Frontiers Issues Statement on Lewandowsky

Following a variety of untrue allegations by Lewandowsky and his supporters, Frontiers have issued a new statement stating that they received “no threats” and that they had received “well argued and cogent” complaints, including mine here and here. (I did not report or publicize this complaint at Climate Audit or invite any public pressure on the journal.)

According to my understanding, the issues identified by the journal are issues that constitute of violations of most codes of conduct within academic psychology, including Australian codes.

There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

As we published in our retraction statement, a small number of complaints were received during the weeks following publication. Some of those complaints were well argued and cogent and, as a responsible publisher, our policy is to take such issues seriously. Frontiers conducted a careful and objective investigation of these complaints. Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats. The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics. Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology. The actions taken by Frontiers sought to ensure the right balance of respect for the rights of all.

One of Frontiers’ founding principles is that of authors’ rights. We take this opportunity to reassure our editors, authors and supporters that Frontiers will continue to publish – and stand by – valid research. But we also must uphold the rights and privacy of the subjects included in a study or paper.

240 Comments

  1. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    Kudos to the Frontiers editor for this. I guess that leaves the UWA as the remaining publisher of a paper of which a professional psychology journal has now agreed [it] “does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

      My own psychopathology revealed by Lewandowsky was uttering words that I had until then believed to be written by Foxgoose. Indeed I still think they were by Foxgoose, because his name comes after them on the Bishop Hill thread in question. It’s been tough facing up my deep-seating problems in the glare of worldwide publicity. (OK, the last bit’s wishful thinking. I can afford to laugh given the utter fatuity of the misattribution. What matters is that Lewandowsky grossly overstepped the mark. At last someone in a position of responsibility is prepared to say so.)

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

        Dr. Lew has determined that you are certifiable. Other than those moments of lucidity where you praise me, I take everything you write with a grain of salt.

        hehe.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

          You’re scary sometimes :)

          But it does make me wonder what the definition of Lewcidity would be.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

          Lewcidity wins the internet

        • Fred Harwood
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

          Over the top, Mosher.

        • JohnB
          Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

          So Lew’s new theme song could be (taken literally) Silent Lewcidity (But it’s too beautiful for Lew)

        • JohnB
          Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

          I meant to link Silent Lucidity:

    • ianl8888
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

      Lewanclownsky’s paper is no longer in the peer-reviewed literature

      Re-curses !! :)

  2. Joe Born
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    “Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

    Being a simple man, I don’t understand psychological verbiage. To me it sounds as though they spiked the paper because it identified people it diagnosed as crazy, not because it misdiagnosed them.

    • HaroldW
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

      Yes, I think the personal identification issue is more relevant to Frontiers. As to the misdiagnosis, I think Frontiers’ position will be that they publish research: some of that research may contain errors, but that is the responsibility of the author(s), not the publisher. It is not the publisher’s function to evaluate the truthfulness of the article. [Although in this case with the obviously conflicted position of the authors, I disagree with the decision to publish irrespective of the identification issue.]

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

      Only charlatans diagnose people without have actually met them. The concept of teleconnections is a climate science thing.

      “Don’t rely on third-party reports to formulate assessments and avoid giving an opinion of any person they haven’t directly evaluated.”

      https://www.apa.org/monitor/jan03/10ways.aspx

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

      They are saying simply that research subjects were identified in print and alleged to have clinical characteristics. That is sufficient to make it unethical as a research paper. Of course that raises the question of why Frontiers earlier said “This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study.” I presume they have now abandoned their position that the failure to protect the confidentiality rights of research subjects is not an ethical violation. If not, they better clarify that for their readers, potential authors, and funding agencies.
      Frontiers only has itself to blame for the hammering they took. Their earlier statement was misleading, simultaneously defending the paper while hinting at legal problems related to keeping it in print. So people assumed they were caving in to legal threats that they themselves believed to be baseless. It turns out the reality was the opposite. The Editors understood the validity of the complaints against the paper and they had received no threats at all. If they had said that in the first place they’d have avoided all the subsequent grief. Of course they’d have had to admit having accepted for publication a paper that failed to protect the subjects’ rights. But they were always going to have to admit that. Now they have to admit that plus admitting their earlier statement gave the entirely wrong impression about what happened.

      • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

        Yes, the discretion they mention as justification

        Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned.

        should really be applied now, to their reticence to explain the lack of fault found with any ‘academic and ethical aspects’. Their consideration is not in fact for all but for themselves. But it ain’t going to wash.

        • DaveJR
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

          The discretion was clearly in favour of Lewandowsky, perhaps with climate sympathies in mind. However, maybe the subsequent behaviour of the authors following retraction, ironically displaying the conspiracy ideation traits they accused their subjects of to kick up a media storm, finally convinced them that their “good faith” was being abused to fight a conflict they wanted no part of.

          I look forward to seeing forthcoming clarifications on the matter in the media, and from UWA, but expect to hear none.

      • mpaul
        Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

        UWA is now in a real pickle. Due to the stated unethical nature of the Research, the paper damaged the reputation of a group of people (which, in my opinion, was the central objective of Lew’s paper). Frontiers acted responsibly upon receiving complains. UWA did not. In fact, for every day that UWA continues to have the paper on their website, they compound their liability, in my opinion.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

          Dont worry the lawyer has said she is happy to have the insurance company pay for her lack of due diligence.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

          It’s a he.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

          Im not so sure

        • HaroldW
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and vote for “he”.

          http://www.kheitman.com/

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

          Kim is still a man’s name in Australia.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

          wonder what the university’s insurance company would think of that lawyer and that “policy”….

          in the real world it would be good grounds for cancellation of coverage….

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

          Harold, what is a man really when we get down to it?

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

          Kim Heitman is also the President of the “Society of University Lawyers” in Australia. Yes, their acronym is “SOUL’….

          Although they do not seem to have a codified set of ethical guidelines (not that I could find on their website anyway), it could be interesting to explore whether brushing off ethical concerns without due diligence, by invoking the university’s insurance coverage, is itself an ethical problem.

          http://soul.edu.au/

        • HAS
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

          It appears that their insurer is Unimutual. Its web site says:

          “Unimutual is a discretionary mutual, operating on not-for-profit principles, that was formed to offer higher education and research institutions a cost-effective alternative to insurance.

          “Unimutual is owned and controlled by its members for the benefit and interests of members. Unimutual is governed by a Board drawn principally from the membership, and managed by a dedicated team with strong working knowledge of the risks and issues specific to the education sector. Members can rest assured that the protection of their assets and liabilities is in good hands.”

          Grant Wallace UWA’a Insurance Risk Manager is on the board. It does look as though UWA carries professional liability insurance for consultancies or professional services and covers clinical trials (ironically “The University of Western Australia addresses its involvement in most clinical trials through close collaboration with ethics and governance frameworks at the major teaching hospitals”) but can’t see anything specifically covering this situation in the list of UWA’s specific cover.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

          I think we are morally compelled
          To inform the insurance company…

        • mpaul
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

          I think we are morally compelled
          To inform the insurance company…

          Yes agreed. That was one of the most bizarre quotes I have ever seen from a lawyer. Essentially he was advising people “do what ever you want, we have insurance”.

          Imagine that this was a products liability situation. I don’t know, lets say you are a car company and you were found to have shipped cars with defective starter switches. In the course of discovery two emails come to light. The first is from the chief ethics officer of the car company. An engineer had contacted her to say that he was going to specify a substandard starter switch because he could save some money. The ethics officer writes back:

          “Yes, fine for you to ship the bad switch as long as the standard complaints paragraph and contact details are there. I look forward to receiving the hate mail from all the people when they crash!”.

          Unsure that he really has all the cover he needs, the engineers write to the Chief Council. The Chief Counsel writes back:

          “Go for it, we got insurance baby!!”.

          I think most people would be shocked. But once again, Academia seems to be held to a different standard.

          If I were an insurance company, I would not want to do business with an institution like this.

        • HAS
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

          mpaul, its a university mutual insurer. They’ll be well use to it. No doubt they’ve laid off the risk.

          But seriously it isn’t clear that they have cover here despite their lawyer’s flip comment(they do for medical clinical trials). I suspect they rely on contracting out the risk. I’d be interested to know what L. et al signed to get their puff piece in press, and the extent to which he has broken these and agreements with the university.

          It is always possible that the VC’s reluctance to lift the covers has something to do with UWA protecting their position so they can claim from their past employee, just as Frontier may have had to fold in their hand when one of the reviewers went feral on them, removing their ability to use them as protection for negligence etc.

