O’Donnellgate

The latest attempt by the climate auditors to smear a scientist comes from Ryan O’Donnell who accused Eric Steig of “blatant dishonesty and duplicity”. According to O’Donnell, as an anonymous reviewer Steig forced O’Donnell to use a particular method (‘iridge’) in his analysis and then, as himself, criticized O’Donnell for using that method. But as a fair-minded reading of the review comments reveals, and Steig himself explains this is not true. Steig as reviewer did not force them to use iridge, rather, he said that it seemed reasonable but there were problems with the method that the authors should address. Steig’s criticism of the published paper for not addressing those problems was entirely consistent with his comments as a reviewer.

It is O’Donnell who has been duplicitous, using a promise of confidentiality to get Steig to reveal that he was that reviewer and then breaking his word when it was convenient. Andrew Revkin reports:

O’Donnell has, in e-mail exchanges between the combatants that I’ve been copied on, said he recants the worst of them and plans to post an apology.

So far there has been no apology. Is O’Donnell going to break his word again?

O’Donnell’s false charges were embellished by folks such as James Delingpole and Lucia Liljegren. Delingpole is outraged because

The mystery peer reviewer was none other than Eric Steig. Even in the monstrously corrupt world of “climate science” this was clearly a breach of protocol. Certainly, in no other scientific discipline would a reviewer with such a clear conflict of interest be invited to review a paper whose main purpose was to criticise one he’d written himself.

Oddly enough Delingpole earlier wrote that Geoffrey Lean should:

Try reading AW “Bishop Hill” Montford’s superb, gripping The Hockey Stick Illusion

And on page 205 of that book:

As the CC paper was critical of his work, McIntyre was invited to be one of the peer reviewers

Where was Delingpole’s outrage about this?

Lucia Liljegren called Steig the “Rod Blagojevich of climate science” and posting a mean spirited cartoon and saying that Steig should be red with shame. Steig’s crime, according to Liljegren was this comment where he wrote that he was glad the paper had been published and:

Ryan, if you don’t mind sending me a preprint, and a link to your reconstructed data, I’d appreciate it.

I will presumably have more to say after I get a chance to read the paper, but it’ll be a month or more as I’m simply too busy with current projects.

Now you might think that Steig was asking for a preprint of the published paper (which he didn’t have) and letting people know he wouldn’t be able to comment on it for a month or more, but Liljegren calls it a “deceptive mealy mouth comment”. According to her, Steig was a “two-faced weasel” because by asking for a preprint (which he didn’t have) he was deliberately misleading readers by making them think that he wasn’t a reviewer because, umm, readers would think that reviewers would already have a preprint. Liljegren thanks that Steig should have emailed O’Donnell asking for the preprint to avoid creating the impression that he didn’t have a preprint (which he didn’t). I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Wait, there’s more. Liljegren:

Steig wrote a number of other comments that would suggest he was, well, not reviewer A. Here are two:

At RC December Post

P.S. For those actually interested, yes, I’ll have more to say about O’Donnell et al., but overall, I like it.-eric

No, I don’t see how that suggests he wasn’t reviewer A, either. Liljegren’s second example is:

At RC — February post

At the end of my post last month on the history of Antarctic science I noted that I had an initial, generally favorable opinion of the paper by O’Donnell et al. in the Journal of Climate.

Aha! You see, reviewer A’s initial opinion on the draft paper (not the one published in the journal) was that it was a mess. Of course, if Steig had written that their first draft was a mess but that his initial opinion on the published paper was favourable, Liljegren would have been brimful of outrage at Steig for breaching the confidentiality of the review process. Liljegren knows full well that Steig is not allowed to take advantage of his knowledge of the draft paper.

I’m reminded of Aesop’s fable of The Wolf and the Lamb.

Comments

  1. #1 John Mashey
    February 11, 2011

    But Tim, you showed the version *after* RO/SM tweaked it a day later, someone having perhaps realized that Canadian libel laws are not wimpy.

    Here is the Google-cached version of the Eric Steig’s Duplicity. Take a copy while it lasts.

    “There are not enough vulgar words in the English language to properly articulate my disgust at his blatant dishonesty and duplicity.”

    As is the blogosphere’s practice, such material spreads at the speed of light and the Internet Does Not Forget… ven if people try to make it go away.

    Google: eric steig duplicity

    If you find anything interesting, use WebCite bookmarklet (I keep one as a Favorite) to archive it and send you email where it is.

    Here is a fun one, where Jeff Id essentially reposts the original at WUWT.

    Note that Jeff includes the original text (search for duplicity), and links to “http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-duplicity/”, but at CA that now goes to “http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/07/eric-steigs-trick/”.

    Thanks much to Jeff and Anthony for this.

  2. #2 John Mashey
    February 11, 2011

    Oops, and how could I forget Climate, Etc:

    “curryja | February 9, 2011 at 7:17 am | Reply

    I agree that his behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.”

    (And there is plenty more around that.)

  3. #3 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    Of course Eric wanted a copy of the final version, he did not see the final version of the paper– he saw version three, but there was a fourth and final version that he did not see.

    This episode shows, again, that the likes of Lucia trying to pass themselves as reasonable ‘Lukewarmers’ is a load of BS. The ones guilty of juvenile, shameful and duplicitous behaviour are in fact O’Donnell, Condon, McIntyre, and their loyal acolytes, which apparently now includes Lucia.

    Lucia now too owes Steig a public apology. Hopefully being a “Lukewarmer” does not absolve one from admitting error, correcting the public record and apologizing, as appears to be the case for denialists, “skeptics” and contrarians. ‘Lukewarmers’ are better than those denialists, ‘skeptics’ and contrarians, right? I’m not hopeful, the continued ad hom attacks against Steig and weaseling does not bode well for ‘reconciliation’.

    Tim did forget to add this troubling information……troubling that is for McIntyre et al.

    This is yet another sad display of denialist chumming by the McIntyre and his affiliates, and does not change the fact that western Antarctica is warming, and losing ice as demonstrated by GRACE. Now what is more important, the CA teams’ delusions of grandeur and juvenile tantrums, of the loss of ice from a warming WAIS?

  4. #4 Sou
    February 11, 2011

    O’Donnell will have to apologise on so many websites, plus the Telegraph, in addition to sending a formal letter of apology to Dr Steig and the Journal of Climate, that it will probably take him a while to get around to it! (There, I’ve given him an excuse for his dilly dallying!)

    O’Donnell himself provided a link to the Delingpole article when he posted on WUWT. He has been all over the internet with this one. Worse than Tallboy, who also travelled far and wide to boast about his misdeeds.

    Some people are saying that O’Donnell was just a patsy for McIntyre. I disagree. He can’t wiggle out of it that easily, I’m fairly sure he is over 21 years of age. Especially when Condon and McIntyre sought and got a response from the journal about the ethics of naming the reviewer, reportedly only a couple of days after O’Donnell asked Steig if he was a reviewer.

    And to think that he would never have got his paper published without the help of Steig.

    Speak of nails and coffins!

    Steig is too nice and trusting (a bit like Bart V). They start with the assumption that everyone is good and it takes a real kick in the teeth before they realise what the denier/delayer hard core are really like.

    IMO the hard core deniers/delayers need to be totally ostracised. Only trounce their ‘arguments’. Don’t have anything to do with them personally.

  5. #5 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    John, we cross-posted. Aah yes, denialist chum….

    So one can add Curry to the long list of people who have betrayed their true colours and bias and partisanship with the obfuscators and contrarians. I’m sure that in the interests of honor and reconciliation and bridge building Curry will publicly retract her statement and apologize. Moreover, I hope that she will direct her ire at the group which really deserves it– her beloved CA team. Talk about an uncritical thinker who is anything but a true skeptic– referring to Curry of course.

    And more interesting revelations at Eli’s place this evening. My, my– CA, Curry and Lucia have apparently really blown this one…..

