the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Can we now agree that the climate peer review process is biased?

Posted by Jeff Id on September 3, 2011

Think anyone feels the heat?

UPDATE #3: At the end of the Guardian article, it says Andy Dessler has a paper coming out in GRL next week, supposedly refuting our recent paper. This has GOT to be a record turnaround for writing a paper and getting it peer reviewed. And, as usual, we NEVER get to see papers that criticize our work before they get published.

Spencer’s announcement that his paper was published July 25, 2011.   GRL rebuttal will be published next week Sept 10 2011, senior editor preemptively resigns.  What is that, about 6 weeks from publication to accepted rebuttal.    Talk about fast tracking.

I wonder if anyone from AR5 felt the heat from Spencers results.  How about a show of hands, which editor would like to publish Dr. Spencer’s inevitable reply?



71 Responses to “Can we now agree that the climate peer review process is biased?”

  1. But is it true? Here is a list of GRL papers accepted since July 7. I can’t see any by Dessler.

    I’d wait to see it appear before passing judgment.

  2. Yes, indeed, peer review is biased, and has been for decades.

    I managed to work around that by sending manuscripts to editors who wanted the truth out, in spite of increasing pressure to hide evidence that Earth’s heat source is not a steady H-fusion reactor.

    The number of “balls in the air” or pieces of experimental data to hide since Henry Kissinger and Chairman Mao agreed to the SSM dogma in 1971 has steadily increased:

    1972a: Evidence of mass separation in the Sun

    1972b: Evidence fresh stellar debris formed meteorites

    1975: Evidence primordial He is labelled with excess Xe-136

    1976: Evidence O-16 characterizes meteorite/planet types

    1983: Evidence interior of Sun is Fe, O, Ni, Si, S, Mg, like Earth

    Etc., etc., etc

    Today: Evidence of neutron repulsion in all nuclear rest mass data

    The task of deception gets ever more difficult.

    All who have been down that path will work for reconciliation.

  3. HaroldW said

    From Dr. Dressler’s webpage:
    •Dessler, A.E., Are clouds causing climate change? Geophys. Res. Lett., submitted

    Perhaps this is the paper to which Leo Hickman was referring in the Guardian article.

    Incidentally, did anyone notice that in the aforementioned Guardian article, the reference to GRL links to John Abraham’s bio? As it turns out, this is probably just a cut-and-paste error, since Abraham was the prior link, but I found it a little funny. Doesn’t take much to amuse me, obviously.

  4. MikeN said

    Had I known that
    it would take nearly two months until we received a complete set of
    review comments, I would not have submitted our paper to IJoC.

  5. MikeN said

    That was from Ben Santer, who also wrote

    Dr. Kinne writes the following:

    “If someone wishes to criticise a published paper s/he must present facts and
    arguments and give criticised parties a chance to defend their position.” The
    irony here is that in our own experience, the “criticised parties” (i.e., Tom
    and I) were NOT allowed to defend their positions.

    Based on Kinne’s editorial, I see little hope for more enlightened editorial
    decision making at Climate Research.

    Does GRL wish to go the same way?

  6. MikeN said

    ‘I don’t think it’s a good strategy to submit a response to the Douglass
    et al. paper to the International Journal of Climatology (IJC). As Phil
    pointed out, IJC has a large backlog, so it might take some time to get
    a response published. Furthermore, Douglass et al. probably would be
    given the final word.’

    I’m guessing they don’t want to comment at Remote Sensing.

  7. stan said


    Whole different can of worms, but isn’t it likely that AR5 will prove to be a waste of time? By now, the IPCC is taking on so much water it will end up with the Titanic. I just don’t think it will have any significance.

    Sort of like Obama’s budget that was voted down 98-0 in the Senate this year. They’ll crank something out, the alarmist politicos will screech and swoon, but the world has moved on. When it comes to credibility, the IPCC is Oakland — there’s no there there.

  8. HaroldW said

    Nick –
    Further to your comment in #1, Peter Gleick writes “I know that at least one peer-reviewed rebuttal is coming out in GRL next week…”

  9. Alan D McIntire said

    I admit this is an ” English language” troll piece, but it ticks me off that a smart guy like Pielke Sr would use language like

    “E-Mail Interaction Between Peter Gleick And I”, and he’s not the only one. Network newscasters on national stations have screwed up equally bad or worse.