          We’ll get an indication of this if L. starts blaming UWA for its failure to pick up the ethics issues and starts posting in agreement alongside our host :)

        • jasonscandopolous
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

          Insurance company actuary here: Nearly all contracts have a loss mitigation clause, which states that once an insurable incident has occurred, the insured must take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. This generally applies most clearly to property coverages (e.g. if a windstorm blows shingles off of your roof, and rain is forecast for tomorrow, you must attempt to put a tarp over the hole in the roof — the insurer may not cover any subsequent rain damage), but is generally included in General Liability (and other liability) contracts as well.

          It’s entirely possible that UWA’s insurer may view UWA’s actions as not having taken “reasonable steps”, or whatever the exact language is, given the relatively clear evidence that Lew’s paper was libelous and the apparent lack of any diligence on UWA’s part to examine this evidence.

          In any case, even if there is coverage, it was dumb for UWA make the statement they did. Many insurance coverages carry penalties for filing claims: auto insurers will charge you more after filing one, Worker’s Compensation in the US increases your rates as well based on a formula, and General Liab prices in general would also increase.

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

          mpaul

          “Unsure that he really has all the cover he needs, the engineers write to the Chief Council. The Chief Counsel writes back:

          “Go for it, we got insurance baby!!”

          It doesn’t stop there. What’s been done is like the engineers, after getting the “Go for it, we got insurance baby” excuse, post it publicly on their website as a valid reason for why they still continue to sell cars with the defective parts.

      • A. Scott
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

        Well said Ross … had they accepted the complaints as valid and legitimate, and operated more transparently in the investigation and ensuing period, they would have far less problems today.

        Keep in mind though the issues with peer review, which continue to be un-addressed by the Journal.

        We know that at least one of the original reviewers, Michael Woods, had problems with the paper, expressed them to the Editor and authors, and when his issues were not addressed he requested removal as a listed reviewer (from my personal correspondence with him). A review of his credentials would seem to how him to be well qualified as a reviewer for Lewandowsky’s work.

        Then there was the short-lived appearance of Prof. Prathiba Natesan. Ms. Natesan appears to be very well qualified – with direct Psych statistical knowledge (teachers this). Her name was associated for just a few days before being replaced with Dr. Virem Swami.

        Mr. Swami is the Frontiers Editor responsible for this paper. He is appears well qualified as a reviewer or Editor – with his prior work being the core of Lewandowsky’s LOG12 paper. The majority of conspiracy questions and work in LOG12 came from Swami. While he appears well qualified, I cannot understand how the Editor responsible for decisions regarding the paper can also be a reviewer – he is reviewing his own work.

        Ms. McKewon also has a number of issues as a peer reviewer as well. First, her basic experience – a young journalism graduate student, with a highly friendly and complimentary opinion of Lewandowsky and his work and seemingly no professional domain experience. Further, in an apparent direct violation or reviewer rules, Ms. McKewon has a prior business relationship with Lewandowsky’s institution – with UWA being the publisher of her book:

        http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/the-scarlet-mile/

        In the “About” section it notes:

        “Elaine is currently working on a PhD in Geography at UWA.”

        Therefore we know Ms. McKewon not only had a business relationship, but also was at one point a UWA student.

        It would seem Frontiers would be well-served to address these significant peer review conflicts.

        • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: A. Scott (Apr 5 03:20), A reviewer (Wood) preferred to withdraw as a reviewer rather than write a negative review? Wow.

          Steve: my understanding is that Wood did write a negative review. Under Frontiers policy, reviewers are named. Wood was named as a reviewer in the first release, but asked to be removed. The paper was re-issued without Woods’ name. There were then two more iterations in which the reviewers changed before finally settling with editor Swami and reviewer McKewon being named as reviewers.

        • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

          Perhaps someone should write a paper on this aspect, called “Real Names v Anonymity: The Worst of All Worlds”

        • pottereaton
          Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

          A Scott: It’s fitting that McKewon is herself a conspiracy theorist:

          http://uts.academia.edu/ElaineMcKewon

      • A. Scott
        Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

        Re: Ross McKitrick (Apr 4 12:01), Ross, again, we know the paper had problems, no matter what Frontiers has said. Michael Wood, the original reviewer told me he had concerns with the paper, asked for changes which were not made, and Swami went ahead and approved for publication regardless. At that point Wood withdrew as a reviewer and asked his name be removed from the paper setting off the game of musical chairs with reviewers that ensued.

        Frontiers knew this because several (many?) of us brought to their attention. They chose not to address the issue. You are absolutely correct they brought this on themselves.

        The fact that Lewandosky is still associated with them – including as a peer reviewer (of a Michael Woods paper no less) and allegedly as an Editor of an upcoming section – makes things all the more interesting.

    • Carrick
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

      Joe Born To me it sounds as though they spiked the paper because it identified people it diagnosed as crazy, not because it misdiagnosed them.

      I doubt the journal would even touch the question of whether the individuals were properly tele-diagnosed with a 10 foot pole. Regardless of the dubious veracity of the claims, identifying the individuals by name was an impropriety.

  3. davidbakin
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    Why did Frontiers feel it necessary to say “We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology”?

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      That stood out for me as well; reminiscent of the climate related genuflections that accompany calls for funding in seemingly unrelated subjects.

    • scf
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

      I believe that was their way of saying they want no part of the climate debate. It was their way of saying that nothing they’ve said or done has anything to do with a position on climate science, or any intention of having any effect on climate science, and that they want no part of any ongoing debates in climate science, or any of the ongoing accusations in climate science.

      Note that one of the latest nefarious but false implications by Lewandosky and friends is that the paper was retracted because of threats and pressure. They imply that such threats are just one more action as part of a long campaign by skeptics whose behaviour puts the entire planet in peril and whose behaviour is funded by big oil (and of course whose behaviour is also marked by psychopathological characteristics which is why the paper ended up in a psychology journal).

      That one line was intended to say that they want nothing to do with any of that.

      • Chuck Nolan
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

        Not so sure about that.
        Did you see what Robin found?
        Robin says:
        April 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm
        Anthony-
        Have you seen this APS position paper from 2009? http://www.apa.org/science/about/publications/climate-change-booklet.pdf

        It is in the multipage biblio in the link I put in the sticky post, but is quite pertinent to APS’s position on Climate Change and anyone skeptical.

    • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

      We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology

      I don’t think we know anything about the psychology of this statement. All we know is that it’s false. The retracted paper was all about climate science. ‘Nobel laureate’ Michael Mann was happy to become a co-author with Lewandowsky shortly after it was published. Not only was it about climate science, it says everything needed about this corrupted field.

      • HAS
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 4:22 AM | Permalink

        I guess given that it was all about psychology that’s why a journalism student got to review it.

        • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 4:40 AM | Permalink

          :)

        • Jeff Norman
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

          The retracted paper claimed to be about psychology but after further condiseration we have decided that is actually about climate politics. We therefore was our hands of the whole thing.

      • pottereaton
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

        They are trying to re-assert their identity. They naively accepted a paper that they thought was about psychology. Then they got caught in the the maelstrom of the climate science debate. It quickly became apparent that the intent of the paper was to defame skeptics through psychological analysis. If they were skeptics themselves that would have been immediately clear to them.

        Notice the wording: “. . . does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology.” They took that claim at face value. Like I said, naive.

        Editors need to be skeptics, too.

        • Jeff Norman
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

          Yes, that is exactly what I meant to say. Thank you. I should have read further before posting.

    • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

      Maybe they mean to tell the authors this is psychology research where you treat your research with care, and not climate science where anything goes.

  4. Gary
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process.

    Should? The delay could have resulted from a protracted search for a way just to save face. If they mean to say they were thorough and and serious, then why phrase it this way? Maybe this is picky and overly suspicious, but it just sounds odd.

    Steve: not when you consider that UWA blew off all these complaints in only a few days.

    • Nullius in Verba
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

      I would guess the long delay was to give the authors the opportunity to write a replacement paper that presented the same conclusions but without the ethics violations. That would have enabled maximum face to be kept all round.

      Assuming that they would only have asked the authors to do this after their investigation concluded, and given that it generally takes several months to write a paper and get it past review, this seems the most logical explanation for the delay. Pure speculation on my part, though, of course – possibly even a conspiracy theory!

      • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

        Oh, you beat me to it, NiV … This was my thinking, as well.

        I believe it’s also worth keeping in mind that for some strange reason – coincidentally during the course of Frontiers’ investigation – Lew and crew had decided to publish ‘Son of Hoax’ via PLoS ONE [Received: January 28, 2013; Accepted: August 18, 2013; Published: October 2, 2013] which, as I recall, Lew and crew led their fans to believe was a “replication” of their 2010 “survey” results.

        Whether the above, in conjunction with Frontiers’ eminently fair and

        good faith [invitation/suggestion] providing them with the opportunity to submit a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice. [emphasis added -hro]

        were part and parcel of a joint UWA-Frontiers effort to rescue Lew from the corner into which he had painted himself, is probably something we’ll never know!