  6. #6 Thomas Moore
    February 11, 2011

    Since when are reviews confidential material?

  7. #7 Pinko Punko
    February 11, 2011

    If I review a paper that I would love to talk to the author about while it is press, I can’t do it until the existence of such a manuscript is public. Once it is, I might ask for a preprint if they would be willing. The goal is to not breach confidentiality. They may have asked for me as a qualified reviewer, yet they’d still send the preprint. They wouldn’t say “you already have it” and I wouldn’t say “hey, I’ve read your paper, let’s talk about it.” Everything else is tea leaves and presumption. O’Donnell was extremely mad- he should have gone back channel to discuss.

  8. #8 John Mashey
    February 11, 2011

    Sad to say, the much longer post before my first one here seems to have hung in the SPAM filter.

    I would recommend that people read p.1 and p.184 of PDF CCC regarding defamation law.

    Depending on geography, defamation might include:

    untruth, purposeful or with reckless disregard

    people read it and believe it (which is hard to know for newspaper, a lot easier in blogosphere)

    someone’s reputation is damaged.

    The “Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology”

    says that Steig’s behavior is apparently duplicitous.

    I don’t know. does that sound like damage or not?

  9. #9 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    Thomas Moore @6, you need to please learn more about the peer-review process, and the pertinent issues here.

    O’Donnell gave his word (in an email to Steig) that he would not divulge the reviewer’s identity and said in an email that “I will not violate the confidence of the review process”– O’Donnell broke that word, and suggestions are that McI and Condon were fishing around in early December (immediately after their paper was accepted). As I stated elsewhere “they were floating a balloon because they wanted to “out” ES and wanted to float a balloon and determine the risks of outing publishing the reviewers’ comments and possibly outing Eric Steig”. CA have been after Steig ever since his Nature paper came out, yet he still agreed to review their paper and still supported it being published. This fabricated controversy and attempt to make mountains out of molehills is the Hocky Stick controversy redux. Recall what the goals of that exercise were? Hint, it had incredibly little to do with advancing the science.

    As this poster noted at RC:

    “This is really an abuse of your collegiality and the peer review process. I work in a very different field but have considerable experience as a reviewer. Perhaps the Journal of Climate doesn’t have explicit policies about public airing of reviews or attempts to breach reviewer anonymity but so what? With the exception of experiments like the EMBO Journal, reviewer anonymity and review confidentiality are generally assumed norms of scientific practice. There really should be some sanctions for this kind of misbehavior. If something like this occurred with one of the journals for which I serve on the Editorial Board, I’d be in favor of banning the violaters from submitting to that journal.”

  10. #10 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    John @8,

    Actually. Curry really should be taken to task for her comments, especially given the nature of her position. IMHO, her comments should be actionable under the law, as are O’Donnell’s. Notice how McIntyre avoided saying anything (too) slanderous about his fellow Canuck (Steig)– it seems that, for now, he is happy to let Condon and O’Donnell do his dirty work.

  11. #11 Michael
    February 11, 2011

    MapleLeaf @10,

    A comment at RC suggests that Eric is “considering his options” with regards to McIntyre’s part in this.

  12. #12 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    I’m a kind of skeptic. I suspect that main-line climate science is lagging behind the real world.

    When I get answers from UK Government departments, I try to guess which climate scientist is behind the answer. The judgement of some I trust more than others.

    Problems with peer review (in climate science) are that it is too slow and the process lacks transparency. Some time ago I was one of the authors of a paper on a topic in computing. After what seemed an incredibly long time our paper was published – after a somwhat similar paper had been published. The topic wasn’t earth shattering and my unease may have been ill founded but it left me dissatisfied. That was well before the internet took off.

    Do we still need the clumsy proceedure of peer review?

  13. #13 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    >*Do we still need the clumsy proceedure of peer review?*

    You submitted your paper for what reason?

  14. #14 kfr
    February 11, 2011

    I wonder if that column by delingpole is actionable. Given the rather excessive libel laws in Britain i would’ve thought a claim by delingpole that ES ‘tried to thwart the paper’s progression’ would qualify. Not really in favour of using libel laws but such is the egregious nature of the onslaught to Steig’s reputation it certainly wouldn’t seem such a draconian response.

  15. #15 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    >*Do we still need the clumsy proceedure of peer review?*

    I know that I am certainly not up to speed on all but a few issues in limited fields. The issues where I think I’m might be up to speed are those where I’m across the literature and current debates.

    In the issues where I have competence I find I am largely in agreement with the current peer reviewed literature. As a consequence I judge I could do worse than assume that the current debates and understanding in other fields are well represent by the peer reviewed literature relating to those fields.

    I’ll do my bit to sort the wheat from the chaff in my field and I expect others do the same. Consequently where I lack understanding I’ll give higher cred to peer reviewed debate compared to a blog, a press release or a lobby group’s report.

  16. #16 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    jakerman@13

    Can’t remember. Rational reconstruction:

    To support the department.
    To please the boss.
    To get more funding.
    To enhance my CV.

    Also I thought the work should be followed up because it made a contribution to the sum of human knowledge but it certainly wasn’t as important as climate policy is now.

  17. #17 Stu N
    February 11, 2011

    The term ‘mountains out of molehills’ was made for this whole sorry saga. Not that I think O’Donnell doesn’t need to apologise. It’s the principle of the thing, dammit.

  18. #18 Thomas Moore
    February 11, 2011

    Pinko @ 7:

    If I review a paper that I would love to talk to the author about while it is press, I can’t do it until the existence of such a manuscript is public.

    Wait, why? I’ve put my name to reviews, and emailed authors after review to complement / commend / further discuss critique. Where are you getting these rules from?

    Once it is, I might ask for a preprint if they would be willing. The goal is to not breach confidentiality.

    I’ve never read any confidentiality claims from any journal i’ve reviewed for.

    They may have asked for me as a qualified reviewer, yet they’d still send the preprint. They wouldn’t say “you already have it” and I wouldn’t say “hey, I’ve read your paper, let’s talk about it.”

    ?

  19. #19 Thomas Moore
    February 11, 2011

    Maple leaf @ 6

    you need to please learn more about the peer-review process, and the pertinent issues here.

    Thanks, but I peer review on a pretty much weekly basis.

    O’Donnell gave his word (in an email to Steig) that he would not divulge the reviewer’s identity and said in an email that “I will not violate the confidence of the review process”– O’Donnell broke that word, and suggestions are that McI and Condon were fishing around in early December (immediately after their paper was accepted).

    Completely agreed, that’s unethical and O’Donnell was wrong in doing so – especially after explicitly stating he would not divulge the reviewer’s identity.

    CA have been after Steig ever since his Nature paper came out, yet he still agreed to review their paper and still supported it being published. This fabricated controversy and attempt to make mountains out of molehills is the Hocky Stick controversy redux.

    I completely agree – CA are instigating a witch hunt over nothing.

    Recall what the goals of that exercise were? Hint, it had incredibly little to do with advancing the science.

    Smear campaign against Steig and RC?

  20. #20 Nick Barnes
    February 11, 2011

    Delingpole is, as he admitted in that Horizon program, incapable of judging science. Here he shows that he also knows very little about scientific publication. Spot the two major errors in this paragraph: “Peer review is the benchmark by which most new scientific research tends to be judged. If that research is to be taken seriously by the scientific community then it must be accepted for publication by one of a fairly small number of academic or quasi-academic journals, such as Nature, Science and Scientific American.”.

    And that’s before he even gets on to the O’Donnell nonsense, where he shows progressively greater ignorance, both of scientific norms and of the facts of the case. The fact that he closes by praising WUWT as a forum for “peer-to-peer review” where “experts” can assess climate science “rigorously” takes the biscuit.