    Most of us use singulars correclty,. Where we screw up is in compound objects like ” he and I”, or “him and me”.

    To figure which is correct, in your mind substitute the single pronoun “we, I” or “us, me”.

    “Give it to me”, or “Give it to I”, Obvously the plural would be” Give it to Gleick and me.”

    “E-Mail interaction between we”, or “E-mail action between us”. You all know which is correct usage, so obviously Pielke Sr should have titled this
    “E=Mail interaction between Gleick and me.”

  10. […] Can we now agree that the climate peer review process is biased? Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  11. #2, #8
    There are three possibilities:
    1. Jeff’s speculation is right, and the JGR list of approved papers has gaps.
    2. There is a paper coming from Dessler (as per #2) in the next week, but it hasn’t been accelerated – so presumably not a direct response to SB11 (also consistent with #2)
    3. There is a response comming from Dessler, but not next week
    or I guess none of these could be true. And of course 2&3 could both be true.

    But in answer to the post title – no, we can’t now agree. Need some facts.

  12. #11 I agree. But then if JeffID is correct and they have fast tracked a response with friendly review, will you admit that Jeff’s speculation is correct, or are you going to try to weasel??

  13. MikeN said

    I think RealClimate’s posts on the hockey stick still have a coming soon with regards to Wahl & Ammann.

  14. Mark T said

    Of course Nick is trying to weasel. That’s what he is and what he does. Everything the Team does is above reproach. Every situation that would otherwise make them look bad can be contrived in such a manner that Nick finds palpable, and thus must defend. Pathetic.


  15. Bruce said

    I was thumbing through a science book the other day and came across an article on ethics and peer review and funnily enough in really really small print there was a comment from Nick Stokes denying that the hockey team was unethical and one from Joshua that just said “Denier”.

  16. Frank K. said

    It has been clearly evident to me, since the release of the infamous climategate e-mails, that the elites have irrevocably damaged the peer review process in climate science.

    Of course the whole enterprise reeks of the stench of politics (especially when it comes to funding) – and I suspect when the political landscape changes dramatically in the U.S. in 2012, some climate scientists will be looking for a new line of work…

  17. j ferguson said

    Alan M. I had assumed from reading his work that English was not Roger Sr’s first language. I sometimes wonder about Jr especially when I cannot make sense of his prose – specifically his conjecturing over the distinction between fraud and fudging.

  18. PaulM said

    It looks like GRL might have an accelerated ‘wave-through’ process for papers from certain individuals. The paper “Sea glacier flow and dust transport on Snowball Earth” by Li and Pierrehumbert (of RC) published on Sep 3, was received 20 July and accepted 1 Aug! That’s quite a rapid review process.

    It will be interesting to see if the Dessler paper does come out this week, queue-jumping all the other papers in the GRL accepted list.

  19. I published papers in Geophysical Research Letters before I realized that the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is controlled by the Geophysics branch of the National Academy of Sciences (GPNAS).

    That group seems to have been put in charge of promoting the 1971 Kissinger/Mao agreement that [1] that a.) Earth’s heat source is a steady H-fusion reactor (SSM model) that b.) Cannot cause climate change (AGW model).

    Many fields– astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle, planetary and solar sciences– have been seriously compromised since 1971 [2]: Earth’s heat source is a.) Unsteady, b.) Neutron repulsion, c.) Not H-fusion, and d.) Unpredictable (even by Big Brother and Associates)

    Today, change is In the wind!

    NASA has promised to provide videos of the Sun – from its quietest period in years to the activity marking the beginning of solar cycle 24:

    Then observations will decide the validity of:

    a.) The Standard Solar Model (SSM) of the Sun
    b.) The model of CO2-Induced Warming (AGW)

    1. “Deep Roots of Climategate” (2011):

    Click to access 20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

    2. “Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011):

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  20. #18 PaulM
    JGR is explicitly a rapid publication journal. They brag in this editorial:
    “Publication is indeed rapid. For the past 3 years we have maintained an effi cient review process, with a median time to fi rst decision of 36 days and, for 50% of accepted papers, an average time from submission to publication of 13.5 weeks.”

  21. #20 Nick Stokes,

    You quote them bragging about 13.5 WEEKS not 12 DAYS!!