        Although, they cannot fail to have noticed – notwithstanding the smoggies’ purported dossier of FOI responses and their purported “understanding” of a “gag” order on Lewandowsky – Steve’s “well argued and cogent” submissions [which he had posted circa Mar. 21/14] would not have enhanced the credibility of the content of their initial “retraction” notice.

        It’s possible that Lew and crew [and UWA] were/are blissfully unaware – and/or blindly led by Mann and other notables among Les Warmerables [h/t Mark Steyn] – that the world has definitely changed since 2007, when Gore and the IPCC were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”***

        So, all in all, some might conclude that Frontiers’ heretofore unknown (and curiously unmentioned by Lew and crew and/or their acolytes and lesser lights) invitation to submit a new paper to be “published simultaneously with the retraction notice” was – in effect – handing Lew enough rope to hang himself. But I couldn’t possibly comment ;-)

        *** In light of all the hand-wringing and moaning and groaning on the “communication” front that we’ve heard since November 2009, perhaps the Nobel committee should strip both Gore and the IPCC of this (by their own complaints/admissions) undeserved laurel.

    • scf
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

      You may have a point. However, if they were to do their own research into the accusations, if they were to consult with ethical opinions, legal opinions, the authors themselves, then all of this can actually take quite a while.
      However, in the end, the long delay only served to perpetuate an injustice that should have been corrected more quickly. But at least they came to the right answer, and in particular, in this latest communication, they are saying the right things. It’s unfortunate it took them so long to do so, but it’s good to see that this has happened.

    • mpainter
      Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

      “The many months between publication and retraction” could also mean that it took that long to effect a change of “policy” at the journal. It would be of interest to know what really went on. It seems that this paper was forced through the review process by swami?.

  5. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    Remember guys in Lews World even if you’re right you’re still mentally defective because you thought you right before it’d been established you were right.

    See am starting to talk like a psychologist 8)

    Ps I read the last statement as a plea for Nutter and Abraham to leave Frontiers alone

    pps the above qualified me as conspiracy ideationist yada yada

  6. RickA
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    So I read this as an ethics violation.

    So why the retraction notice only pointing to legal issues?

    And what about academic issues – the actual science portion of the paper.

    This paper was terrible on the academic front also – and I would be interested in what their year long review found relative to the academic issues.

    Maybe more will come out now that this new statement shows that the author edited retraction was very bogus.

    • Duster
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

      The ethical issues feed directly to the legal issues. Historically ethical issues are merely arguments until a name gets dropped, a wall vandalized, or something more serious happens. Then ethical issue becomes serious and legally significant. Lewandowsky made assertions that could materially and adversely affect the well being and livelihood of people he names. Unless he has stronger and much more compelling evidence of pyschopathology than “they don’t like me and disagree with opinions I like,” he laid himself open for a lawsuit from each individual named, and lawyers are equipped with much. older, more developed and scarier jargon than psychologists. The UWA is likewise illuminated in the locomotive headlight if the ethical review was as weak as allowing Lewandowsky to write the review himself. The wonder is that the Journal was so incautious as to publish it in the first place. Their lawyers must have been on vacation.

  7. curious
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    From Frontiers’ Statement above:
    //
    Some of those complaints were well argued and cogent and, as a responsible publisher, our policy is to take such issues seriously. Frontiers conducted a careful and objective investigation of these complaints. Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats. The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process

    As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics. Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

    The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

    From the .pdf version of the paper hosted by UWA:

    //
    This article was published on 18 March 2013 as Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J., Oberauer, K., & Marriott, M. (2013). Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation. Frontiers of Psychology, 4 (73). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073.

    The article attracted nearly 30,000 abstract views and 10,000 full-text views. It also attracted a number of complaints which were investigated by the publisher. The investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context was insufficiently clear for Frontiers to retract the published article. The retraction statement can be found here: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

    The article is now hosted on a website of the University of Western Australia, which has come to a different assessment of the risk posed by this article and reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom. Further details about the history of this article and continued attempts to suppress inconvenient science can be found at sks.to/rf.)
    //

    I wonder if UWA’s Johnson can spot the difference? Maybe Kimberley Heitman could help him?

  8. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Harsh!

    “We take this opportunity to reassure our editors, authors and supporters that Frontiers will continue to publish
    – and stand by – valid research” – Frontiers

    • DGH
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

      - Barry Woods

      You must be having a great day.

  9. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

    The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

    The phrase one-trick ponies comes to mind.

    • Mickey Reno
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

      This latest Lew flap is highly reminiscent of the behavior of Gergis, Neukom, Karoly, et. al. when Jean S. discovered their error in the Southern Hemisphere Hockey Sticks paper. In correspondence with the publisher Journal of Climate, they floated the idea of quickly rewriting the methodology section as a revision, and leaving all their conclusions intact. And that was AFTER the editors had already rescinded the acceptance of the paper.

      Climate science peer review is a cesspool.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/10/30/karoly-and-gergis-vs-journal-of-climate/

  10. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    This vindicates what Lewandowsky’s critics said. Here are some excerpts from my complaint to Frontiers exactly a year ago, which differ little from the Frontiers statement:

    “The labelling of named individuals as conspiracy theorists in the text and accompanying table is contrary to the ethics of your field which requires individuals to be treated with respect.”

    “Labelling individuals as conspiratorial, as this paper does throughout its text and in the accompanying data sheet, is derogatory and does not constitute treating participants with respect, even if such allegations were correct.”

  11. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    This is going to put a lot more pressure on UWA and their failure to follow their own guidelines.

  12. DGH
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    It is a shame that Frontiers In hasn’t corrected their retraction to reflect the tone of this press release. For the sake of the record it would be nice if that sloppy “legal context” language was replaced with,

    “Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

  13. Bob K.
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Unlike some of the social sciences, psychology has a large community of good data analysts. Psychometrika is a good journal, and quantitative psychologists have contributed widely-used methods such as factor analysis and multidimensional scaling. Perhaps the editors of Frontiers don’t want to be held up to scorn by their more data-capable colleagues.

  14. cbb
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    My question is that these flaws seem self evident to the casual reader. It was a piece of “research” that deliberately named and attempted to defile the authors’ harshest critics. Why in the world did Frontiers agree to publish this is the first place? Do they live in a bubble?

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

      It can only be speculation but I would say that Frontiers was living in a bubble – the global bubble in which those arguing on the side of climate ‘consensus’ against ‘the deniers’ could not be found guilty of any wrongdoing, whatever the shoddiness of their work. It would have seemed safe and perhaps financially beneficial to go along with this. It turned out that it wasn’t. We owe special gratitude to Steve’s careful letters that I would also assume played a big part in opening up the difference.

    • scf
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

      Considering their reasons for existence is to publish papers in psychology, perhaps they prefer to err on the side of those people submitting articles, their bread and butter. They certainly would not want to get the reputation that they treat academics improperly.
      Even when retracting the paper, they seemed to go out of their way to try to please the authors, by allowing them to submit a new paper that would accompany the retraction, and to keep the original up during that time. They seemed to do everything they could to treat the authors well. Apparently they changed their minds when the authors started spreading false rumours of threats and making false statements about the journal.

  15. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    Steve:

    Well done, as usual. Methodical, thorough and precise does often win the day.

    I struggled to connect to the two links of your complaints to Frontiers. Is it just me or is are the links wonky?

    Cheers.

    • RichieRich
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

      Links wonky to me too.

      • scf
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

        The links are pdf files. Some browsers will display pdfs, while others will not display pdfs but instead will save them to the downloads folder. Check your downloads folder.

  16. Jud
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    The receipt of “well argued and cogent complaints” seems to have caught them off guard.

    I can only assume that when they published the article they did not feel the need to go through any sort of due diligence as the only objections they would receive would be from ‘conspiracy ideated’ nutjobs.

    I think their forced re-evaluation of the paper has genuinely made them regret relying on ‘common knowledge’ and the assurances of their contributory ‘experts’.

    I doubt this journal will fall for anything similar again, but it is a lesson to us all on how we are perceived by the vast majority of journals.

    I can only hope authors of the calibre of Lew continue to get published widely.

    And yet they fail to connect the dots with the wider climate orthodoxy.

    • Jeff Alberts
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

      I can only assume that when they published the article they did not feel the need to go through any sort of due diligence as the only objections they would receive would be from ‘conspiracy ideated’ nutjobs.

      One only has to watch videos of both Lewandowsky and McIntyre to determine which truly suffers from some sort of psychopathology.

  17. Bruce
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    I understand that Mr Lewandowsky receives funding from the Royal Society for his work in Bristol.

    I wonder why he received this funding, because neither scientific rigor nor originality appear to be his strengths.