  21. #21 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    jackerman@15

    What do yoy do when there’s a peer reviewed conflict? My current concern is “Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne”. Nature 458, 1163-1166 (30 April 2009). Let’s call this the “Trillion TOnne Scenario”. Ray Pierrehumbert has published similar stuff – he addresses this on RealClimate ["Losing time, not buying time"](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/losing-time-not-buying-time/)

    I’ve been worried about climate modelling since I learnt in 2007 that “The CH4 (and CO2) permafrost feedback isn’t included in current EarthSystemModels and it is potentially large but no-one really knows.” As I understand it, these models were used in the Trillion Tonne Scenario.

    So I lean towards Veerabhadran Ramanathan and Yangyang Xu, ["The Copenhagen Accord for limiting global warming: Criteria, constraints, and available avenues"](http://www.pnas.org/content/107/18/8055.abstract?sid=ecf8c6b2-e745-4542-9564-75850976ba2c)

    What’s your leaning?

  22. #22 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    >*What do yoy do when there’s a peer reviewed conflict?*

    Firstly I try to clarify where the conflict is. Which specific issue/conflict concern you that arising from [this paper](http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/full/nature08019.html)?

    Reading your link leaves me thinking that the cumulative Carbon emissions could be a useful alternative to current discussions of ppm CO2e. But this seems minor compared to the need to just get things rolling in the right direction.

    Do you see specifics that are more urgent (than getting rolling) that we’re missing? I find your material useful BTW.

  23. #23 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    Nick, thanks [for that](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/odonnellgate.php#comment-3268381). I needed a laugh after reading the depressing reality check in Geoff’s links.

  24. #24 Bernard J.
    February 11, 2011

    [John Mashey](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/odonnellgate.php#comment-3267074).

    As I am very wary of Watts and Curry both whiting-out commentary on their blogs, I’ve backed up Steve McIntyre’s [Eric Steig's Duplicity](http://backupurl.com/qe7o6r), Watts’ [RC’s duplicity prods Jeff Id out of retirement](http://backupurl.com/pgxj2i), and Curry’s [Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part VI](http://backupurl.com/kqnwdh), which contains your quote [at #2](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/odonnellgate.php#comment-3267092) from her.

    Not that I don’t really trust them or anything…

  25. #25 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  26. #26 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  27. #27 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  28. #28 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  29. #29 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  30. #30 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  31. #31 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  32. #32 Dan L.
    February 11, 2011

    So now Steig has joined the august scientists who have been slimed by the climate spooks. Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Santer, Trenberth; quite an impressive group. He should be proud to be a member.

  33. #33 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 11, 2011

    > According to her [Lucia], Steig was a “two-faced weasel” because by asking for a preprint (which he didn’t have) he was deliberately misleading readers by making them think that he wasn’t a reviewer because, umm, readers would think that reviewers would already have a preprint.

    Lambert, you need to explain a bit of those “preprint” and “copyedit” and “camera-ready” thingies, because many people apparently get their ideas on scientific publishing from the University of Kochtopustan.

  34. #34 Didactylos
    February 11, 2011

    Thomas Moore: it is interesting to hear you have been behaving unethically for years. Are you really unaware that reviews are confidential? Have a look at the “Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers” at Science:

    “The review process is conducted anonymously; Science never reveals the identity of reviewers to authors. The privacy and anonymity provisions of this process extend to the reviewer, who should not reveal his or her identity to outsiders or members of the press. The review itself will be shared only with the author, and possibly with other reviewers and our Board.”

    Other journals have similar guidelines. Obviously, in many cases the identity of a reviewer or author will be an open secret to one or the other – if you are criticising someone’s paper, then it is reasonable to find that someone among the reviewers. And in a small field, guessing the identity of someone from their writing isn’t all that hard.

    This is why Steig had no ethical problem with confirming O’Donnell’s “guess”. O’Donnell already knew, and so long as the information was not shared with outsiders, no damage was done.

  35. #35 stewart
    February 11, 2011

    Different journals have different policies for peer review. Most of the journals I review for require anonymous reviewers, and papers have the authors names removed. You can often figure out who it is, in the case of a prominent author, but that’s usually irrelevant. I’ve never had any interest in knowing who reviewed my papers, but was once sent a preprint of an article I had reviewed in an earlier draft. Some journals allow you to specify who would be good and who would be inappropriate reviewers. I understand some journals have experimented with signed reviews. Fine, so long as the rules are clear.
    In this case, the editor knew what they were doing, and could evaluate the reviewer criticisms. If they were off the mark, the reviewer gets dropped from the next round. I’ve seen editor letters that say, in essence, ‘these are important criticisms, think about these others if you want’.

    In this case, what happened to the fourth round of reviewer comments? And the manuscript after receiving that fourth round of comments is going to be altered again. Even if ES was a reviewer then, it’s appropriate to ask for a preprint – things change.
    Stupid sideshow, which says a lot about the attacks on science through personalization.
    And if you want a sample of amusing reviewer comments, look here: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/01/letters-to-editor.html, and follow the links

  36. #36 P. Lewis
    February 11, 2011

    Stewart

    You have an errant comma in the link to Eli’s warren.

    The link to “Letters to the Editor” here.

  37. #37 Wow
    February 11, 2011

    > Different journals have different policies for peer review.

    But this doesn’t really make any difference since the problem here is that O’Donnel didn’t keep his word.

    Thomas doesn’t have a problem with dishonesty (at least if you’re doing it to derail the AGW science), but generally people don’t want to deal with people who lie and break their word.

  38. #38 Quiet Waters
    February 11, 2011

    John Nielsen-Gammon at Stoat:

    “Announcing the identity of the anonymous reviewer was wrong in and of itself. The seriousness of the offense deepens to the extent that the author also reveals some of the content of the review. Revealing the identity of the reviewer while simultaneously publishing the complete content of the reviews makes this particular ethical violation as bad as possible.”

  39. #39 Jeremy C
    February 11, 2011

    Geoff Beacon @12

    >Problems with peer review (in climate science) are that it is too slow

    As opposed to what other branches of science? or to what? How can you say this is a problem when so many disciplines are involved……. could it be people are being thorough compared with the issues of this thread? Why does it matter if something is slow? I know I sometimes think that things are too slow but thats because I’m either being impatient or I’ve been drinking too much coffee.

    >and the process lacks transparency

    Whadda y’mean? What, compared with other branches of science e.g. zoology, nuclear physics? Or compared with superstition such as creationism, flat earth belief, climate change denialism?

    >Some time ago I was one of the authors of a paper on a topic in computing. After what seemed an incredibly long time our paper was published – after a somwhat similar paper had been published. The topic wasn’t earth shattering and my unease may have been ill founded but it left me dissatisfied.

    Gee! That must have been encouraging that a similar paper was published, it showed you were on the right track. I guess you would’ve been able to read that paper, compare it with your own see what the authors had to offer and what your work had to offer them, y’know part of the process of learning from publishing. Were you able to get in contact with them and exchange ideas?

    I can’t see why you were uneasy….. did you think the journals publishers would litter spelling mistakes all over you paper?

    >That was well before the internet took off.

    Well, that must have been a long time ago seeing how long the internet has been around. Whats been yuor experience with publishing papers since then?

  40. #40 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    Hi Thomas,

    “Thanks, but I peer review on a pretty much weekly basis.”

    Sorry for the snark– here we are used to people making unsubstantiated statements and speaking to things which they are not qualified or experienced to speak to. Anyways, it seems that we are in agreement on this issue.

    If you don’t mind, I’m curious to know for which journal/s or discipline.

  41. #41 Wow
    February 11, 2011

    So, Thomas, when you give your word on something, do you keep it?

    If you trusted someone and they betrayed that trust, would you think them

    a) untrustworthy
    or
    b) entirely justified

    ?

  42. #42 grypo
    February 11, 2011

    ODonnell’s ..um.. apology?