  22. Re: kuhnkatkuhnkat (Sep 5 15:58),
    KKKK, you’ve mismatched the figures, 36 days to first decision is the one you want, not 13.5 weeks.

  23. Steven Mosher said

    “JGR is explicitly a rapid publication journal. They brag in this editorial:
    “Publication is indeed rapid. For the past 3 years we have maintained an effi cient review process, with a median time to fi rst decision of 36 days and, for 50% of accepted papers, an average time from submission to publication of 13.5 weeks.””

    T0; submission
    T1: first decision 5 weeks

    T2: publication 13.5 weeks

    Well we know that they claim they can get a review done in 2 weeks.

    Roy’s published : 25 July 2011

    And its been what ? not even 40 days?

    I think that once it get’s published, if it addresses Roy’s paper directly and cites it, then you got a oddity houston.

    The median time to first decision is 36 days. The average time to publication is 13.5 weeks.

    They claim reviews as fast as two weeks.

    Time to crunch data on GRL papers and see what the shortest time to press was.

  24. boballab said

    It has been mentioned at least once in this thread that Andy Dessler is the one coming out with a paper in GRL. Now this is just conjecture on my part, but it might be possible that this paper was started due to the email debate Andy Dessler had with Roy Spencer starting way back in Dec of 2010, shortly after Dessler’s paper in Science magazine which Roy critiqued on his blog and actually has nothing to do with Spencer and Braswell 2011.

    Lets start at the beginning with Roy’s critique of Dessler 2010 on Dec 9, 2010:

    That critique sparked the debate which can be seen here:

    Now one interesting fact about that debate is who was copied into it:

    The e-mail debate, which is still in progress, has been cc’d to a variety of people, the more recognizable addresses being:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    This debate continued into January 2011 where you had these posts by Roy:

    Now why is all that possibly germane? Because the Spencer and Braswell 2011 paper was written as a refutation of Dessler’s 2010 Science paper:

    Well, our paper entitled On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance which refutes Dessler’s claim, has just been accepted for publication.

    If you hit that link it shows the date SB 2011 was accepted for publication: July 15, 2011 now hit the link to Desslers webpage that lists his papers and you see the ones for 2011:

    Complete List of Publications

    Schoeberl, M. R., and A. E. Dessler, Dehydration of the stratosphere, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, doi: 10.5194/acp-11-8433-2011, 8433-8446. Reprint
    Wang, T. and A.E. Dessler, Analysis of cirrus in the tropical tropopause layer from CALIPSO and MLS data – A water perspective, J. Geophys. Res., submitted.
    Dessler, A.E., Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget, Geophys. Res. Lett., accepted.

    Notice that the GRL paper is the bottom one on the list. So if the papers are added as they are written/submitted that means the GRL paper was the earliest of his this year and I doubt that he wrote 2 papers in quick succession in less then 3 months. So the simplest explanation is that Andy Dessler came up with the idea for the GRL paper back around the January/February 2011 time frame after his email debate with Roy wrote it and submitted it prior to the SB 2011 paper. It is also likely that since the SB 2011 paper was being written as a refutation to the Dessler 2010 paper Roy might have given Dessler an advanced copy out of professional courtesy.

    I think it will turn out that the claims of a paper coming out from Dessler in GRL as a rebuttal of the SB 2011 paper to be either a strawman or a plain misunderatnading by the Guardian reporter.

  25. Hello editors out there ….

    I’d be happy to review the Dressler paper, if there is one. Or the response from SB, if any. Or both.
    Jeff has my contact details.

    I’m an untainted reviewer.

  26. Typo Dessler.

  27. steve fitzpatrick said

    John #12,

    will you admit that Jeff’s speculation is correct, or are you going to try to weasel??

    Since, unlike Lucia, Jeff does not object to rhetorical questions, let me reply to your question with a suitable rhetorical one: “Do grizzly bears live in the forest?”

  28. Fielding Norris said

    I certainly see the Dessler paper listed:

    Dessler, A. E.
    Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget
    Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2011GL049236, in press.
    [Abstract] [PDF] (accepted 29 August 2011)

  29. Fielding Norris said

    Of course the link to abstract returns ‘Document not found’. Would I be too cynical in thinking the Team is still writing it?

  30. #28
    Yes, they seem to have added some new ones.