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

      I doubt that this is going to be a minor theme for the rest of the year.

  18. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”. . .

    I wonder who used that phrase. Who are they quoting? Lew? One of the authors? Someone at SkepticalScience?

    Here’s Lew’s post for the day, which quotes all kinds of condemnation directed at Frontiers:

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rfmedia.html

    One post from HotWhopper has the word “caving” in it.

    • HaroldW
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

      “Who used that phrase? [cave in to threats]”
      Dana Nuccitelli, in a column in the Guardian, wrote, “The paper was in limbo for nearly a full year until Frontiers finally caved to these threats.”

      • pottereaton
        Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

        Thanks, Harold.

        So it’s Nuccitelli’s fault. :)

        • FergalR
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

          Clearly the journal was bullied – like Nuccitelli prophesied. The bullies were acolytes of Nuccitelli’s.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

          Yes, but I believe that Nuccitelli was simply dutifully parotting and/or recycling that which the then newly formed dynamic duo of Mann & Lewandowsky had cooked up for publication in the Association for Psychological Science (APS)’ Observer Vol.26, No.9 November, 2013. Pls. see:

          Frontears of mediocrity: Lewandowsky & Mann on the march

      • William Newman
        Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

        OT

    • HaroldW
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

      Speaking of whom, his latest points us to Lewandowsky’s latest opus, a two-parter entitled “Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part I. Uncertainty and unabated emissions” and “Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part II. Uncertainty and mitigation”.

      While I haven’t read these (paywalled) articles, I have little doubt that the articles are of the quality which we’ve come to expect from the good professor.

      • HAS
        Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

        What a fascinating couple of abstracts. You can see earlier work in 2012 at L.’s blog Shaping Science where he discusses this in respect to climate sensitivity. The critical assumption there (and must also be in these papers) is that the effect of the increased uncertainty is uniform (i.e. the s.d. simply increases) with a fixed best estimate. The result that events at the extremes of the distribution will move away from the mean is trivial under these assumptions.

        However if the uncertainty leads to bias the distribution downwards then it will at worst do nothing to the frequency of extreme events of a given value, and if it pulls the best estimate down it will definitely reduce them.

        Ho hum.

      • NikFromNYC
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

        Oh just perfect for the artificial energy rationing movement, peer reviewed claims that successful skeptical revelations of greater uncertainty translates magically to officially *greater* risks:

        “Greater disagreement among experts increases the likelihood that the risk of exceeding a global temperature threshold is greater. Likewise, increasing uncertainty requires increasingly greater protective measures against sea level rise. This constraint derives directly from the statistical properties of extreme values. We conclude that any appeal to uncertainty compels a stronger, rather than weaker, concern about unabated warming than in the absence of uncertainty.”

        Because math.

  19. patg1642
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Lewandowsky has been exonerated!

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

      He is exonerated indeed.

      (It is called Climate Orthodoxy after all.)

  20. Steven Mosher
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    Mann has been exonerated

    Steve: :). Maybe Mann will amend his pleadings to that effect. As you observe, the Frontiers investigation did not report any misconduct by Michael Mann.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

      charles the moderator is going to kill me for stealing his joke.. so hat tip to charles..

      • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steven Mosher (Apr 4 16:16), You nailed the timing.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          It could be a long-running gag.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

          Excuse me?! Unless you can point me to a comment that predates mine of Mar 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM, which I had concluded by noting:

          Not to mention that since Lewandowsky and Mann have already teamed up, I wonder how long it will take before Mann decides to amend his many misleading pleadings to claim he has been “exonerated” by UWA and/or Frontiers’ “investigation”

          then I do believe this is my joke that’s been adapted and/or “stolen” ;-)

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

          We were out of the office and didnt get your
          Mail. We claim independent discovery

        • David Jay
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

          Motive and Opportunity…

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

          Re: charles the moderator (Apr 4 16:26), Hi Steven,

          laughable that hr001 would claim to have discovered the joke. She would
          have run off to WUWT for an exclusive were that to
          have been true.

          I’ll contact Anthony about this ASAP. His new email is: Anthony@xxxx

        • William Newman
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          So Mosher not only nails the comic timing, he nails the climate scientific independent discovery timing! What can be left for the maestro but nailing the timing of a decadal pause, and nailing the comic timing of his humblebrag about standing on the shoulders of comic giants?

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

      Remember, every time you find something that is not white and is not a swan (e.g. a black cloud) you are inductively supporting the proposition that all swans are white. I’m contrapositive of it.

  21. Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    Leo Abse tried the same with Margaret Thatcher. But such public figures (Whittaker Chambers raising the most interesting questions on that) are surely fairer game as far as the rough and tumble of free speech is concerned? Lewandowsky crossed the line through a combination of

    1. pretence of dispassionate scholarship
    2. naming of individuals who had opposed his previous work
    3. ascribing of derogatory psychological traits to them, under the apparent authority of 1.

    Is that right, wiser birds than me?

    • snarkmania
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

      sounds right (and wise enough) to me

    • MikeN
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

      George W Bush was diagnosed as dyslexic from a distance. The candidate’s response,
      ‘I never interviewed her.’

    • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

      Richard Drake
      Absolutely right. THere are no wiser birds than thee.

  22. Skiphil
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Retraction Watch has taken up the matter:

    http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/04/journal-that-retracted-conspiracy-ideation-climate-skepticism-paper-says-it-did-not-cave-into-threats/#more-19610

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

      Retraction Watch sez:

      “The statement from Frontiers is noteworthy in that it seems to be saying that researchers need consent, presumably based on a protocol approved by an institutional review board or its equivalent, to draw conclusions based on material posted to Twitter or other publicly available social media. We have to think about that a bit, but would welcome thoughts from Retraction Watch readers.”

      Researchers need consent to draw conclusions based on material posted to Twitter or other publicly available social media?!? WTF

  23. Skiphil
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    “…the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

    This is about the ethics and professionalism of researchers studying human subjects. Sure, there may (sometimes) be legal implications as well, but this statement does not mention the law.

    • JEM
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

      I’m sure the journal much prefers to keep the grounds for retraction as narrow and as clear as possible.

      That the authors had a clear agenda that overrode any pretense to scientific method, and the most visible reviewer clearly wasn’t qualified for the role, aren’t issues they’ll want to take up since they’d tend to indicate problems with the journal’s editorial processes.

      • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

        I’m sure the journal much prefers to keep the grounds for retraction as narrow and as clear as possible.

        I think they’re right to do this as well. For me it was just the

        Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned.

        that grated a little. There was more consideration for Lewandowsky than for his victims, as DaveJR said above, in the initial ‘discretion’ that declined to acknowledge any ethical issues. But they’ve put a lot right with this latest statement. The wording of the retraction itself should now be amended accordingly, as DGH points out.

  24. snarkmania
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Congrats Steve! Lewandowski crossed the line and you called it out. The journal of course has redeemed itself. Now to attend the next 20,000 or so instances of line-crossing by climate scientists…

    • Howling Winds
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

      “..habitual line steppers..” – Charlie Murphy

  25. Craig Loehle
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    UWA is now hosting a paper that has been retracted. Classy.
    A year to adjudicate complaints of this sort? Does not speak well of the editors’ reading comprehension or decision-making ability.
    There is some remnant smell here because they did not even address the complaint that there were fraudulent survey takers (note to Lew–I did not say YOU were a fraud. don’t want to get sued) and terrible statistics and they DID say they found no evidence of blah blah. While the reason they cite is sufficient to retract, their online statement about not finding any other problems makes them seem rather dim. They could have just stated this one reason (naming research subjects) and remained silent on the other issues if they were afraid to say the truth. After all, in this post-modern world, an academic can never be “wrong” (unless of course he is a skeptic or a Republican).

  26. Skiphil
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    For Frontiers, can we call this the “retraction of the retraction”??

    Granted, they avoid specifically revising the previous retraction, but they have shifted their grounds and have undermined the Lewandowsky/Nuticelli narrative.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

      sorry, that is the wrong phrase, since it might be taken to mean that there is no longer any retraction. It is more that the vague legal grounds asserted in the first retraction are now supplanted by more specific ethical and professional problems in the revised retraction statement.

  27. Steven Mosher
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Since the paper still appears at UWA there are some options.

    1. dr Lew has talked to the legal eagles there. it looks like he misinformed them.
    FOI his coms with them.
    2. The lawyers say they are happy to handle this through insurance. Im sure the insurance company will be not so happy to find out that they didnt use due diligence in avoiding a loss. Hey run your car into a ditch, its covered. And announce that your are going to run your car in the ditch BECAUSE you have insurance.

    3. Fury discusses the medical condition of named individuals. Any Brit I imagine
    could could make use of the laws governing personal data to get dr lews mails etc. This isnt about libel Im thinking a “medical records” angle here. hehe
    could be fun..