    “Steig informed me by email that he had not seen our Response to his Third Review, as I had previously assumed. I apologize for my misunderstanding on this point, which was, however, incidental to the major concerns expressed in my post.”
     
    And
     
    “In any event, Steig knew or ought to have known that our response must have satisfied the editor of Journal of Climate and should have familiarized himself with our response before condemning the method that he had previously encouraged. Had Steig informed me that he had not seen a copy of our Response to his Third Review, I would have been delighted to send it to him. Instead, he chose to publicly disparage our paper using arguments that were both irrelevant and satisfactorily addressed – which was, unfortunately, no different than the tactic he used during review.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/11/ryan-odonnell-responds/

  43. #43 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    Jeremy C @32

    As opposed to what other branches of science?

    The climate issues we face are real time. Answers are needed now – before the science is settled. People that are labelled scientists are not disposed to give answers until they are absolutely sure. (There are some exceptions. I like Hansen’s approach of making his early drafts available.)

    My interest is not in climate science per se but in what can be done to avoid future climate disasters. That needs a way of thinking that can make judgements with incomplete knowledge – more like a military mind than a scientific one. The scientific approach may be OK for high energy physics but high energy physicists probably won’t have much of interest to say to policy makers this century. The study of climate is currently much more important.

    So climate scientists, speed it up, let us have your best shots now, and let’s know who you are so we can make some assessments of your judgement. I want to form a view of your psychological profile, range of knowledge and track record. Pure science doesn’t need any of these.

    If I remember correctly there was an experiment – possibly in the 1970s and at Oxford – where the effect of gravity on sub-atomic particles was due to be measured by dropping them down a big tower. One day some physics undergraduates were being shown round and one young student suggested that the thermal motion of the particles at the source would invalidate the experiment. He was right the very expensive experiment was scrapped. I believe the student rather later got a rather bad degree and I don’t suppose he ever published a physics paper – but he was right. (P.S. Can anybody give a reference to this story?)

    I think my worry about the Trillion Tonne Scenario is similar to this. Even us amateurs can ask these sort of questions. If I’m wrong I’d like to know so I can stop bothering policy makers.

    Can you tell me if or why I’m wrong?

  44. #44 Holly Stick
    February 11, 2011

    Geoff Beacon, try here for answers to your questions:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    John Mashey, you might just as well send all those links you find to McConchie or lawyer of choice. If Eric were to sue for libel, he would find lots of evidence, such as this comment at CA, which I believe would go to show the damage caused:

    “…It is now all over the internet about the dodgy dealing by Eric…” (part of a long and timewasting comment)

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/11/ryan-odonnell-responds/#comment-254540

  45. #45 Holly Stick
    February 11, 2011

    I should mention that I am not a lawyer. I believe that in Canada at least, people who repeat libels could also be sued for libel. Andrew Weaver’s lawsuits against the National Post and Tim Ball list third party websites, and if the defendants are found liable, they may have to go around to the websites who repeated the libels and get them to clean up and/or put in notices of apology or whatever.

    And in Canada there is at least one libel lawsuit against a rightwing forum (not about a climate change topic) which has named several anonymous commenters and gotten apologies from some of them so far:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/02/meanwhile.html#links

    So if Steve McIntyre removed “Duplicity” from his post title, but his commenters keep repeating the word and making other libellous claims, he could still be in trouble.

    I don’t know if Eric wants the expense and frustration of a libel lawsuit, but whether or not he does it in this case, I think it is time to scare the dirtbags into amending their behaviour.

  46. #46 Hank Roberts
    February 11, 2011

    Has anybody done a “Gish Stampede” map of how conversations about climate tend to go off away from the science?

    Seems to me any serious climate discussion gets interrupted by some outburst of pearlclutching, or someone’s perversely distracting wacko physics theory, or claims of censorship.

    I declare discovery of a new quasi-nonperiodic oscillation: the IMO. It sometimes develops into osculation, the IMHO.
    More often it develops into a clusterfumble, and everyone rushes off chasing the scandal or the stupid in high dudgeon, nitpicking and cheeseparing and deconstructing.

    Getting journal editors caught up in the whining can only make journal editors a bit more hesitant about work on subjects and from people they know attract such stuff.

  47. #47 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    Holly Stick @37

    Thanks. http://www.skepticalscience.com/ has a good section “How reliable are climate models?”
    in the section “Uncertainties in future projections it says”

    A common misconception is that climate models are biased towards exaggerating the effects from CO2. It bears mentioning that uncertainty can go either way. In fact, in a climate system with net positive feedback, uncertainty is skewed more towards a stronger climate response (Roe 2007). For this reason, many of the IPCC predictions have subsequently been shown to underestimate the climate response. Satellite and tide-gauge measurements show that sea level rise is accelerating faster than IPCC predictions.

    But aren’t the positive feedbacks more directly related to temperature rise rather than CO2 concentrations? Don’t we need use all the tools in the box to slow temperature rises now and not just rely on reductions of CO2 emissions?

  48. #48 chek
    February 11, 2011

    Geoff Beacon and of course their own attached ecosystems do seem to have rather fallen for the self-awarded, self importance of Climate Audit and the climate auditors.

    While their shrill (though invariably wrong) pronouncements may seem to have an air of self-claimed urgency about them, that’s only an illusion produced by the repeat echo machine they employ.

    One way to counter this is by simple substitution – thus Climate Audit=navel lint audit; climate auditors=navel lint auditors, and so forth. Such an exercise restores the correct sense of balance. Another foolproof method is to avoid anything McIntyre’s Pariahs have been even tangentially involved with.

    In the meantime, actual scientists will continue to work to the best of their ability, much as they have always done with or without the putrid, puss-filled appendage known as blogscience so beloved of certain difficient personality types and cranks.

  49. #49 Holly Stick
    February 11, 2011

    I’m not in any way an expert on this, but I imagine there is not much to be done about some of the feedbacks. Things like planting more trees and changing agricultural practices have been suggested and seem like good ideas to me. And more funding on climate change and ways to mitigate and adapt to it.

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6567

    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-02-03-how-to-get-to-100-percent-renewables-globally-by-2050

  50. #50 Anonymous
    February 11, 2011

    Delingpole writes…:
    > The mystery peer reviewer was none other than Eric Steig.
    > Even in the monstrously corrupt world of “climate science”
    > this was clearly a breach of protocol. Certainly, in no
    > other scientific discipline would a reviewer with such a
    > clear conflict of interest be invited to review a paper
    > whose main purpose was to criticise one he’d written
    > himself.

    The interpreter of interpretations (who, as he himself admitted, does not read peer-reviewed literature) is here pulling things out from his … sleeve. The most logical choice for a referee is one whose results are explicitly criticized. It’s standard practice for Comments in APS journals to have the critiqued party act as a referee. The trick, of course, is to have more than one referee and an editor with a brain.

  51. #51 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    Holly Stick @42

    Your references were excellent. Thanks.

    I think we need to be radical. I.e.

    [No Beef](http://www.nobeef.co.uk),
    [No Cars](http://www.nocars.org.uk),
    [No Gas](http://www.nogas.org.uk),
    [No Bottles](http://www.nobottles.org.uk),
    [No High Buildings](http://www.nohighbuildings.org.uk),
    [No Planes](http://www.noplanes.org.uk)

    And try taking carbon out of the air. Biochar seems a good bet.

  52. #52 Marco
    February 11, 2011

    @anonymous:
    And you wonder where Delingpole’s outrage was when McIntyre reviewed Wahl&Ammann…

  53. #53 MartinM
    February 11, 2011

    If I remember correctly there was an experiment – possibly in the 1970s and at Oxford – where the effect of gravity on sub-atomic particles was due to be measured by dropping them down a big tower. One day some physics undergraduates were being shown round and one young student suggested that the thermal motion of the particles at the source would invalidate the experiment. He was right the very expensive experiment was scrapped. I believe the student rather later got a rather bad degree and I don’t suppose he ever published a physics paper – but he was right. (P.S. Can anybody give a reference to this story?)

