World Conference on Research Integrity to Foster Responsible Research

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Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) have disregarded the positions of weather stations, plus intentionally using outdated data on China from 1991 and ignoring revised data on the country from 1997.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 Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the claim to have obtained substantial reliable data for 1954–1983 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.

45 Comments

  1. CO2Breath
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    The most salient posts are not often acknowledged, even here.

  2. Anthony Watts
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve your have a valid excuse to crash the party, I’d say.

  3. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    I agree Steve–it’s remarkable that they didn’t invite you. One of the Canadians who presented was Howard Alper, a chemist at the University of Ottawa. In a media release they quote him as saying:

    Alper also called the misbehaviour found with medical or health science researchers and with climatologists. “Too many or the former are marketers making exaggerated claims to secure media attention, while the latter peddle biased, ill-informed views as hard facts thereby impacting communication of science to the public.”

    So I suspect there would have been some considerable appreciation for your work in that venue.

  4. Dan Blachly
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    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.

    Who’s the British mathematician?

  5. David
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Part of the problem with academia is snobbery and elitism. They seem to be unwittingly and ironically wielding the same behavior that belies research integrity issues.

  6. Peter
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Off topic (but don’t know where else to write):

    The link ‘reply to von Storch’ is broken.

  7. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    A Candadian is just a brit with a French accent….

    Ok, that was high sticking

  8. Mark O
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    How can you trust the integrity of a conference that lacks the integrity to include the person who discovered the very errors they are discussing?

    The obvious answer is that you can’t.

  9. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Research Integrity?

    And they get the attributions Wrong?
    An Inauspicious start to say the least

  10. Larry
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    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.

    Kinda reminds me of a Chinese tool that I bought once marked “qualipy brand”.

  11. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    Eh, they probably don’t read blogs.

  12. IanH
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    I suspect we’ve misunderstood the agenda, Steve’s not invited because they want to develop protocols to shut him up! Anything involving ESF is going to want to bury corrupt practices just like the rest of the European project, especially where it allows the politicos to hijack more funds for *our* betterment

  13. John Goetz
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    The conference committee certainly could have done a better job researching the background here. Where is their integrity?

    I am very surprised too that they did not invite you, Steve. What an opportunity it would have been to bring this work to the forefront.

  14. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Hansen will appear and proclaim that he has single handedly freed the code

  15. bernie
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Did Keenan get an invite? It would be interesting to get a commentary on how they handled the climate data issues.

  16. John F. Pittman
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    I believe the word we are looking for is “gobsmacked”. I have to admit I laughed when I saw “British” after
    reading

    the very first World Conference on Research Integrity is set to facilitate an unprecedented global effort to foster responsible research

    . I hope Steve will forgive me, but it has been a long day at work and I really needed the laugh. To facilitate =reach consensus, unprecedented = can’t invite Steve since his blog has aleady been doing it, foster responsible research= Steve and his blog aren’t one of us, so we can’t be letting people think he is fostering responsible research.

  17. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    I’m here from the department of redundancy department. And I’m here to help.

  18. Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    Too funny for words.

    Research Integrity – press release full of misconstrued facts and non-facts.

    I guess in some minds the sun has yet to set on the British Empire.

  19. Jim Edwards
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Re: British v. Canadian

    Well, the Queen’s on your money, eh ? Can you blame them for being confused ?

  20. Larry
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    the very first World Conference on Research Integrity is set to facilitate an unprecedented global effort to foster responsible research

    Sounds like they want to ban animal testing. Couldn’t they get the word “sustainable” in there, somewhere too?

  21. Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    who was invited:

    http://www.esf.org/activities/esf-conferences/details/confdetail242/invited-papers-biographies.html

  22. Larry
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    22, Interesting that they use the word “integrity” a lot, and the word “misconduct” a lot less. I didn’t see the word “quality” anywhere. There were also several references to the ethics of relating to the public.

    Shouldn’t the focus be on quality?