  31. HaroldW said

    Looking at a few of the most recently accepted entries at GRL, the time lag from submittal to acceptance is very short, averaging perhaps a month. The record (aside from a Correction) seems to be “Tropical Stratospheric Cloud climatology from the PATMOS-x dataset – an assessment of convective contributions to stratospheric water”, which indicates “Received 24 August 2011; accepted 25 August 2011.”

    Based on its number (which seems to indicate the order in which submissions are received), the Dessler paper would have been submitted between 8 August and 12 August inclusive. Of the last 20 papers in GRL’s “accepted list” (well, 19 not counting Dessler’s), 4 were more recent. So Dessler’s paper certainly went quickly through the GRL review process, but is only at around the 80th percentile for speed.

  32. PaulM said

    OK, so the claim from the Trenberth Abraham & Gleick letter that
    “On Tuesday the journal Geophysical Research Letters will publish a peer-reviewed study by … Andrew Dessler”
    turns out to be a misleading exaggeration (whoda thought, from those guys!)

    In fact when the said ‘publish’ they meant ‘put on the in press list’. The publication date will be about another month.

  33. HaroldW said

    Dessler’s response to SB11 “Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget” is now available online to AGU members. Abstract:

    The question of whether clouds are the cause of surface temperature changes, rather than acting as a feedback in response to those temperature changes, is explored using data obtained between 2000 and 2010. An energy budget calculation shows that the energy trapped by clouds accounts for little of the observed climate variations. And observations of the lagged response of top-of-atmosphere (TOA) energy fluxes to surface temperature variations are not evidence that clouds are causing climate change.

    “Received 11 August 2011; accepted 29 August 2011.”

  34. HaroldW said

    Dessler’s response to SB11 is available here.

  35. kuhnkat said

    Ok little Nicky,

    “Re: kuhnkatkuhnkat (Sep 5 15:58),
    KKKK, you’ve mismatched the figures, 36 days to first decision is the one you want, not 13.5 weeks.”

    Heck, I even mismatch my socks when I wear them. Color blind helps doncha know. We will see when it is actually published.

    36 days to first decision.

    From the paper:

    Received: 24 May 2011; in revised form: 13 July 2011 / Accepted: 15 July 2011 /
    Published: 25 July 2011

    Gotta admit they are pretty fast and so are the reviewers and S&B. Looks like 51 days from receipt to reviewed and turned around then another 2 days for acceptance and 10 more for publishing or a total of 63 days from receipt.

    From the GRL page:

    Dessler, A. E.

    Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget

    Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2011GL049236, in press.

    [Abstract] [PDF] (accepted 29 August 2011)

    From the abstract:

    Received 11 August 2011; accepted 29 August 2011.

    That is even faster!! I kinda dumb at math among other things, but, 29-11=18. OOps, 2 weeks and 4 days.

    I guess you will have to explain the terminology and how it works in publishing. I don’t think I understand what is meant by First Decision. Any way I see it is about 2 weeks, 18 days to be precise, for EVERYTHING!!!

    Now what was your comparison again??

  36. KKKK #35,
    Yes, it was fast. Upper quartile, according to HaroldW’s arithmetic, which seems right. In this case, as in many, first decision meant acceptance.

    AFAIK it isn’t published yet, just in press. Remember, GRL is a print journal.

  37. I agree with comment #9. That bugged me too. More than the content. 🙂

  38. Mark T said

    Kuhnkat… Negative something days to the first correction before publication. Naw, no bias there.


  39. Carrick said

    Nick Stokes:

    AFAIK it isn’t published yet, just in press. Remember, GRL is a print journal.

    I have an electronic copy already. So do many other people. As to upper quartile, I’d bet top 5%.

    Care to prevaricate some more?

    This was as obvious a “fix was in” as I’ve ever seen. It makes the people involved look really, really… slimy.

    Which sucks for all of us, because it smears legitimate science as well as PR driven bullshit like this.

  40. Jeff Id said


    And what reeeeally sucks is that the disagreement is over a damned shotgun pattern. Can you imagine anything more stupid in your lives?

    Nick can’t disagree with that.

    I can statistically prove that this data means ___________________.


    The stats are very delicate at best, for a ‘retraction’, ‘resignation’, ‘refutation’ or anything else to occur, you have to have proof.

