We’ve seen that Climategate emails provide evidence that Jones, Briffa and Cook took steps to block publication of articles that were perceived as potentially damaging.
The Climategate documents also provide a glimpse of another aspect of Team gatekeeping – acting as peer reviewers of submissions by associates and friends. Phil Jones was a peer reviewer for Schmidt (IJC 2009), which criticized Michaels and McKitrick (2007) and de Laat and Maurelis (2006). Whereas Jones “went to town” as a reviewer of articles criticizing CRU Siberian temperatures, his review of Schmidt 2009 was perfunctory and trifling – a bias that is just as corrosive to the literature.
Jones’ peer review dated June 22, 2008 stated:
This paper is timely as it clearly shows that the results claimed in dML06 and MM07 are almost certainly spurious. It is important that such papers get written and the obvious statistical errors highlighted. Here the problem relates to the original belief that there were many more spatial degrees of freedom. This is a common mistake and it will be good to have another paper to refer to when reviewing any more papers like dML06 and MM07. There is really no excuse for these sorts of mistakes to be made, that lead to erroneous claims about problems with the surface temperature record.
My recommendation is that the paper be accepted subject to minor revisions.
The review continue with a series of minor points and observations. Schmidt submitted his article on 16 May 2008, revised on 2 September 2008 and was accepted on 8 November 2008.
The original McKitrick and Michaels (2007) is here. Schmidt 2009 is online here. A reply to Schmidt 2009 online here was submitted by McKitrick and Nierenberg on April 15, 2009 and does not appear to have been processed as expeditiously as the Schmidt submission.
The analysis in these papers is statistical. Phil Jones is not a statistician and was either unable or unwilling to review the statistical analysis (see Nicolas Nierenberg’s blog linked above for an earnest effort to review the statistical analysis. All we see in Jones’ review is that he liked the answer and viewed the Schmidt paper as another tool to assist future gatekeeping.
The “peer review” in evidence here is compromised first by the association between Jones and Schmidt (combined with Jones’ prior animosity to the articles being criticized), by the trifling quality of the peer review itself and the overt objective of using the article as a tool for future gatekeeping.