The World Conference on Research Integrity convened in Portugal from 16 to Sept 19. They refer to two incidents – the misrepresentation of the examination of station history in China and the NASA Y2K problem:
Addressing the urgent need for fighting fraud, forgery and plagiarism in science world-wide, the very first World Conference on Research Integrity is set to facilitate an unprecedented global effort to foster responsible research in Lisbon, Portugal from 16 to 19 September 2007.
The controversies surrounding the recent assessment report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrates how research integrity is a critical issue not only for the science community, but for politicians and the society as a whole as well. In August 2007 the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had to withdraw previous published historical climate data. The incident came after a British mathematician discovered that the sources used by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) have disregarded the positions of weather stations, plus intentionally using outdated data on China from 1991 and ignoring revised data on the country from 1997.
Now 350 concerned scientists, scientific managers and magazine editors from around the world are scheduled to attend the event in Lisbon, initiated and organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the US Office for Research Integrity (ORI). It marks a milestone for the science community as it will link all those concerned parties in a global effort to tackle the issue head on.
At the very least, countries should know how misconduct will be handled in other countries and whom to contact if they have questions. A more ambitious goal is to begin to harmonize global policies relating to research integrity, says Conference Co-Chair Nicholas Steneck from the University of Michigan.
These two issues were both raised at climateaudit. The Chinese station issue was discussed at climateaudit last February here where I said:
Jones et al 1990 described their QC procedures as follows:
“The stations were selected on the basis of station history; we selected those with few, if any changes in instrumentation, location or observation times.
In this case, I have been able to track down third-party documentation on stations used in Jones China network and it is impossible that Jones et al could have carried out the claimed QC procedures.
Doug Keenan’s note on this refers to climateaudit initially raising the issue.
The problem with Jones et al. and Wang et al. was first raised on the ClimateAudit blog of Stephen McIntyre (who exposed the hockey stick graph of temperatures over the past millennium). McIntyre noted that the stated claims about Chinese data seemed absurd. Indeed, for anyone familiar with Maos Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the claim to have obtained substantial reliable data for 19541983 makes little sense.
My initial note went further, observing the inconsistency between the station history information said to be available in the CDIAC Technical Report and the claims in Jones et al 1990. Doug Keenan’s further investigation indicated that co-author Wang was probably responsible. Allocation of fault between the coauthors was a secondary issue as far as I was concerned – the more important issue, in my opinion, being the misrepresentation in Jones et al 1990 that the station histories had been examined. Be that as it may, the identification of the problem with the false claims in Jones et al 1990 to have examined Chinese station history, as Doug acknowledged in his note.
Obviously the identification of the NASA data problem originated here as well. The conference communique has mixed up these rather different issues – something that might have been avoided had they invited people who were familiar with the details of these issues to the conference.
If these issues were on their mind in publicizing the conference, you’d think that they’d have included a presentation on these issues at some point in the 4 days of the proceedings and that they’d have correctly identified the person who identified these errors as Canadian.