    The hardest words for climate science come to mind —– NOBODY KNOWS.

  41. Re: Carrick (Sep 8 23:19),
    “I have an electronic copy already.”
    I believe you don’t. But my point was relating this date of appearance to the quoted mean 13.5 weeks to publication. They are different things.

  42. “Nick can’t disagree with that.”
    No, I don’t. And nor does Dessler:
    “Obviously, the correlation between ΔR_cloud and ΔT_s is weak (r2 = 2%), meaning that factors other than T_s are important in regulating ΔR_cloud. An example is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (7), which has a strong impact on ΔR_cloud but no effect on ΔT_s. This does not mean that ΔTs exerts no control on ΔR_cloud, but rather that the influence is hard to quantify because of the influence of other factors. As a result, it may require several more decades of data to significantly reduce the uncertainty in the inferred relationship.”

    You need to see who’s arguing what. LC etc are saying there’s a big negative cloud feedback which counters water vapor. Dessler is saying – well we should be able to see it here, but it’s not very clear, and if there is a relation, it isn’t large negative.

  43. Carrick said


    I believe you don’t.

    Oddly I’m looking at it. Must be hallucinating. Unless your point is he is going to make corrections, before the final print copy appears, that would have been caught in the peer review process, had it received a proper peer review.

    But yes as an AGU member, I do have a copy of the electronic version of the paper.

    It’s actually worse to argue that the paper copy will be different, because all that means is that you can say whatever you want in the electronic copy (including gratuitous ad homs), and everybody remembers those…even if they get removed by the time it gets to print.

    Making substantive changes to galley proofs, in my experience, is highly unusual. I know many editors who would disallow that for exactly this reason.

  44. Carrick said

    Just a followup on that comment: The main point of galleys is to catch “errors in translation” by the journal as your paper gets translated from whatever format you supply to the format it will appear in print as.

    If you discover substantive errors in your paper, after the review process is completed, you normally have two choices: 1) retract the paper and resubmit it, 2) or publish an erratum describing the errors. Modifying the paper without going through the peer review process is technically an ethics violation.

    This “blotting out of mistakes” between acceptance and appearance of dead-tree version is very anti-scientific process and IMO unethical behavior (unless e.g. the redacted text is included e.g., with strike-through to make clear what changes had occurred).

  45. Carrick,
    According to the WUWT link, Spencer claimed to have been misrepresented and Dessler agreed to make changes prior to publication. How he squares that with the journal editors I don’t know, but he can’t do it solo.

  46. PaulM said

    According to the underlined comments at Spencer’s blog, (see update # 2 on his ‘good, bad and ugly’ thread) Dessler is planning to introduce several significant changes into the paper. To do this at the proof stage is quite unprofessional, as Carrick says. The correct thing to do would be to ask the editors to withdraw the paper, revise it carefully and then re-submit it for review.

    This higlights the accuracy of Jeff’s original point in this post, about the failure of the fast-track ‘pal review’ process.

  47. #46
    No the correct and sensible thing is for him to say to the Journal, “Spencer has asked for this change – OK by me – what do you think?”. It’s their decision, not his or yours.

  48. curious said

    47 – Nick – do you think that the paper’s reviewers should be asked for their views on any proposed revisions?

  49. steve fitzpatrick said


    Seems to me it would depend on the nature of the changes. If it is only removing “I hear Spencer regularly beats his wife (personal communication),” then probably the reviewers don’t need to be involved. Substantive changes? For sure.

  50. # 48 I’d imagine a Journal would probably ask reviewers about anything scientifically substantial, However reviewers are only advisers to editors, who have to make the final decision.

  51. HaroldW said

    “Dallas” had a funny comment at Dr. Curry’s blog:

    Dressler and Spencer should co-write a paper to get on the same page if they can find a stats guy with poor hearing.

    Apparently it’s happening without the aid of a deaf statistician.

  52. Andrew said

    49, 50-It looks like Dessler is going to be changing some of his numbers, in other words, the science, not just his mischaracterizing statements:

    Note the underlined parts. If subsequent blog discussions are leading to changes in the numbers in a paper that is “in press” (ie accepted and on it’s way to “official” publication) clearly it should have undergone a longer, more rigorous peer review process to catch and correct mistakes before acceptance!