    The description sounds a lot like the famous Pound-Rebka experiment to measure gravitational time dilation. But that was a resounding success. Frankly, I find the description you gave rather hard to believe; sounds like an urban legend to me.

  54. #54 Jeff Harvey
    February 11, 2011

    Anonymous,

    You are 100% correct. When a strong critique is written of a published article, then it is the established norm in science for the journal to select as one of the peer-reviewers the senior authors of the original article that is being criticized by the rebuttal. There are thousands of examples of this in the empirical literature, and it is not considered exceptional at all (except by right wing media hacks).

    What this demonstrates IMO is that Delingpole not only does not understand basic scientific protocol, but that he is a lousy ‘interpreter of interpretations’.

  55. #55 Holly Stick
    February 11, 2011

    I like the way the deniosaurs are indignant tat Steig wrote so many pages reviewing the article. Many repeat the false number of 88, but I believe it was a totoal of 24 pages that he wrote.

    They act like this is a bad thing, whereas to me it suggests he put a lot of thought and work into the reviews and O’Donnell ought to be grateful. But the deniosaurs think Steig was trying to muddle up the paper, not make it better. O’Donnell and the other authors need to learn to take criticism and learn from it.

  56. #56 trrll
    February 11, 2011

    A postdoc in my lab submitted a paper on our work to a prominent journal, and at my recommendation suggested XXXX, a scientist that I’d worked with years before, as a reviewer. The paper came back with a one short, generally favorable review with a few trivial criticisms and a highly critical, multi-page review. The postdoc was irate, crying, “XXXX screwed us!”, concluding (based on the content of the review) that the critical review was by XXXX.

    “No,” I explained, “this is exactly why I suggested XXXX as a reviewer. If XXXX wanted to screw us, XXXX could have sent in a one paragraph review indicating that our paper lacked sufficient novelty and quality for publication, or perhaps insisting that we must do some lengthy or impractical additional studies. Instead, XXXX took the time to write a detailed critique explaining just what the problems were, and exactly what we had to do to fix them. This is what I expect from a friend and colleague, and it is exactly what I would do for XXXX if the situation was reversed.”

    Of course, I don’t know for sure that XXXX was the reviewer, although from the style and content, I’m 99% certain. I would never ask. Scientists observe a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule when it comes to confidential reviews. I once had a scientist come up to me at a meeting and spontaneously start complaining about unreasonable criticisms by “the reviewer” of his latest paper. Clearly, he had a good idea that it was me (and may have even requested me), and I knew that he knew, but neither of us said so; I just listened politely to his rebuttal.

    I’ve never heard of anybody publicly outing and attacking a reviewer in this way. It is of course perfectly reasonable to ask for a different reviewer if you feel that you have been unfairly treated, and if the other reviews are favorable, an editor will often go along. It is impossible to avoid bias, because anybody with the expertise in the field to provide a good technical review will likely have strong opinions on the matters at hand. That’s what the editor is there for–to determine whether criticisms are fair, or whether a reviewer is letting his biases run away with him.

  57. #57 Jeff Harvey
    February 11, 2011

    trrll

    Great post. This is exactly how I treat my own research and that of my PhD students and post-docs. Moreover, when I was an editor at *Nature*, there was nothing worse than an overly terse review in the positive or negative. They were effectively useless in making a decision. When a referee takes the time to write a lengthy review, it shows that they have read the article right through and have made every effort to understand digest the article in its entirety.

    Like you I have never heard of anything remotely like this in science. IMO the rage directed by the contrarian blogosphere at Eric Steig is both appalling and completely misplaced, and shows them in their truly wrethced colors.

  58. #58 dhogaza
    February 11, 2011

    Trrl, it would be great if you’d repeat that post over at dotearth, on the second post Andy’s made about the dispute.

    In particular, in the first thread, Mosher’s saying crap like “Eric would never give such a detailed and critical review to a paper by one of his colleagues, because he knows if he did, they’d return the favor, and he wouldn’t want that”.

    Bollocks.

  59. #59 Robert P.
    February 11, 2011

    A long time ago, I was askedto review a paper by two senior scientists in my field. I found, to my surprise, that the paper was seriously flawed, to the point that the analysis essentially had to be done over from the beginning. Given that I was a just-promoted associate professor at the time while the authors were far more distinguished (one is a National Academy member) I felt that I had to make my case as strong as possible. So I went through everything in detail: i showed why the approach was wrong, I described in detail how to do it correctly, and illustrated my approach with numerical examples.

    Two months later, I received a thoroughly revised paper in which all of my criticisms were addresses and the analysis was completely redone. Included was a cover letter in which the authors not only thanked me for my review – they invited me ( still anonymous) to be a coauthor of the final paper. (I declined – the final product was still their work.)

  60. #60 John Mashey
    February 11, 2011

    At Bell Labs, if you wanted to publish an external paper, you had to get it reviewed internally first. The usual technical levels were:

    2. MTS (member of technical staff, normally with MS or PhD)

    3. Supervisor (usually 5-10 direct reports)

    4. Department Head (3-5 supervisors)

    5. Lab Director (3-5 Departments)

    6. (ED) Executive Director (maybe 8 labs), might have 1000-1500 people.

    Somebody at level 2 writes paper. It goes up through management chain, across to 2 other EDs, down their chains to reviewers. Then reviews come back up across, and down.

    I was a Supervisor. One of my MTS wrote a scathing review, I agreed, up it went to my DH, Dir, and then ED. My ED copied me on the note sent to authors’ ED, paraphrased, but every bit as blunt.

    “Dear XXX: Once again, I’m sorry to say that my people think your people have written junk, and I agree.”

    It was widely viewed that internal reviews were tougher than external, because *no one* wanted shoddy papers to get out. Needless to say, before doing this, one usually circulated it amongst the most critical colleagues you could find.

    You can imagine getting back a proposed article, *through you entire management chain*, with “John Tukey says your statistics is bad” or “Ken Thompson said your discussion of UNIX is wrong.”

    These would not be pleasant or career-enhancing if this happened often to you.

  61. #61 chek
    February 11, 2011

    John Mashey said: “These would not be pleasant or career-enhancing if this happened often to you”.

    Ah but John, that is precisely the kind of repressive gatekeeping that blogpseudoscience has lberated us from.

    How else would someone like – oh, I dunno – let’s say, Steve McIntyre Inc. be the go-to guy, on the periphery of every non-scandal?

  62. #62 MapleLeaf
    February 11, 2011

    trll @49,

    I second dhogaza’s suggestion– please do post it at DotEarth. I only read the first few comments and that was enough. Good grief.

    And regarding Moshpit’s speculative and unsubstantiated allegations against Eric– if we say it enough it will be true eh Mosher? I agree , he is talking bollocks and also now just engaging in denialist chumming.

    Now if one wishes to see a real example of a social network pandering to each other see the Wegman report. These guys continue to (falsely) accuse others of exactly what they are doing. Pathetic.

  63. #63 Geoff Beacon
    February 11, 2011

    MartinM @45

    The Pound-Rebka experiment seems very elegant. But, according to Wikipedia, it took place in Harvard and it succeeded.
    It doesn’t fit my memories, which may, of course, be false ones.

    I “remember” reading about the scrapped experiment in the Guardian. It was at at Oxford and the student’s observation stopped it. Later I “remember” a report that he got a bad degree. Unfortunately Guardian online archives only seem to go back to to 2003.

    Your response hints that you may not want to believe my memory because it conflicts with your belief in the system.

    That may be part of your psychological profile. To me it’s important to know about such profiles when assessing scientific judgements – as opposed to scientific facts.

  64. #64 chek
    February 11, 2011

    Shorter Geoff: I’ve got nothing, but blogpseudoscience is the future.

