172: 148-149): "Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion, and crack-up")

namenlos

Marco said...

Hans von Storch:

I'm having some trouble understanding your comment about boreholes. Could you please add some more information?

I must note that I mainly reacted to the use of the word "hegemony", which suggests that facts were completely discarded for power (whatever that power would be). Nastiness in general is nothing new in the scientific community. Ask Rick Trebino about the effort he had to make to get a comment published (and note the political games he had to play).

Regarding shattering of trust: sorry to say, but that trust is shattered mostly in quarters that had no trust anyway. GISTEMP shows the same as HADCRU shows the same as JMA shows the same as NCDC. Heck, even the satellite records (apart from UAH) show the same trend. What is there not to trust? I predict that the reworking of HADCRU by the Met Office will not be a re-establishment of trust, but with its likely bugs in the beginning will just become another point of attack. I hope my pessimism is shown wrong, but I have an unpleasantly good record in these types of predictions.

Marco said...

Namenlos, "doubt" is a key word here.

Note also that in medicine you will only find requirements to 'share' data of companies publishing clinical trial data and toxicity data. But that data is not shared with us all. In fact, most clinical trial publications give averages, most certainly not the raw data. Even when I would ask the data, privacy laws may well prevent me from getting that data!

I myself also have raw data that I could definately not share with reviewers, because of intellectual property rights. If the journal asks me to hand over that data, too bad, but I'll have to refuse. I also have some data where only part of the available knowledge has been extracted. I do NOT want others to fiddle with my data before I get everything out.

Finally, I really don't know what you are trying to say with your questions and various quotations. I do know that quoting Andrew Orlowski, who 'famously' defended Monckton when he was exposed for his error-ridden opinion piece in the APS newsmagazine, is not something that instills much trust in me...

Anonymous said...

Marco, yes, on the contrary as a matter of fact "trust" is a key word here.

By the time you asked me for another field of science I had posted a longer reply which I cutted in two pieces after I had noticed it was verboten to send it as long as it was. I believe my second part was deleted by a blog handler. Tough!

It read just about:

• • •

Why/When shall we check?

The in other circles well known John Ioannidis wrote recently (no emphases needed):

      "[R]esearchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.

      [...]

      Though scientists and science journalists are constantly talking up the value of the peer-review process, researchers admit among themselves that biased, erroneous, and even blatantly fraudulent studies easily slip through it. Nature, the grande dame of science journals, stated in a 2006 editorial, 'Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.' What’s more, the peer-review process often pressures researchers to shy away from striking out in genuinely new directions, and instead to build on the findings of their colleagues (that is, their potential reviewers) in ways that only seem like breakthroughs [...]".
(See David H. Freedman; in: The Atlantic (Nov. 2010): "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science")

I conclude that we should be carefully. Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet and recently involved in one relevant "climate(-gate) investigation", warned us once (our emphases):

      "The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong."
(See Richard Horton; in: Medical Journal of Australia (MJA 2000; 172: 148-149): "Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion, and crack-up")

• • •

On top: There remain biases. Earlier this year for example over there in Great Britain and here in Germany too there were also some flash mobs supporting -- for example -- the usually "sceptics" of "Homöopathie" by shouting "fraud" (cf. 'media hypes'). I couldn't find among the many news equilibrated media coverage on that. In another particular case the media in Germany seem to be rather quiet: Even in America we can watch also an alleged fraud considering side effects from antipsychotic medications (cf. New York Times (October 3, 2010, on page BU1 of the New York edition): "Side Effects May Include Lawsuits"). Havn't heard of that news in germany's main stream media.

You took up the newspaper: exactly whichsoever point you like to discuss?

Shall I write down also what I have seen/heard/read over years? ...certain aphorism of best-known cabals/"team members"/... in medicine or (paleo-)climate?

namenlos

eduardo said...

@48

John,

'1)*Most* of SSWR is *not* about plagiarism, which can be seen in first 4 pages.

*Most* of this is about the pervasive bad science, anti-science '


well, my weblog was about the possible ligation. I have little against criticizing the Wegman report itself. Litigation would only muddle the whole issue, thereby distracting from the substantive problems. Lawyers and judges would act only according to the law but cannot address whether the Wegman report was in some sense 'correct' or not

eduardo said...

All in all, the general reaction - with some exceptions- is again along party lines. Although it is by now clear that the Wegman report contained some problematic issues, the 'skeptical blogs' in a knee-jerk reaction mostly highlighted that 'scientist also copy'. It would have been strengthened their credibility if they had also discussed the weaknesses of the report as well

John Mashey said...

Eduardo:
The only potential litigation I am of aware of is by Elsevier for copyright infringement, i.e., a normal sort of thing in which a publisher decides whether or not to pursue.

I think Wegman's comment about litigation confused many, as it has nothing to do with the academic misconduct charges.

There might be more, as if any of the other publishers go after copyright issues [for example, of your paper in Science], and DHHS might go after them for mis-use of funds. I'm not sure how that works.

But there is no scenario in which I can imagine judges and lawyers deciding the science ... thank goodness.

eduardo said...

@64

John,

I think the Cuccinelli scenario is basically that one.

harold said...

John,

it now seems that the mysterious Wegman comment ("Some litigation is underway." ) could have something to do with academic misconduct. Look at the email which Bradley is said to have written.

http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/21/bradley-tries-to-deal/

I thought it was bad manners when Bradley spoke to the press on an issue which a committee had not decided on, but if Bradley did what he said in the email I would call him a fool.

John Mashey said...

Eduardo:
Sorry, of course Cuccinelli wants that, but I meant "no scenario" around Wegman Report.

Although, given that Cuccinelli's latest relies heavily on the Wegman Report, may they are related after all.