Frontiers Editor Ugo Bardi Resigns Over Recursive Fury Botch Job

Ugo Bardi is a scientist who until a few moments ago served as Chief Specialty Editor at the journal Frontiers. As you know, Frontiers has recently retracted a perfectly good paper, initially indicating that the retraction was due to pressure from the climate science denialist community, who did not like the paper because it was about them. Later, Frontiers changed its tune and claimed that the paper was retracted because of ethical violations of the authors, even though the journal had earlier clearly stated that there were no issues, ethical or otherwise, with the paper. I talk about this here.

Bardi has resigned over this kerfuffle. Bardi mentions the contrasting positions by Frontiers on this paper, and also points to recent trouble foisted on Lawrence Torcello by the science denialist community. Bardi then states:

The climate of intimidation which is developing nowadays risks to do great damage to climate science and to science in general. I believe that the situation risks to deteriorate further if we all don't take a strong stance on this issue. Hence, I am taking the strongest action I can take, that is I am resigning from "Chief Specialty Editor" of Frontiers in protest against the behavior of the journal in the "Recursive Fury" case. I sent to the editors a letter today, stating my intention to resign.

Ugo is being very brave here, because now that he has taken this action he may well be next on the list for the climate science denialists to go after. Of course, I have a feeling he's been in that position before because he is a strong and articulate spokesperson for climate science.

Bardi also notes something that I've also been concerned about. He and I are big supporters of OpenAccess journals. Frontiers is a major player in that area, and I saw their acquisition a while back by Nature Publishing Group as an excellent move in the direction of increased OpenAccess publication. I don't assume that there is a connection between being OpenAccess and BoneHeaded. But this, as Bardi says, may be a bit of a setback for this important movement.

Ugo, thank you for your service and your bravery.

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Well, Greg, thanks. Then, I have activated comment moderation on my blog :-) . Let's see what happens.....

By Ugo Bardi (not verified) on 08 Apr 2014 #permalink

Doing what I have been doing, I have always used comment moderation, which seems to deter most of the rabid sort.

Bravo Professor Bardi! Bravo!

By Larry Oliver (not verified) on 08 Apr 2014 #permalink

Thank you Ugo for your outstanding work over the years, and your continued striving for the facts, wherever and however they may be found. Carry on, my good man

By Will Stewart (not verified) on 08 Apr 2014 #permalink

even though the journal had earlier clearly stated that there were no issues, ethical or otherwise

It will be interesting to see how they spin the most recent statement in light of one quoted here: in short - how will they defend the current comment that there were issues with the paper when they previously stated none existed? If they claim they've discovered something new it makes their previous ``investigation'' look shoddy; if they say nothing else to support the new decision they simply look suspicious.
Either action leaves them in bad light.

I too would like to commend Ugo Bardi for his actions and wish him well in the future. I hope he is not the recipient of any negative attentions or actions for this.

Right on, Ugo!, and your action is going to do more for the authors of that paper than even if it was published without any controversy.

Serious suggestion: The badguys will probably try to hack you and get at your email and financials, so change _all_ of your passwords: email, bank accounts, everything, right now. Use strong passwords (keyword search "strong passwords" for suggestions) and don't use the same password or a close variation for more than one account.

It's hard to foresee which events will add up to a tipping point at which the world gets serious about the climate crisis. But putting the issue of denialist conspiracy-thinking front and center will certainly help bring it about sooner.

Yep. We live in hard times. I should do something like that.

By Ugo Bardi (not verified) on 09 Apr 2014 #permalink

In reply to by G (not verified)

I always use passwords that are the names of my pets.

But then my pets are always given names with no fewer than 18 letters including a mix of symbols and upper and lower case and I change their names twice a month.

In any case, if they hack my mail, they will have to translate a lot from Italian!

Also, probably I should rename my dog from "Gea" to "Rosamundthethird"

By Ugo Bardi (not verified) on 09 Apr 2014 #permalink

I see that Frontiers is owned by NPG. That actually explains a lot.

By daedalus2u (not verified) on 09 Apr 2014 #permalink

I'm not sure if it explains anything in this case. Frontiers was independent, and NGS bought over 50% of it, so they own it. But that was recent and I would not assume that there has been any insertion of management or policy from NGS to Frontiers. This sort of thing is not a Nature thing to do; they've been publishing a lot of stuff for a long time much of it subject to this kind of shenanigans and Nature does not have a track record of doing this sort of thing.

My guess would be that the situation is a bit different, that Nature Publishing Group (and the grand old houses like Nature, etc.) are going to look at this askance. One would hope, anyway.