Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peer Review Or Dirty Politics

It has long been suspected that the peer review process has been corrupted and controlled by the global warming true-believers. Now the leaked Emails in the ClimateGate scandal are proving these accusations to be true. This represents more than a couple of unethical, "loose cannon" scientists. It is pervasive and is like a cancer running through the entire "climate science industry". The following article by Roger Pielke, Jr. and excerpts from some of the leaked Emails proves the case. (source)

Treating Peer Review Like a Partisan Blog

John Christy and David Douglass provide a detailed accounting of how a comment on one of their papers was handled in the peer review process (even more detail here). Their experience, with the gory details revealed by the CRU emails, show in all of its unpleasantness how activist scientists sought to stage-manage climate science from the inside.

Their story hits very close to home with me, as I went through a very,very similar process with respect to a comment (PDF) and reply (PDF) on the "shameful article" on hurricanes and global warming that I co-authored in 2005 (PDF). (If my emails ever get hacked you'll see that ugly episode from the inside.;-) That situation had a positive outcome only because at the time I protested efforts to deny us a right to respond in accordance with journal policies and threatened to go public with the improper efforts at stage-management. I am sure that these sort of shenanigans go on in academia more than we'd like to admit, however that does not justify them.

What these episodes reveal is an effort by activist climate scientists to stage-manage the peer review process much like how one might manage a partisan blog for public consumption. The blog management philosophy of Real Climate was described as follows in the CRU emails:
I wanted you guys to know that you're free to use [the RealClimate blog] in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we'll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you'd like us to include.

You're also welcome to do a followup guest post, etc. think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world. Just let us know. We'll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics dont'get to use the RC comments as a megaphone...
While bloggers are of course free to operate their turf as they see fit, whatever one's views of climate science, climate policy or the Douglass et al. paper, we should all be able to agree that efforts to stage manage the peer review process are not good for science, however they might be justified.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"how one might manage a partisan blog for public consumption"

You would know about this one, Pete.

And you post confuses me a bit - it would appear that your a bit defensive about peer review even though you got your papers published. The peer review process is not necessarily meant to be warm and fuzzy, as I'm sure know, but to make sure the product is viable.