    The importance of getting a rebuttal to Spencer and Braswell on the record clearly overrode sound judgment and the normal scientific process.

  53. Anonymous said

    #52 Spencer should have been a reviewer as a check on the pitfalls of a fast tracked review process.

  54. Layman Lurker said

    #53 was me.

  55. Andrew said

    54-Actually, usually you deliberately want to avoid bringing in any interested parties who might want to see a particular paper contrary to their POV not published. I agree reviewers should have caught mistakes. But it would be nice if there were smart enough reviewers that were not interested parties that could catch these things.

    IFF Dessler’s reviewers were at least neutral, without being contra (Spencer) they should have been able to catch mistakes. That they didn’t means either A) They were not competent to address the issues, or to review this kind of work at all in fact, and other reviewers should have been chosen, or B) They were biased pro, and therefore didn’t bother with the usual scientific rigor because it was vital for the paper to get published to rebut Spencer post haste! Naturally reviewers biased pro should not be involved in the process either.

    Of course, given the nature of this field and inherent controversy, truly disinterested parties may not actually exist! What to do then? I don’t know, but I do know it means that unbiased science is impossible in such an environment.

  56. Bad Andrew said

    This has got to be part of the Great AGW Climbdown. It HAS to be. It’s too silly to be anything else. 😉


  57. Layman Lurker said

    #55 There are issues both ways and of course Spencer would be biased. However the author has some perspective that can only be had from working through a project that the other reviewers don’t. IOW he is in a position to offer critical counter arguments which may not be apparent to other reviewers – especially in a fast tracked process. The editor should be able to able to intervene if bias becomes obstruction. I thought it was perfectly logical, for example, that Steig was a reviewer of O10.

  58. Andrew said

    57-As long as one’s critics are not given “veto power” over acceptance, I guess it is okay. I just worry about anyone’s critics preventing work from getting published at all. I think that this happens a lot with skeptical papers. But as long as they can’t veto publication, it is okay…

  59. NIck #45, #47, #50. In #12 I asked if JeffID was correct about his speculation would you admit it or weasel. You stated you would admit it; others stated that you would weasel. By what has been put up by WUWT, and Carrick’s AGU paper, changes are being made that show that the pal reveiw is biased. If you want to continue along this vein, then when the publication shows the changes as has been shown or stated here, and I note that you argue the “law” rather than the facts, I must ask what would it take you to agree to Jeff’s speculation. You stated you would, but no details. I think it only fair that you state the details, since valid comments are getting conditional exceptions, speculation, and special pleading on your part in defense of the peer reveiwed activities that Jeff questioned. Otherwise, it is not mere speculation that you are weasling. Carrick and Andrew are correct in the accepted methodology that is implied in Jeff’s original speculation of the condition of peer reveiw. This is what the skeptics, such as Spencer, have had to go through. Please note the tense. This is not what the evidence has shown that Dessler has to go through. Note also the tense.

  60. LL, #53, #57
    I agree, and so do many editors. If there are going to be arguments, get them over before publication. That’s why having the target of criticism as a referee is a common practice.

  61. #59 John
    Sorry, I didn’t understand that very well. I don’t see what you are now claiming as biased review. I haven’t read the whole thread at WUWT, just the head post. But it seems that Spencer has made some objections and Dessler says he’ll try to accommodate them. The journal or its referees haven’t been involved.

    Personally, I think the journal should not allow changes. This isn’t from some grand scientific principle, but as a matter of practicality. If they do, they’ll be in danger of adding a whole new open review stage following acceptance. That’s not good for any journal, let alone one aiming for fast publication.

    But I don’t presume to tell journals how to run their business.

  62. steve fitzpatrick said

    I agree with you on that (which is rare). It is indeed a common practice…. except for climate science, whenever folks like Christy, Spencer, Lindzen, etc. are the authors who’s work is being challenged. Then every effort is made to keep them 100% out of the process, and worse, to make sure they can’t ever reply via publication to a “refutation”. Then the folks are Real Climate will say “See, Spencer is so wrong that couldn’t even get his reply published.” It is one of the most ugly, corrupt sides of climate science, and it needs to change.

  63. timetochooseagain said

    Don’t journals usually ask for lists of people who you think can’t be objective? Would the person you are criticizing likely be on the top of such a list? I’m not endorsing such a practice, I just seem to recall hearing somewhere that journals tend to do that.