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

      My psychopathology made me both furious and elated as I read this. How dare he. Hehe.

      • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

        Richard, I think one lesson from Steve Mc here is that one should be a patient patient. By explaing things slowly, microscopically accurate and point for point, even the doctor… still don’t get it, but the doctor’s doctors got it.

        • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

          Fine comment. The doctor’s doctors haven’t all got it yet. Could that involve microscope and periscope? I’d say Mosh has a useful torpedo marked insurance. My metaphors are mixed but this statement is a good step. They will try to boycott Frontiers (or worse) I’m sure. I certainly agree that we should imitate Steve’s precision and patience.

    • Eddy
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

      “2. The lawyers say they are happy to handle this through insurance.”

      Sometimes it’s a good idea for mgt to let the lawyers run things when they get tricky. Other times, not so much. It usually depends on how good the lawyers are, and how well briefed.

      In this case, it looks like perhaps UWA’s inside counsel has dug a little hole for his organisation, seemingly on behalf of a guy who isn’t even there anymore. Not a great piece of work.

    • pottereaton
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Re #2: when I first read that statement, I thought that Lew must have quoted the lawyer without his permission. But the quote is still there.

      What kind of lawyer says something like that? The guy that oversees their insurance coverage and the guy that sold it to them are not pleased.

      • pottereaton
        Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

        Here’s the answer to my rhetorical question:

        http://australianclimatemadness.com/2014/03/22/lewandowsky-uwa-general-counsel-a-greenpeace-supporter/

        So the question then becomes: is he more loyal to his ideology than he is to his employer?

        • jasonscandopolous
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

          Yes, clearly. The ideal lawyer shows no emotion in any written or oral argument, it is never helpful and often harmful. As I argued above, the lawyer may have given the insurance company an out under their Loss Mitigation clause, which I at this time am only presuming exists — it is a standard clause or concept in nearly all insurance contracts.

    • Streetcred
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:45 AM | Permalink

      “Any Brit I imagine could could make use of the laws governing personal data to get dr lews mails etc.”

      Australian ! Some are expats but by and large we are not Brits.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

        Pardon, I thought that Dr. Lew had moved to England. I guess his recent loss of IQ points must be due to something else

      • Duke C.
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

        Yes, but currently in Aus. Spent all day last Monday at UWA,(wonder what was discussed) voted on Tues., in route to Tasmania.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

          I suspect they will be discussing threats they can make to frontiers

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          A jaundiced view which I expect, sadly, some of us share.

          The other thing that’s been pinging round my brain, though it’s only a weird sort of coincidence, is that the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long is now reportedly involved in the search for the remains of flight MH370 somewhere in the Indian Ocean west of Australia. The operation is now being coordinated from Perth, so the world’s media is also there, and I’m sure I’ve seen oceanographers and others from UWA talking on the television about the daunting challenges.

          The last major incident the Xue Long attended, in January, had of course a notable contingent from another Australian university with strong climate credentials:

          Our friend Tracy Rogers, Turney’s colleague at the University of New South Wales, has been commenting on her rescue. ’The Chinese captain is an incredible ambassador for his country,’ she said today.

          That, as reported in the Spectator in London on 3rd January, was one of the best comments I saw from that seat of learning. I felt sure it was deserved. Finding out that Stephan Lewandowsky has been back in Perth at exactly this time, in a much more tragic context, seemed not as positive.

          Whatever the challenges for UWA in facing up to the defects in the past work and character of the psychologist, and their consequences, I wish the captain and crew of the Xue Long well in all she’s being called on to do.

  28. David L. Hagen
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Evidence of ancient wisdom skillfully applied. Proverbs 26:4-6 ESV

    Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.

  29. Steven Mosher
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    now we wait to see if they boycott frontiers

    • scf
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

      Perhaps they are checking their contact list to see if there is a way to persuade the editors to change career (make them an offer they cannot refuse).

    • patg1642
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

      Frontiers said no threats thus far. After their latest statement, they should prepare for some.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

      re: Frontiers

      Dana N. has posted a couple of very ‘interesting’ remarks, angry and bitter, claiming personal knowledge that the Lewandowsky authors had agreed to all revisions sought by Frontiers. Now Dana is exploring the “let’s trash the journal” approach to defending Lewandowsky et al.

      Dana N. on Lewandowsky et al.

      [emphasis added]

      “…Now they throw the authors under the bus, claiming their revised submission “did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.” I happen to know the authors agreed to all the revisions requested by Frontiers, so if those revisions did not adequately deal with the issues they raised, that’s Frontiers’ own fault for not requesting changes that would satisfy them. To announce that like it’s Lewandowsky et al.’s fault is just despicable behavior by Frontiers….”

      • Duster
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

        He ought to realize that “agreeing to” and achieving a goal are distinct things. I have a friend who very nearly did not get his degree because he “agreed” to some goals in revising his thesis, but failed to actually understand the criticism and what he was really required to do. Consequently the committee on reviewing the “revised” work almost throttled my buddy on the spot. I made a point of taking his suffering to heart and experienced no such problems myself. Learn from the mistakes of others. It is far less painful.

      • Skiphil
        Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

        Dana N’s latest narrative does not fit the publicly available facts, but he grimly promises that the Frontiers issue is “far from over” — based on any particular knowledge of Lewandowsky and Cook plans, or not?

        Dana N. (with personal knowledge of Cook-Lewandowsky) claims Frontiers story is “far from over”

        [Dana N.]

        Come on guys, I know you’re not this dense. Stop playing dumb.

        This is really simple stuff, so I’ll spell it out for you in the simplest terms possible. Frontiers said “We’re concerned about legal liability so make ‘X’ changes to the paper to alleviate those concerns”. Lewandowsky et al. made ‘X’ changes. Frontiers decided to retract the paper anyway, and now is saying “Lewandowsky et al. did not adequately deal with the issues raised by Frontiers.”

        So whose fault is that? You all are grossly biased against Lewandowsky et al., so you want to blame them. But if you set your biases aside, it’s easy to see that it’s Frontiers who’s at fault here, at least when it comes to the revised paper supposedly not addressing Frontiers’ concerns. That’s BS.

        I’ll also say this story is far from over. I guess you might as well celebrate this perceived victory while you can. It won’t last very long.

  30. thingadonta
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    Spot the difference.

    “…the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

    If she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood, and therefore, a witch!.

    The latter one doesn’t hide the data or methodology.

  31. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    I speculated at the time of the retraction that the initial statement showed every indication of trying to walk a fine line between Lew and the victims of his paper. I suggested that the journal, given Lew’s excitable nature, might be fearing a lawsuit from him if they didn’t publish the paper. And that they worded their retraction statement in such a way as to allow him to claim exoneration and blame the victims for the retraction.

    I don’t know how realistic the possibility of a lawsuit by Lew against the journal was, but the statement seemed so accommodating to Lew that I thought the threat of it could very well have been made.

    Now it looks like Frontiers feels Lew and his apologists have perhaps violated the original agreement– whatever it may have been– in denigrating the magazine for “cav[ing] in to threats.” That the piling up of insults by the Lewites over the past two weeks annoyed Frontiers enough to generate the clarification.

  32. braddles
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Even if “legal threats” had been made, there are times, such as this, when they would have been fully justified. “Caving in to legal threats” does not mean you were in the right.

    • Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

      Indeed, Al Capone caved in to legal threats, I believe, over income tax evasion.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

        I cave to stop signs when I read them.

      • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

        Say what you like about Dana, there’s little sign he’d ever cave-in to facts or evidence.

  33. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    In Lew’s blogpost today, he provided a “Summary of Media Coverage.”

    Link here

    Here are some quotes taken from links he provides:

    The paper was in limbo for nearly a full year until Frontiers finally caved to these threats. Nuccitelli in The Guardian

    By all accounts the journal could be viewed as taking a step backwards from that “grand vision” by caving into people who object to research. Hot Whopper

    The University of Western Australia didn’t cave. Hot Whopper

    But this time, the journal—Frontiers in Psychology—caved under the pressure, and, citing “complaints,” provisionally removed the paper from its website. UCS

    So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers. Elaine McKewon

    Elaine McKewon, one of the retracted paper’s three independent reviewers, said Frontiers had been “spineless” in its response to complaints.
    “They caved in at the first pushback from the climate change denial community,” Ms McKewon said.
    Quoted by Peter Hanman in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

      See: Elaine McKewon Social Science Space April 1, 2014 Reviewer: Journal Wilts Under Climate of Intimidation, with response by the Journal Editor and Brandon Schollenberger.

      • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

        Curse that Brandon Schollenberger. He keep stealing my credit!

        • David L. Hagen
          Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          You can add another “peer reviewed” publication to your resume!

        • Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          Well done Brandon! (the response and the wit!)

        • Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

          Thanks. Sadly, it appears The Conversation and Scientific American aren’t going to address the factual inaccuracies in Elaine McKewon’s piece. Scientific American didn’t respond to complaints, and The Conversation explicitly states the piece is accurate in regard to my complaints. Interestingly, The Conversation editor said he decided this after discussing it with McKewon, but he’s refused to explain how they reached their conclusion.

          Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be anything further that can be done. There’s really no recourse when a news organization stands by fabrications. I suppose an Australian might be able to lodge some form of complaint since the organization is partially funded by the government, but I’d have no standing, and I doubt anyone would care much.

        • HAS
          Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          Wikipedia says of “The Conversation”:

          “Ongoing funding and support has been provided by RMIT University; Australian Associated Press; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; Corrs Chambers Westgarth; Ernst & Young; the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; and the State of Victoria Department of Business and Innovation.”

          We Kiwis have never had much influence over the lawless larrakins that populate the West Island, but I see that a couple of our universities, Massey and Victoria, have paid memberships.

      • Skiphil
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

        April 1?? Tell me she didn’t really publish that nonsense on April Fools Day!

      • Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

        I am impressed with the journals even handedness in this matter. That is a place to book mark for future reading. Thank you for the link.

  34. Craig Loehle
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    A year to conduct an investigation on something this obvious? Wow. I believe UWA is on some shaky ground now by hosting a retracted paper and not putting up notice of the retraction.

    • pottereaton
      Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

      Craig

      The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

      The re-write must have taken some time. Lew probably didn’t want to be seen backing down by diluting the message of the paper, which was essentially to belittle those who are skeptical about so-called “consensus climate science.” So they probably argued over content for a while.

      And then you add all the time the lawyers need to put in . . . :)

      Granted the situations were entirely different, but didn’t O”Donnell et al take even longer to get through the ringer?

  35. mpaul
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology.

    That’s a odd statement. I’m not sure I can say more without getting snipped.

  36. Bob Koss
    Posted Apr 4, 2014 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    An Aussie blogger has emailed a query to the UWA ethics dept.

    Do you stand by your previous assertion that you believe the research carried out by Stephan Lewandowsky was fully in compliance with the relevant human research ethics policies of UWA and/or the NHMRC? I intend to publish your response on my blog, Australian Climate Madness.

    http://australianclimatemadness.com/2014/04/05/email-to-uwa-ethics-department/

  37. Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    I’ve put my correspondence to Professor Maybery (Head of School of Psychology, UWA) and with Prof Lewandowsky – reporting errors and requesting data for the ‘Moon Hoax’ paper – online.

    http://unsettledclimate.org/2014/04/05/i-requested-data-from-the-university-of-western-australia/

  38. michael hart
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    Do you think Frontiers will have reimbursed the publishing fee?
    Perhaps not, and so offered the opportunity to submit another article.

  39. Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    Richard, a good point. Leo Abse’s book is privately published. The author and publisher carry responsibility for the material. Though there may be research behind it, it is not science. Scientific psychology research, on the other hand, requires consideration of protection of subjects. For instance, it may be validly argued that psychological research on Thatcher’s public statements would not require protection. She is a public figure. Publicly made statements by non-public figures, such as those in Lewandowsky’s paper, do not qualify in the same class. But, at the same time, if Thatcher’s opponents were to hustle a paper through academic channels saying she was a lunatic, using her mannerism and body-language as data points, she would require and become deserving of protection as a research subject.

    Privately published authors who gain a certain level of reputation become immune to criticism. All further attack only serves to bring notoriety and greater book sales. This point is well illustrated by NN Taleb in his Antifragile. Scientific authors and their work is exempt from this effect as they belong to guilds where they agree to codes of conduct. A major element of protection of subjects in human research in medicine and psychology boils down to unequal power relations between the researcher and the object of study.

    There is ample literature on the topic of research on online commentary. I am yet to see anything intelligible emanate from the Lewandowsky camp on this matter. A small list is below. I believe most of these papers are available online. The last document is an example of an official body formulating codes.

    1) Nissenbaum H. Privacy as contextual integrity. Washington Law Review 2004.
    2) Nissenbaum H. A Contextual Approach to Privacy Online Daedalus (AAAS) 2011.
    3) Colvin J, Lanigan J. Ethical Issues and Best Practice Considerations for Internet Research. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences; Sep 2005; 97, 3.
    4) Madge C Developing a geographers’ adenda for online research ethics. Progress in Human Geography 31(5) (2007) pp. 654–674
    5) Eysenbach G, Till J. Ethical issues in qualitative research on internet communities BMJ 2001;323:1103–5
    6) Eastham L. Research Using Blogs for Data: Public Documents or Private Musings? Research in Nursing & Health, 2011, 34, 353–361
    7) Markham, AoIR Ethics Committe. Ethical Decision-Making ad Internet Research Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (Version 2.0). 2012 (http://www.aoir.org/reports/ethics2.pdf)

    • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

      Thank you, it’s very interesting to know that that’s all out there. My comment on Bishop Hill earlier gave some context for the one on this thread. Ross had added some much-needed reflection on how so much good thinking was ignored for so long by so many in this case.

  40. PhilH
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Reading through Steve’s letters, I think that, faced with the unassailable points he made at the time, particularly regarding Lewandowsky’s conduct in his e-mails and Fury, the Editors finally sat down and said, “Look, this has gone on long enough, we are dealing with a scoundrel here. We can’t be associated with this guy. Say whatever we have to say, let’s get it done. It’s over.”

    In other words, I believe Lewandowsky’s conduct, rather than the faults of the paper, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Phil

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

      I hear Santer wants to get Lewandowsky into a dark alley

      • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

        How strange that he didn’t give a press conference, with other leading climate thinkers, to let the world know that he repudiated the man’s attempts to dehumanise his opponents the moment Hoax gained widespread publicity.

  41. JB Goode
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    Never mind the ‘data’ just look at the titles.

    NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

    Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation

    Frontiers in Psychology?
    Frontiers in gullibility,incompetance and craven obfustication when confronted with facts,if you ask me.
    Congratulations Steve,you’re a machine.

  42. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    I do not see how only after being reminded in writing that public figures in the climate debates were being diagnosed with characteristics of psychological disorders that Frontiers explanations for retraction mean anything at this point in time. Implications that the article was not about climate change but rather psychology rings of using academic naivety as an excuse for not seeing this article for what is was: demonizing those with whom Lewandosky disagrees or with whom he thinks he disagrees with regards to climate change and/or have criticized his past works on the topic.

    This whole episode reminds me of how, when a climate science paper is properly analyzed and shown to have basic errors and a multitude of methodological errors and a particular analysis deals with a single issues, it sometimes appears that given a correction to that single issue the rest of the paper’s problems fade away. That is what I fear I see with renditions at these blogs that confine the analysis of Lewandowsky’s Fury to particular issues when the paper has problems at many levels – and very much needs context for criticism.

  43. Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    One of the comments in the BishopHill thread (by TinyCO2) raised the important point that this fiasco was not a heat-of-the-moment blunder by one or two people showing momentarily bad judgment, it was a sustained effort by many people over a long (and apparently continuing) time, all of them unable to see how obviously unethical and offensive were the actions that they were either engaged in or were enabling.

    This reminds me of the 10:10 video episode. In that case, while it was shocking to see a psychotic homicide fantasy used to promote a climate campaign, it was even more shocking to realize that a hundred people, including many well-educated professionals, had spent months of their time, much of it volunteered (apparently), producing the film, and all during this process not one of them thought that there might be something wrong–never mind sick–with with what they were doing. So when the whole thing erupted on them they were caught off guard. They were genuinely astonished that anyone would have been offended.

    I believe it was Jo Nova at the time who nailed the point that the reason they were so surprised was that in their mind they weren’t murdering people, they were murdering skeptics, so where’s the problem. In their world they had so thoroughly dehumanized anyone who disagrees with them that mass slaughter came to make sense as an expedient option for accelerating political progress.

    I suspect that the floundering and contradictions by Frontiers and UWA reflects the fact that they were likewise caught off guard. Lewandowsky et al. weren’t failing to protect the rights of people, just skeptics. That it took such lengthy and repeated interventions by the subjects whose rights were being violated to get the journal editors to see the blindingly obvious problem, shows how distorted their outlook had been to that point. Recall that Frontiers’ initial retraction statement denied that there were any ethical problems with the paper. And apparently the senior admin at UWA still don’t see it.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

      So very well said, Ross, and let’s contrast this thoughtful statement with what Dana N. and allies are posting at Retraction Watch today…. they still “don’t get it”

      • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

        For example Dana

        It’s just really sad to see Frontiers self-destruct and try to take Lewandowsky et al. down with them. They obviously made a mistake in deciding the paper needed to be retracted. They received more blowback from the academic community than they would have from the denial community had they just left the paper published. Those threatening legal action didn’t have a leg to stand on – UWA’s lawyers knew it. But the journal made the mistake and caved to the threats – and yes, they caved, despite their denial of that obvious fact.