  23. per
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    don’t expect too many apple-carts to be up-ended. From the conference blurb:

    In other words the World Conference on Research Integrity focuses on an open sore of science, taking into consideration the reality, legal and institutional aspects, as well as regional, social and psychological environments in which scientists work.It intends to be the beginning of the healing process.

    the brass neck quote from Nature:

    Second, all journals should, like Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/authors/policy), require that all published reagents and cell lines be made available to other laboratories.

    more of the same from science

    Data and Materials Availability
    Then:
    Any reasonable request for materials, methods or data necessary to verify the conclusions of the paper must be honored

    Now:
    Sequence, structure and microarray data must be deposited in public databases. If none is available data must be in the paper or supplementary online material.
    Any restrictions on material sharing (MTAs) must be disclosed during review and may preclude publication.

    just looking at the programme, I don’t get the feeling that there is any appetite here for bad news.
    per

  24. Larry
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Healing???

  25. tetris
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    Re: 22
    We really being asked to accept the “bona fides” of an ESF sponsored interational conference convened under the guise of the need to keep tabs on the scientific integrity of UN sponsored research organization called IPCC, with some questionable US federal government sponsored researchers thrown in for good measure [to keep the EU, Africa and the Chinese happy].
    My redneck hunting buddies [some of whom like me have PhDs; horror, oh, horror, but yes Phillipa, such things do exist..] refer to endeavours like this as “circlejerks”.
    In fact it’s very simple: Steve Mc was not invited because a] he doesn’t have the academic degrees/affiliations/credentials/attitude, etc., and b] having a confirmed “sh.. disturber” there would have spoiled the strawberry & cream/cucumber sandwiches/vinho verde atmosphere of the gathering.
    P.S. Steve I understand your frustration, but it is definitely not at venues like that one that you are going to get a serious hearing and understanding for what you have been doing. Better to work through whatever channels are available amongst those able to precipitate a US congressional hearing.
    Cheers and thx for much work well done.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    #24. It’s tiresome that they present these policies in public and then refuse to enforce them. Nature did not require Mann to even archive the separate results of his individual steps. Science hasn’t required Thompson to provide a detailed archive of his sample data. They are very hypocritical.

  27. Larry
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    Oh, I see. Kinda like putting Libya in charge of the Human Rights Council.

  28. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 19, 2007 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    RE 22.

    I started reading some of the PPTS. Underwhelmed.

    Although there was ONE presentation that showed a Plagarism time series
    which could have substituted for a Bristlecone pine series..

    http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/be_user/activities/research_conferences/Docs_NEW/2007/242_Research_Integrity_-_Speakers__Presentations/Peggy%20FISCHER.ppt#265,8,Detection: Trends (x=year, y= relative increase, base year 1995)

  29. Jeff Norman
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    You seem to have read this incorrectly:

    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.

    It clearly states that the purpose of the conference is to facilitate a global effort to foster responsible research in Lisbon between September 16 and 19 in the year 2007. It is not clear if that is inclusive, i.e. will the responsible research will be conducted on the 16th and the 19th or just on the 17th and 18th?

    Once they have demonstrated the potential for Lisbon they will move on to other cities like Adelaide or Juno.

  30. Dave
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Who’s the British mathematician?

    It might be a reference to Doug Keenan although, despite his London address, is very much a Canadian. I used to borrow comic books from him.

  31. Jaye
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Part of the problem with academia is snobbery and elitism.

    These characteristics are usually beaten out of one when one has to actually make something that flies without killing the passengers or toasts the bread without burning it or blows up the tank from 10K away, etc. When one’s whole life revolves around lording over young minds, writing papers and schmoozing other people to accept them, then one acquires a certain attitude that doesn’t seem to merge well with adults who actually do stuff.

  32. SteveSadlov
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    RE: #32 – “one acquires a certain attitude that doesn’t seem to merge well with adults who actually do stuff.”

    Especially when one harbors a lurking resentment of “the system” and has latent luddite urges and wild fantasies about a Rosseauite future utopia. In such a case, one might hate the commercial world and those who work in it.

  33. Jaye
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Word

  34. Mark T.
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    It might be a reference to Doug Keenan although, despite his London address, is very much a Canadian. I used to borrow comic books from him.