  65. #65 Jeremy C
    February 11, 2011

    trll, Jeff Harvey, Robert P and John Mashey,

    You are missing the point. Your work would’ve been so much easier if you had used Delingpole’s revolutionary paradigm of ‘peer-to-peer’ review. Just think how this would’ve improved productivity. For example, at Bell Labs John Mashey all anybody would’ve needed was a rubber stamp labelled ‘peer-to-peer APPROVED’, plus an ink pad, so that whenever a paper came across their desk they could just stamp it without having to break off from important work, whatever it was. After all in ‘peer-to-peer’ review you are all singing from the same hymn sheet so there is no need to think through what you are reading.

  66. #66 Holly Stick
    February 11, 2011

    Corporal Nobbs and Sergeant Colon are in the bar after Nobbs has learned that he is an Earl:

    “…The barman leaned over to Sergeant Colon. ‘What’s up with the corporal? He’s a half-pint man. That’s eight pints he’s had.’

    Fred Colon leaned closer and spoke out of the corner of his mouth. ‘Keep it to yourself, Ron, but it’s because he’s a peer.’

    ‘Is that a fact? I’ll go and put down some fresh sawdust.’…”

    Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay, pp.173-174

  67. #67 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    Geoff I reckon you’re better off adding these bonus points ( morefun, morejobs, morepeace, moresex – give ways of making life worth living without destroying the planet.)as the sugar to help the medicine go down when you recommend all stuff we need to stop.

    Good start.

  68. #68 jakerman
    February 11, 2011

    A very [useful comment](http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/on-peer-review-and-climate-progress/) on O’Donnell’s misunderstanding by the Editor of another top journal.

  69. #69 J Bowers
    February 11, 2011

    4 Sou — “Some people are saying that O’Donnell was just a patsy for McIntyre. I disagree.”

    Not anymore. O’Donnell threw himself under that bus and has been screaming for the bus driver to back up and go forward again.

  70. #70 Geoff Beacon
    February 12, 2011

    jakerman @60

    It took me a while to figure out how you found “morefun, morejobs, morepeace, moresex” because I posted “nobeef,nogas etc” with their urls and got caught by the spam filter. They all can be accessed through http://www.itssimple.org.uk.

    Perhaps it should be itssimpleminded.

  71. #71 John
    February 12, 2011

    A quick search of the internet reveals Geoff has been concern trolling around for years, never taking a firm position on anything but always having so many blessed *concerns* about the conduct of scientists, climate models or the IPCC.

    From what I’ve seen Geoff seems to have accepted global warming (right up to taxing himself) until he discovered the problems with climate modelling and completely changed his mind.

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone speak out of both sides of their mouths this much ever, and whatever position he holds is completely incoherent.

  72. #72 Geoff Beacon
    February 12, 2011

    John @64

    You must have mistaken my meaning. I have been criticising climate models because they underestimate climate change.

    I am not skeptical of the basics of climate change but I am skeptical of main line climate scientists who underestimate the dangers.

  73. #73 Marion Delgado
    February 12, 2011

    Lucia’s blog is stupid and unimportant – her outing herself as what she is is definitely a silver lining here. That said, there are bigger venues to comment at. Big papers’ comments areas, etc. etc.

  74. #74 Fredd
    February 12, 2011

    A couple of years back we wrote a book chapter that the editor sent out for two reviews. One review came back saying the chapter was outstanding, no changes required. I grinned reading the praise.

    The second review came back saying the reviewer was disappointed, we had failed to address points x or y, should have cited A and B, and might consider a different way of describing the whole problem. I frowned reading the criticism.

    I’ve used these two reviews as a teaching point with students. I read the good and bad reviews out loud, and students think at first that my point is to complain about reviewer 2. But then I ask, “Which reviewer really helped us more, and made the chapter better?” They get the point right away.

  75. #75 Jonathan
    February 12, 2011

    As well as being in egregious breach of the general and specific guidance surrounding peer-review, McIntyre and O’Donnell are also breaching copyright law – I am 100% certain that they did not receive permission from either the reviewers or the Editor of their article to publish their writings in public and in full (and for financial self-gain to boot as CA gains money from advertising). The former is unforgivable, the latter is despicable.

  76. #76 Marco
    February 12, 2011

    Jonathan, they received explicit permission by the AMS leadership (through John Nielsen-Gammon) to publish the reviewer comments. Most journals also have a “fair use” policy for publishing the actual article (but not in its final format as published in the journal).

    However, they also received an explicit request to not disclose the name(s) of the reviewer(s). Add that O’Donnell promised Eric Steig he would not disclose this information AND that he would not disclose the full reviewer comments. Thus, any further battle cries by “the Auditors” about supposed unethical behavior has become the shrill cry of a midget attacking an army of giants with a straw: laughable.

  77. #77 trrll
    February 12, 2011

    It’s interesting to note that one of Steig’s criticisms that seems to have particularly enraged O’Donnell was the following

    The use of the ‘iridge’ procedure makes sense to me, and I suspect it really does give the best results. But O’Donnell et al. do not address the issue with this procedure raised by Mann et al., 2008, which Steig et al. cite as being the reason for using ttls in the regem algorithm. The reason given in Mann et al., is not computational efficiency — as O’Donnell et al state — but rather a bias that results when extrapolating (‘reconstruction’) rather than infilling is done. Mann et al. are very clear that better results are obtained when the data set is first reduced by taking the first M eigenvalues. O’Donnell et al. simply ignore this earlier work. At least a couple of sentences justifying that would seem appropriate.

    O’Donnell characterizes this as follows:

    So Eric recommends that we replace our TTLS results with the ridge regression ones (which required a major rewrite of both the paper and the SI) and then agrees with us that the iRidge results are likely to be better . . . and promptly attempts to turn his own recommendation against us.

    As somebody who has read and written many manuscript reviews, I cannot help but see O’Donnell’s response as paranoid. Steig is not attacking O’Donnell for using ridge regression; in fact he agrees with it. He is merely indicating that O’Donnell needs to do a better job of justifying that approach in view of criticisms published previously by others, by adding a couple of sentences

    This is what reviewers call a “minor criticism.” Indeed, most reviewers would not even bother to make such a criticism unless they anticipated that the paper would be published, likely without an additional round of review. And it is the kind of criticism that an author who understands the review process would be grateful to receive. It looks bad to use a technique without adequately addressing criticisms of that approach raised by others, because a reader might conclude that you don’t understand those issues. Steig was doing O’Donnell a favor–not saying that O’Donnell’s approach was wrong, but rather that O’Donnell could do a better job of explaining that choice to the reader by making a small addition to the discussion.

    My interpretation is that Steig felt that O’Donnell’s work had real merit, and wanted to see it published, even though he did not agree with all aspects of O’Donnell’s interpretation. Moreover, it appears that Steig put a great deal of work into helping O’Donnell out. You does not write a lengthy review of a paper unless you feel that there is something in it of real value that is deserving of publication. It’s very time consuming, and it’s pro-bono–the time you spend reviewing comes out of the time you have for the work you are getting paid to do. If you think a paper is garbage, you don’t spend hours picking apart numerous issues; you write a short review of a page or less, mention a couple of issues as “illustrative of the many problems with the manuscript” (without bothering to offer suggestions as to how those problems might be fixed), and in your confidential comments to the editor you state that the paper is without merit.

    Of course, it is not easy to accept criticism when you spent a lot of time writing the best paper you can. I’ve occasionally had to throw away the first draft of my response to reviewers, when on second reading I found what I had written to be…er…less than diplomatic. But experienced scientists develop the capacity to recognize and accept constructive criticism. Unfortunately, it seems that O’Donnell’s unfamiliarity with the peer review process has led him to slap the face of somebody who actually went to a great deal of effort to help him out.