  64. HaroldW said

    Dessler’s paper was 18 days from submittal to approval (11 Aug -> 29 Aug). Based on the Dessler/Spencer conversation, it seems that the review did not dig deeply. One is reminded of Phil Jones’ statement that reviewers of data analysis papers did not ask for his data.

    More generally, I wonder about the quality of reviews at a “rapid publication” periodical such as Geophysical Research Letters. While we view the Dessler review as likely superficial, what can we say about the review of this paper which was turned around in one day: “Received 24 August 2011; accepted 25 August 2011.” Or this one which needed only two days: “Received 24 August 2011; accepted 26 August 2011.”

    Now most GRL papers take over a month, but the haste of the above two can only be described as unseemly. Can there be any substantial review in something so hurried?

  65. steve fitzpatrick said

    TTCA # 63,

    The person who’s work is being questioned is indeed less likely to be 100% objective (an unattainable goal for anyone, IMO). The problem is resolved if the identity of such obviously hostile reviewers is not hidden. It is the Steig/O’Donnell situation that needs to be avoided. If Eric knew his identity would be known to all, then maybe he would have been a little more constructive/cooperative. But then again, maybe not; some will be so hostile that the only reasonable course is to discount what they say about a paper that questions their earlier work.

  66. Well Nick it is easy. JeffID stated I asked in #12, “#11 I agree. But then if JeffID is correct and they have fast tracked a response with friendly review, will you admit that Jeff’s speculation is correct, or are you going to try to weasel??”
    What has been shown with the mistakes is that it has been fast tracked or the peer reveiwers of Dessler are incompetent, in that they allowed a now admitted ad hom; plus are now changing a published article to be changed outside of the normal methodology. This is incredible, meaning if you claim this it means you are incredible, meaning not credible to be believed. It is admittedly a friendly response when they allow Dessler to ad hom, an absolute no-no in a peer reveiwed science article. That it occurred so quickly with such poor peer reveiw is by definition either a confirmation of Jeff’s speculation or that peer reveiw for the “team” or others is essentially worthless in that now they are changing the electronic publication. It was stated, as such, a publication by the AGU as Carrick has pointed out. This allowing of change is a defacto admission of error on a fast tracked article. It is defacto fast tracked becasue of the ad hom error. This is because the definition of peer reveiw has been accepted as no patently obvious errors or fallacies, such as ad hom attacks. If you wish to define peer reveiw to include such poor workmanship, you are simply defining peer reveiwed as worthless. Not only should most if not all scientists castigate you for such an inferred claim, but the hsitorical record of peer reveiw disagrees strongly with such a claim. Further, you give ammunition to all the Luddites who wish to destroy science because they don’t like what it says since you are by deferring your admission supporting the position of ad hom attacks and errors as being equal to a stately, scientific, peer reveiwed system.

    So, are you going to admit to Jeff was correct to the specualtion as I requested as you claimed you would, or are you going to weasel?

  67. Carrick said


    # 48 I’d imagine a Journal would probably ask reviewers about anything scientifically substantial, However reviewers are only advisers to editors, who have to make the final decision.

    If the reviewers are as irrelevant to the process as you are blithely suggesting, perhaps just get rid of them entirely?

    In any case, I’m not sure how your “defense” is supposed to make any of them look better. Think about it…. rushed to press, now the editors are allowing revision to a paper without the advice of the people who were chosen to screen it, and to enable the author (and them) to have less egg on his face.

    What an ugly, nasty mess.

  68. “now the editors are allowing revision to a paper…”

    You don’t know any of that. All you know is that Spencer has objected to something and Dessler said he’ll try to do something about it. There has been no involvement of GRL.

    As to referees being dispensable, well, yes. The editor calls on them for advice, as they think they need. As HaroldW has documented, there have clearly been cases (not in his sample involving climate science) where GRL editors must have made the decision themselves.

  69. And Nick, the other thread is about gone. I did not find where pressure was put on editors in the climategate email. But then the searchable one I used on the net I can’t find. The quotes I have found was the pressure and the pal reveiw that the team was giving skeptics on the one hand and favourable papers on the other.

  70. kim said

    Haste makes waste, and hurries the hybritic foot.

  71. Dillon said

    I will right away take hold of your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink
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