    I think it was simply a case of a mistaken reference, i.e., they merely labeled Steve M. as British rather than Canadian. This caught my attention too, which leads to doubt about the seriousness of the whole affair. In other words, are they merely paying lip-service to the media/politicians in order to generate a greater belief in their dogma. “Look, we met and came to all these conclusions therefore we must be taken seriously” while the same old story continues. Not unlike the HS defeat by the NAS panel, IMO.

    Mark

  35. John M
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Ross McKitrick (3#)

    So I suspect there would have been some considerable appreciation for your work in that venue.

    No such luck. Your quote is from slide 15 of the first talk (available through the link provided by Hans Errens in #22).

    The link in the same slide of that presentation is to a critique of the claims in the “Swindle” report.

    So the “climatologists” the speaker seems to be referring to are “skeptics”, not “main-streamers”.

  36. John M
    Posted Sep 20, 2007 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for misspelling Hans’ name.

  37. Posted Sep 21, 2007 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    Re #31 (Dave). I am indeed Canadian (though some journalists have referred to me as being British). The last time I owned comic books, though, I think my age was single digit; so perhaps it is someone else.

    Re #16 (bernie). I was not invited to the conference. Yet I have publicly and explicitly alleged that the work of three scientists is fraudulent (P.I. Kuniholm, S.W. Manning, W.-C. Wang); see http://www.informath.org/apprise/a4200.htm

    I would not expect to be invited though, or even welcome. The purpose of the Lisbon conference was not to advance research integrity. The purpose was to advance procedures, processes, and techniques for handling allegations of fraud in a way that would appear to be addressing the problems, while in fact burying the problems more deeply. I.e. Yes, Minister.

  38. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 21, 2007 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    I think that they were referring to Doug as well. They seem to have got the entire reference bollockesed up and as, Doug observes, had little interest in actually hearing what the problems were at field level.

  39. bernie
    Posted Sep 21, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Douglas:
    I have read your materials. I too see “Yes, Minister” as a black comedy and the quintessential guidebook to how organizations that do not have to perform in order to survive, i.e., bureaucracies, operate.

  40. Posted Sep 21, 2007 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    # 9

    Mark O,

    The conference had the signature of UCS:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/

    # 42

    M. Simon,

    I agree. Syun-Ichi Akasofu wrote: “In the meantime, the integrity of climatology as a respectable science has to be rehabilitated by bringing it back from its present confused state and separating it entirely from politics”.

  41. Posted Sep 21, 2007 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    # 3

    Ross McKitrick,

    Could it be another “scientific” consensus? I think it could drive to some means of proscription on “dissenting” or “unorthodox” voices.

  42. Jan Pompe
    Posted Sep 22, 2007 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    #29 Steve Mosher

    Shouldn’t you have posted that in “Spot the hockey stick”?

  43. doug
    Posted Sep 22, 2007 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    #11

    I had a similar item made in Indonesia with fine “Amerikan Warkmanship”

  44. Skiphil
    Posted Jan 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Searching about to see if anything ever came of this effort, or if it was merely a ‘Yes, Minster’ check box to pretend ‘sure we all care about research integrity, objectivity, etc., ho ho’ (recalling BBC concern with faux impartiality). There is this, very broad principles directed toward other bodies:

    http://www.esf.org/media-centre/ext-single-news/article/the-european-code-of-conduct-for-research-integrity-endorsed-by-european-science-foundations-gove.html

    The code addresses the proper conduct and principled practice of systematic research in the natural and social sciences and the humanities in Europe. Whilst the new code is not intended to replace existing national or academic guidelines, it sets out a list of principles that these national guidelines should consider, including:

    Honesty in communication;
    Reliability in performing research;
    Objectivity;
    Impartiality and independence;
    Openness and accessibility;
    Duty of care;
    Fairness in providing references and giving credit;
    Responsibility for the scientists and researchers of the future.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Jan 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

      I would not say that Hockey Team members perform decently on many of these dimensions, but of course it requires detailed expositions (such as found on many CA threads) to elucidate and substantiate such failings.

One Trackback

  1. By Ivo Vegter | Ivo Vegter on Jan 31, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    [...] So the European Science Foundation holds a conference on research integrity, to “foster responsible research”. And guess who’s not invited? [...]

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