  78. #78 dhogaza
    February 12, 2011

    Unfortunately, it seems that O’Donnell’s unfamiliarity with the peer review process has led him to slap the face of somebody who actually went to a great deal of effort to help him out.

    It’s not every day The Scrubs get a paper into a high-ranked journal, in fact, for RyanO it’s the only day.

    So he’s got himself a once-in-a-lifetime trophy to put on the mantle, and now he’s being told it’s slightly tarnished, and he reads it as being a total rejection of his having won a match at all.

    And, of course, all along the match as RyanO and The Scrubs view it is … “we beat The Team at their own game!”. And by doing so, they’ve proven, of course, that The Team has only won past matches by cheating and buying the refs.

    Now that Steig claims, in essence that it’s a tie – the methodology in both papers have problems, wow, big surprise given what they’re trying to accomplish with such sparse data – they’re blind to the fact that Steig sees the match differently:

    Knowledge is being advanced, thanks RyanO and The Scrubs, and this is a good thing, even though it puts Steig’s methodology on the sidelines, so to speak. From this research move forward as people – including Steig’s group – publish papers in the future. In fact, Steig spoke of even being hopeful of future collaboration before RyanO turned on him.

    Two views. One side’s out to destroy the other side, one side looks at this being life-and-death over a single paper representing the beginning and end of their contribution to science, while that other side looks at O10 and the previous S09 papers mostly as being single steps on the endless treadmill of research and science.

  79. #79 ligne
    February 12, 2011

    > If that research is to be taken seriously by the scientific community then it must be accepted for publication by one of a fairly small number of academic or quasi-academic journals, such as Nature, Science and Scientific American.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKuHYO9TM5A

  80. #80 Jonathan
    February 12, 2011

    @69 Marco

    Sorry, I had not seen that information. In which case I’m afraid the Editor has to take some responsibility for this – did he get approval for this from the reviewers, which would be far more than a professional courtesy and fundamentally required imo? I don’t think I have seen any comment from Eric Steig that he did receive such a request or agree to anything like it. If I was one of the other reviewers and hadn’t been approached to give permission, I would be absolutely livid with the Editor at this point in time.

  81. #81 Bernard J.
    February 12, 2011

    I note that [Lucia is tap-dancing over at Eli's](http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-steve-and-ryan-knew-and-when-they.html).

    I really wish that she’d answer directly the questions that many have put to her: how was what Steig did wrong, and how was what O’Donnell did right?

    Any chance of a response, Lucia?

    Between Lucia and Curry, there are the bones of the contrarians’ version of Riverdance forming. Although Curry especially keeps tripping over her feet as she taps, and she really needs to keep her pet lapdogs off the stage…

  82. #82 Marco
    February 13, 2011

    Jonathan: no, it’s clear they did not ask the reviewers. But here I have to say that there is a much lower expectation that the reviewer comments are kept confidential by the authors. Not a zero-expectation, but much lower than keeping the reviewer name confidential. And reviewers are definately supposed to keep their comments confidential.

  83. #83 Geoff Beacon
    February 13, 2011

    Have Myles Allen and Ray Pierrehumbert underestimated climate change?

    Professor Stephen Salter is not a climate scientist but his letter in the Independent yesterday [Deadly peril of loss of sea ice](http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-arctic-sea-ice-2212525.html) echos my fears

    The area of Arctic sea ice in late summer declined substantially in the decade until 2007 and has been stable since then. But in 2010 the area of sea ice which was more than two years old, and was therefore thin ice, was substantially less than ever before.

    A reasonable judgment is that there is a 40 per cent chance that the sea-ice area will decline significantly to less than 2.5 million sq km in 2011 and a one in three chance the area will fall to less than 2 million sq km as measured by the Cryosphere Today. The minimum ice area in 2010 was 3 million sq km using Cryosphere Today figures.

    Since ice reflects sunlight and water absorbs sunlight, should the ice area decline then the Arctic will warm in late summer. This may well warm the Tundra which will defrost faster than at present. The result will be that the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane will be released into the atmosphere leading to further warming and a runaway greenhouse event and the collapse of civilization.

    We believe that should there be a substantial decline in sea-ice area then by marshalling all the resources of humanity and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions substantially and using geo-engineering, then the global climate and civilization can be saved. We need to be ready to start in autumn 2011 if the situation goes badly in late summer 2011.

    In my earlier post @13 I wrote

    I’ve been worried about climate modelling since I learnt in 2007 that “The CH4 (and CO2) permafrost feedback isn’t included in current EarthSystemModels and it is potentially large but no-one really knows.” As I understand it, these models were used in the Trillion Tonne Scenario.

    But it’s not just the permafrost feedbacks that may be missing from the climate modelling in the Trillion Tonne Scenario:

    ["Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water"](http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6016/450.abstract)

    [Zaehle et al. “Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change”](http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2010/2009GL041345.shtml)

    I’d like to see Allen et. al. and Pierrehumbert et. al. reassess their work. If they have underestimated climate change we should know.

    Do I get any support for this?

    Better still does Stephen Salter get any support?.

    P.S. Bets on [Intrade](http://www.intrade.com) are even more pessimistic than Salter’s about this years Arctic sea ice.

  84. #84 Geoff Beacon
    February 13, 2011

    Have Myles Allen and Ray Pierrehumbert underestimated climate change?

    Professor Stephen Salter is not a climate scientist but his letter in the Independent yesterday [Deadly peril of loss of sea ice](http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-arctic-sea-ice-2212525.html) echos my fears

    The area of Arctic sea ice in late summer declined substantially in the decade until 2007 and has been stable since then. But in 2010 the area of sea ice which was more than two years old, and was therefore thin ice, was substantially less than ever before.

    A reasonable judgment is that there is a 40 per cent chance that the sea-ice area will decline significantly to less than 2.5 million sq km in 2011 and a one in three chance the area will fall to less than 2 million sq km as measured by the Cryosphere Today. The minimum ice area in 2010 was 3 million sq km using Cryosphere Today figures.

    Since ice reflects sunlight and water absorbs sunlight, should the ice area decline then the Arctic will warm in late summer. This may well warm the Tundra which will defrost faster than at present. The result will be that the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane will be released into the atmosphere leading to further warming and a runaway greenhouse event and the collapse of civilization.

    We believe that should there be a substantial decline in sea-ice area then by marshalling all the resources of humanity and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions substantially and using geo-engineering, then the global climate and civilization can be saved. We need to be ready to start in autumn 2011 if the situation goes badly in late summer 2011.

    In my earlier post @13 I wrote

    I’ve been worried about climate modelling since I learnt in 2007 that “The CH4 (and CO2) permafrost feedback isn’t included in current EarthSystemModels and it is potentially large but no-one really knows.” As I understand it, these models were used in the Trillion Tonne Scenario.

    But it’s not just the permafrost feedbacks that may be missing from the climate modelling in the Trillion Tonne Scenario:

    ["Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water"](http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6016/450.abstract)

    [Zaehle et al. “Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change”](http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2010/2009GL041345.shtml)

    I’d like to see Allen et. al. and Pierrehumbert et. al. reassess their work. If they have underestimated climate change we should know.

    Do I get any support for this?

    Better still does Stephen Salter get any support?.

    P.S. Bets on Intrade are even more pessimistic than Salter’s about this years Arctic sea ice.

  85. #85 Jeff Harvey
    February 13, 2011

    *It’s not every day The Scrubs get a paper into a high-ranked journal, in fact, for RyanO it’s the only day*.

    No kidding. The journal has a respectable impact factor (3.6) but that is hardly ‘elite’. In my field (population ecology) there are many journals that are above this. If O’Donnell and Co. or any contrarians for that matter think that getting one article published in a reasonable but hardly Earth-shattering journal is going to change the course of history, they are sadly mistaken. Still, we must remember that the denial camp have a particularly large megaphone from which they shout their arguments (and abuse). Look at some of the shoddy journals they publish in – E & E comes to mind but there are others – yet when a paper is published in one of these journals they shout it from the rooftops and the news is plastered all over the blogosphere. Of course the scientific output of the contrarians is feeble simply because their ‘science’ is feeble. Its hardly a surprise, or at least should not be.

    One thing that HAS happened as a result of Steig’s ‘outing’ as a referee is that the status and significance of the O’Donnell et al. paper has, in my opinion, been blown way out of all proportion. But that’s one big advantage of the blogosphere, given the number of sites plugging conspiracy theories and denialist rhetoric. Every scintilla of evidence they can produce that chips away at the voluminous mass of empirical evidence in support of AGW will be announced with enormous fanfare.

  86. #86 Marco
    February 13, 2011

    Jeff: different fields. Don’t compare impact factors between research fields, it makes you look uninformed (and I know you are not). The Journal of Climate is a top-10 journal in the field of Geosciences, and several of the other higher-ranked journals in the field would be completely irrelevant venues for this paper. I agree with the rest, though.

  87. #87 Neven
    February 13, 2011

    Off-topic @ Geoff Beacon:

    Geoff, one of the other people signing that letter is a certain Veli Albert Kallio whose ideas on Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet are – how shall I put it? – radical. Not that I think his theories are totally bonkers, but I sure hope they are.

    I wrote about a video that features Kallio on my Arctic sea ice blog during last year’s melting season called How’s this for alarmism?

  88. #88 Neven
    February 13, 2011

    Stephen Salter BTW is the man behind the futuristic fleet of cloudseeders.

  89. #89 Thomas Moore
    February 13, 2011

    @ 33 Mapleleaf: Mainly ecological journals (some physiology), loose area is impacts of climate change.

    @ 34 Wow: You’re missing the point, I largely agree with you, Mapleleaf, Tim L etc etc.

  90. #90 Geoff Beacon
    February 14, 2011

    Off-topic @80

    The video you mention seems a bit off-topic to my post, which concerned the Arctic sea-ice not the Greenland ice sheet. Nevertheless, it was interesting and as far as I can tell had its basic facts about the current state of the climate more or less correct. As to its predictions, these are possibilities and should be part of our contingency planning. I am aware however of the recent paper on the Greenland ice sheet [Ice sheets' internal plumbing may slow down glacier flow](http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_11_02_08_en.html&item=Infocentre&artid=19813)

    I would have preferred a different style but I would like to see your commentary.

    But back to the point in question, Arctic sea-ice. Do your think the summer minimum extent will be the lowest ever this year? If you do not you could do nicely on Intrade, where the “betting” that it will be the lowest is 2 to 1 on. I’ve bet $250 that it will be. What are you going to bet?

  91. #91 Geoff Beacon
    February 14, 2011

    Off-topic @80

    I’m getting slower in my old age. I’ve just realised how to find your blog. The Intrade remarks may have been misplaced. A link to the actual posting might help but I’ll track it down later.

    Why not summarise you criticism here?

  92. #92 Wow
    February 14, 2011

    “@ 34 Wow: You’re missing the point, I largely agree with you, Mapleleaf, Tim L etc etc.”

    Fair enough, but your opening remark was easily available as a “Get Of Of Jail Free” for O’Donnell:

    “Hey, it depends on whether the review requires anonymity”

    Which is bollocks because the point is that, no matter WHAT the review requirements are, O’Donnell broke his word and lied. That the review process here required anonymity too merely gives a legal recourse to redress. But it doesn’t make O’Donnell any less of a liar who breaks his oath.

  93. #94 SteveC
    February 14, 2011

    shinsko @ 86, Derry is right on the money for me, and puts the typical peer review process simply and lucidly. I don’t know what O’Donnell & co thought a review of their work would entail, but if they want to get their work published in a decent journal they need to learn that what this paper went through is not at all untypical.

    If their paper hadn’t had the benefit of robust (but accurate) criticism, and assuming it had been published, then it would have had several large holes driven through it by other of their peers in public, and they’d have then been wailing that the reviewer(s) hadn’t done their job properly.

    In any case, even if Steig’s critique had been wrong or OTT, running off to the less salubrious parts of the interwebs and crying “Waaahhh it’s not fair that nasty man made me upset” is hardly the response of a mature, balanced professional scientist who wants to be taken seriously.

  94. #95 SteveC
    February 14, 2011

    ^^^ Forgot to add ^^^

    It isn’t hard to find information on the rules for submitting papers to journals, and it isn’t hard to find good solid information on peer review. What is hard to find are the “rules” governing “blog review” (other than Shub’s comment that “there are no such things as blog rules” happens to be an accurate characterization of ‘blog rules”). The funny thing about that is how inconsistently applied the “there are no rules” rule is.

    Call me hidebound and unimaginative, but on matters of scientific substance I think I’ll stick with the traditional method, for all its faults.

  95. #96 Vince whirlwind
    February 14, 2011

    Can I ask a silly question, which may have been answered before but – who is O’Donnell?
    Where does he work?
    What are his qualifications and where did he get them?
    What has he published?
    I tried googling but I am still none the wiser as to who he is.

  96. #97 Shinsko
    February 14, 2011

    Vince – you can go to Dot Earth again, scroll down [this post](http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/on-warming-antarctica-clouds-and-peer-review/)

    A sample,

    >As you may suspect, I also am not an academic. My present occupation is vertically integrating metal injection molding for a medical device company….

    >My educational background is a bachelor’s degree in physics from the United States Naval Academy. Following graduation, I served on nuclear submarines, and, upon completing my obligation, moved to the civilian sector working as an engineer for a medical device company. While my primary interest in climate is the temperature indices and the paleoclimate reconstructions and not the cryosphere, Antarctica presented an opportunity to become more familiar with the differences between near-surface air temperature measurements and satellites as well as the RegEM algorithm that has been used for several important paleoclimate studies.

    >If I may, I would like to add some commentary about what our goals were with the paper…

  97. #98 Vince whirlwind
    February 14, 2011

    Ah, thanks Shinsko.

    I’ve nothing against a gifted amateur putting some work into an area that is only very thinly covered so far, but the fact he associates with McIntyre (who is a transparent bullshit-artist) is an immediate black mark against him.

    Then the rest of this ridiculous brouhaha just serves to confirm that, despite the fact his paper is an amazingly unique example of contrarians actually contributing to the sum of our knowledge.

  98. #99 Jeff Harvey
    February 15, 2011

    I totally agree with you, Vince. Why associate yourself with contrarians and shills?

    I looked up O’Donnell’s name on the Web of Science and got 0 hits. This is not to say that, as a keen amateur, he cannot contribute to the debate on climate change. But his behavior, in my opinion, reeks of inexperience, of someone not apparently very used to the peer-review process. God forbid if I felt the need to ‘out’ my referees every time I felt I had received a bad review of my papers. And in this case, the review wasn’t at all bad, just thorough.

    One thing, as I said a few days back, is that the denial lobby crave attention that they do not get in scientific circles, mostly because their ‘science’ is virtually invisible. Like the creation lobby, their tactic is not to conduct original research, but to take the published findings of existing research and to continually poke holes in it until they are sure that they have debunked it. The same thing has been done by a number of well-known contrarians in fields related to my own research in an attempt to donwplay extinction rates and effects on the natural and material economies. And there is certainly a strong connection amongst the climate change denial lobby and those dismissing a range of other anthropogenic threats across the biosphere. Before becoming a climate-change denier, Morano was writing pieces downplaying the rate of forest loss in the Amazon. And we all know Milloy’s denial covers a gamut of areas.

  99. #100 Hank Roberts
    February 15, 2011

    Aside — truly off topic, responding to the above digressions:

    How about a topic on betting/climate markets and ways to influence opinion/odds by using science blogs? E.g. see http://bb.intrade.com/intradeForum/posts/list/30/4479.page

Current ye@r *