        Now they throw the authors under the bus, claiming their revised submission “did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.” I happen to know the authors agreed to all the revisions requested by Frontiers, so if those revisions did not adequately deal with the issues they raised, that’s Frontiers’ own fault for not requesting changes that would satisfy them. To announce that like it’s Lewandowsky et al.’s fault is just despicable behavior by Frontiers.

        The authors and the journal agreed to language regarding the retraction, and now Frontiers has reneged on that agreement too in order to throw them under the bus. It’s hard to think of how Frontiers could have handled this whole fiasco any worse. They’ve made one stupid decision after another, and frankly I suspect they’ve now opened themselves up to legal action by the authors whose legal agreement they broke.

        Lucia:

        The most you can know is that in your opinion or that of the authors they made changes they think should have satisfied Frontiers. Evidently, Frontiers opinion differs.

        Presumably the authors could publish both the communications from Frontiers and their own revised manuscripts and then we could all decide for ourselves? Of course, if the authors are mistaken about the law, publishing their own revisions might open them to the liabilities Frontiers perceives to exist. Still, it’s up to them.

        You seem to be privy to lots of inside information. Can we anticipate the authors self-publishing their revised manuscript along with the guidance from Frontiers?

        We have a great team that’s proving hard to dehumanise.

        • pottereaton
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

          Richard: notice that there is only one quotation in the clarification on the retraction. They are quoting Dana. In other words, he’s at least partially to blame for the collapse of the agreement.

          Maybe if they had stuck to using the first retraction to merely claim victory and exoneration and not denigrate the journal, the journal would not have “reneged on the agreement.” It doesn’t occur to him that the journal obviously believes that Lewandowsky and his acolytes “reneged on the agreement” by repeatedly posting disparaging remarks about the journal.

        • Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

          Yes, Frontiers statement of 4th:

          Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”;

          Dana:

          … the journal made the mistake and caved to the threats – and yes, they caved, despite their denial of that obvious fact.

          So many obvious facts, so much denial. No need to release the correspondence and the revised paper, as Lucia suggests, for the facts are obvious:

          I have said it thrice:
          What I tell you three times is true.

          To disagree, like Frontiers, when privy to the full facts, is ‘despicable behavior’.

          But to release the full facts … er, no. Prefer not.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

          re: Dana N., SkepticalScience, and Lewandowsky

          When examining the Lewandowksy/SkepticalScience nexus, has it been noticed that Lewandowsky provided the SECOND review (in temporal order) to Michael Mann’s 2012 screed when it was published Jan. 28, 2012? So before Lew got publicly involved in publishing his pseudo “studies” of climate psychology he was already a self-identified polemical ally of Michael Mann, vehemently attacking critics of Mann et al.

          Lewandowsky provides instant rave review for Michael Mann’s polemic on Amazon, Jan. 28, 2012

          i.e., after John Cook’s then-secret campaign with Michael Mann to provide digital review copies to SkS allies in order to open the astro-turf campaign, Lewandowsky weighs in immediately with a detailed (fawning) review once the door opens at Amazon.

          One can see the temporal order of reviews posted on Jan. 28, 2012 at Amazon by going to “all reviews” of Mann’s book, ordering by “Newest First” — and then going to the far end of the list, the oldest. Lewandowsky’s hagiography is number 2.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

          p.s. Curious, more than 4 years later this remains the only book review that Lewandowsky has ever published at Amazon.com

          The facts that (1) it appears to have been part of the SkS “astro-turfing” operation, and (2) John Cook and Dana N. of SkS emerge as close polemical allies of Lewandowsky over the past few years, puts Lewandowsky’s subsequent “scientific” studies of his perceived adversaries in some interesting context. Maybe Frontiers has finally realized that Lew is in no way a dispassionate, disinterested academic providing them with scientific research.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

          oh shucks, ofc I meant “over 2 years later” (not 4 years) since the Lewandowsky review of Mann…. why does it feel like this stuff has gone on forever?

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly.

    • mpaul
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

      Inyenzi.

  44. Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Before celebrating about this “victory” it is worth pointing out that retractions of false information is known to be ineffective. Therefore the original accusation, even though false will still be retained as a false memory:-

    Media coverage of the 2003 Iraq War frequently contained corrections and retractions of earlier information. For example, claims that Iraqi forces executed coalition prisoners of war after they surrendered were retracted the day after the claims were made. Similarly, tentative initial reports about the discovery of weapons of mass destruction were all later disconfirmed. We investigated the effects of these retractions and disconfirmations on people’s memory for and beliefs about war-related events in two coalition countries (Australia and the United States) and one country that opposed the war (Germany). Participants were queried about (a) true events, (b) events initially presented as fact but subsequently retracted, and (c) fictional events. Participants in the United States did not show sensitivity to the correction of misinformation, whereas participants in Australia and Germany discounted corrected misinformation.

    Lewandowsky (2005) Memory for fact, fiction and misinformation: The Iraq war 2003.

    • Kneel
      Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

      “Lewandowsky (2005) Memory for fact, fiction and misinformation: The Iraq war 2003.”

      Wow!
      I’m not a lawyer, but this sure sounds to me like the basis for a legal case – Lew et al knew, or should reasonably have known, that even corrections after the fact would not have protected the victims they unethically identified (or, through neglect, failed to prevent the identification of).

      It looks worse and worse for UWA continuing to keep the paper published on their website…

  45. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Part of the problem is the loose nature of psychology as a science. They call it a soft science, which means, I suppose, that the ethical/academic standards are more flexible.

    Lewinsky’s kind of psychoanalysis has precedents. You could call it “remote pyschoanalysis” and it’s often performed to ridicule celebrities or political figures. Whitaker Chambers was blatantly defamed in a book by San Francisco psychiatrist Meyer Zelig in 1967 who used remote psychoanalysis to come to the conclusion that Chambers had framed Hiss. In 1988 an historian named Michael Rogin at Berkeley psycho-analyzed Ronald Reagan and of course found him unbalanced. Richard Drake points out above that Leo Abse psychoanalyzed Margaret Thatcher in the same fashion.

    Lewandowski only used methods that were accepted and often critically acclaimed in the field in the past, albeit much more clumsily and against less recognizable individuals. When the editors at Frontiers accepted the paper, they were not accepting something unprecedented. The problem they had is that the issue of climate is still very current and sensitive whereas the works mentioned above were somewhat after the fact, although Thatcher was in office for another year after publication of Abse’s book.

  46. kuhnkat
    Posted Apr 5, 2014 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    “We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology. The actions taken by Frontiers sought to ensure the right balance of respect for the rights of all.”

    Things would have been different if it was a Climate Paper that had these problems?!?!?!?

  47. Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

    I explore the Lewandowsky/Elaine McKewon nexus here today, interesting stuff emerges:

    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/04/climate-papers-without-peer/

    • sue
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 1:33 AM | Permalink

      Tony, good work, but none of your links in the article work…

      • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

        They work on my computer ok. But try cutting and pasting the endnotes into the browser instead. thanks.

    • A. Scott
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

      Tony – I think you miss an important distinction … the difference between peer reviewers, which McKewon is, and “editors” which you discuss.

      The peer reviewer performs peer reviews. The “Editor” is responsible for over-site of the review process, decisions regarding publication etc.

      Dr Viren Swami is the Frontiers Editor for this paper. After the original 2nd peer reviewer Michael Wood withdrew and asked his name be removed, and after Prof. Nateson was listed to replace him, then quickly removed, Mr. Swami apparently appointed himself as the 2nd Peer Reviewer, in addition to his duties as Editor.

      While Swami is qualified as a reviewer, not only is he Editor for the paper with editorial control, his work is also central – at the heart of – the underlying LOG12 “Moon Landing Hoax” paper.

  48. None
    Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    In one of your letters to Frontiers, you mention the FTP blocking of Mann. Didn’t that turn out to be a default “robots” block that was being triggered by the fact you were using R to retrieve the data rather than a browser ?

    Steve: no. I was blocked from browser access, but could access from the U of Toronto library. you’re thinking of an incident where I scraped GISS data, but have the facts wrong there as well. The block was not triggered by robots.txt, but by a manual override by the GISS website administrator, who then refused to lift the block when I notified him that it was research access. After I publicized the incident, Hansen overruled and permitted me to continue the scraping program since they did not appear to have any methods of their own for providing organized ftp access. Indeed, one of their own personnel subsequently contacted for me information on how to access their database.

    • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

      So, er, None of the above.

      • None
        Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

        Thanks for the response, was a genuine query with no snark intended.
        Reading the documents, I was astounded to see Lewandowsky’s rude, derogatory and childish “counterbalancing” response to a simple question.

        Steve: in addition to the childishness of the original response, Fury classified the questions themselves as evidence of, using Frontiers term, “psychopathological characteristics”. Whereas questioning Mann’s reasoning was merely claimed to be a tort, questioning Lewandowsky’s reasoning is claimed to be a psychological disorder.

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

          So snark there was none. Incompetence then? But that doesn’t fit with the clever allusion, without identifying quote, to a “rude, derogatory and childish” response from Lew to a “simple question” just like yours to Steve. It’s a mystery. I admit I’m stumped.

        • None
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

          I have no idea what you are talking about Richard, when you refer to “the clever allusion…”.

          If you are simply asking which Lewandowsky remark I was referring to it is the one from a link Steve referred to in the post:

          http://www.climateaudit.info/correspondence/lewandowsky/complaint%20defamation%20to%20frontiers.pdf

          Starting with “If I am not mistaken”.

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

          Steve makes a vital point about the dire progression in the responses of those he’s questioned in this ‘field’ (whatever one calls it), from Mann to Lewandowsky. You deserve gratitude for prompting that. No offence intended by my punning and I hope none taken.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

      “Indeed, one of their own personnel subsequently contacted for me information on how to access their database.”

      Once again I have been amazed at how poorly so many of the climate scientists and research groups have behaved toward you (and others) these past 12+ years. If all of them had behaved professionally, with collegiality and genuine scientific spirit so much more would have been accomplished in these fields. All they needed to do was to operate with normal human and professional decency.

    • scf
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

      “R” is not a robot, and would never be classified as one.

      • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

        True, in that R is a general purpose programming language and a robot is a certain kind of program written in such a language. The most important thing to understand is that almost all bad robots ignore /robots.txt. The good ones of course don’t. In the case of GISS above Steve would not have viewed his R program as a robot, because he was only interested in gathering publicly available data from one site, to help all comers. Like a bad robot he wasn’t interested in robots.txt – but not because he was a bad robot! He was in fact being a good web citizen, as Hansen later recognised.

      • None
        Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

        You can’t claim that, a priori, without knowing for sure which libraries/packages were used by Steve and what parameters were set on them when used. Unless you happen to know them all, and know no package offers that facility, in which case the packages are lacking a feature.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

          Huh.
          you don’t know what you are talking about. Steve used the built in ReadLines(url) to access data. There are a few R packages that give you better more civilized control over scraping web sites. If you like I’ll school you in them. Send a check for $5000 and I will enroll you. It comes with a free Eric Steig matlab class pass.

        • Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

          What are you guys talking about? It doesn’t matter what function, package or language Steve McIntyre used. None of those have anything to do with whether or not he was in violation of the robots.txt file. You can write a web crawler with the function/package/language he used, but you can also write something that isn’t one.

          In this case, McIntyre wrote a program to access a number of files. His program was not one the robots.txt standard was created to address. As such, his program violated nothing. The web admin’s decision to block McIntyre was not due to any misbehavior on McIntyre’s end. The web admin simply saw behavior that seemed suspicious to him, and he blocked McIntyre for it. It turns out that behavior was unexpected, but not unwelcome.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

          Enough on GISS robots. It’s OT.

    • Nicholas
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

      I believe this incident was partly my fault as I provided an R function to download data automatically without warning Mr. McIntyre that he might get into trouble using it. To be honest, I didn’t really consider it would be likely to cause any problems as the volume of data required was not especially huge and downloading it all in this manner did not seem unreasonable to me.

      The problem is that unfortunately, climate data is sometimes very large (gigabytes) but only offered in small chunks. For example, station-by-station or year-by-year (or both). Unless they offer you a “download this blob for all the data” link, how can you get the data without writing a “robot” to scrape it?

      A properly configured server should not be overloaded by a reasonable volume of requests from a program such as this. It isn’t like the software was downloading links in parallel or anything like that. If that is a problem then in my opinion they really should offer the “blob” download.

      After all, this is the whole reason the Internet was created in the first place, wasn’t it? For researchers to share data?

      Anyway, just my 2c and apologies if the incident caused any lasting problems.

  49. Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    In my request to have my name removed, I specifically mentioned to Frontiers their policy about confidentiality of subjects. I also mentioned that the “authors” had been contacted first, had refused correction, and my hope was that cooler heads would prevail in this matter. I’m glad to see these concepts repeated by them.

    I would suggest that Frontiers acted in an adult manner and took care of the main issues quite well but they should consider a review of the editors who allowed something so blatant to pass through ‘scientific peer review’.

  50. John A
    Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Most of you missed the kicker for Lewandowsky et al (my emphasis) by the editorial board:

    “We take this opportunity to reassure our editors, authors and supporters that Frontiers will continue to publish – and stand by – valid research”

    And they made clear that that is separate to the ethics of using their journal to slander people.

    • JEM
      Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

      I’d think the point here is that Frontiers is trying to keep the grounds for retraction as narrow as possible.

      Once it’s retracted, from their standpoint the rest of the issues with the paper – and the rest of the issues surrounding its publication, including the dubious grade of reviewers chosen or accepted by Frontiers – are no longer worthy of consideration.

  51. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    Lewandowski has responded:

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf3.html

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 3:23 AM | Permalink

      Lewandowsky concludes:

      “Or there are other possibilities that we have not been able to identify.”

      Perhaps they (he?) is unable to understand that the well argued and cogent complaints convinced Frontiers that his paper was not worthy of being published?

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

        Clearly if one is infallible the rejection of your paper can only be the result of prejudice or a well-funded oil conspiracy.

  52. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    You can almost smell the threat of a breach of contract lawsuit in that statement.

    • Sven
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

      Exactly. And that’s the reason why dr. Lew left all the point scoring in the media to his henchmen. And now he feels insulted. All so legal. All so planned. Despicable.

      • pottereaton
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

        Correct, Sven. Lew sits above the fray while others insult and threaten on his behalf. Here’s some threatening language delivered by Nuccitelli after the clarification by Frontiers:

        They’ve made one stupid decision after another, and frankly I suspect they’ve now opened themselves up to legal action by the authors whose legal agreement they broke.

        The story certainly isn’t going to end with them contradicting the statement they agreed upon with the paper authors.

        • Jeff Norman
          Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

          To be entirely fair, the same thing could be said about our host.

  53. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Here’s a series of statements made by Lew in his statement released yesterday, with the operative phrase being “contractually-agreed” or variation thereof:

    This recent statement raised several points that were new to us and that can be interpreted as a departure from the earlier, contractually-agreed retraction statement.

    This stands in contrast to the contractually-agreed retraction statement, signed by legal representatives of both parties, that Frontiers “…did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study.”

    The journal’s recent claim also sits uneasily with the contractually-agreed retraction statement, which ascribed the retraction to an “insufficiently clear” legal context.

    Second, . . . It would also imply that the journal entered into a contractual agreement about the retraction statement that misrepresented its actual position.

    Third, perhaps the journal only thought of this new angle now and in its haste did not consider that it violates their contractually-agreed position.

    The threat of a lawsuit is now coming from Lew et al. Is there a psychopathological term for the inability to recognize irony?

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf3.html

    • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

      Noticed the same with the arrogant bluster from Dana Nuccitelli yesterday. I am completely inexperienced in these matters, but, ‘contractually-agreed retraction statement’? Excuse me?

      How is a journal obligated to enter into a contract to write up a retraction statement? Anyone who’s familiar with Retraction Watch and paper retractions can tell, retractions come in all sizes and shapes and journals owe authors little explanation.

      Lewandowsky is really taking the notions of scientific publishing to new frontiers. He fancies he can bundle up all their problems under the ‘legal issues’ banner and dump them on the journal’s head.

      • pauldd
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

        I tend to doubt that there was a legally enforceable contract regarding the retraction language. It seems more likely that there were a series of emails that led to an informal agreement of sorts.

        However, as I posted at the Blackboard:

        There have been some suggestions that there was contractual agreement between Frontier and Dr. Lewandowsky regarding the terms and language of the retraction.

        As any lawyer knows, an agreement is unenforceable as a contract unless it is supported by “consideration” from each party. “Consideration” is a legal term of art that can be defined as, “Something of value given by both parties to a contract that induces them to enter into the agreement to exchange mutual promises.” In other words, each party must give up something of value for the contract to be enforceable in court.

        It seems to me that prior to any negotiations, Frontiers was legally free to retract the paper and provide any explanation it deemed to be appropriate. Frontier may have voluntarily agreed to issue the retraction using language agreed to by Dr. Lewandowsky. For this agreement to be enforceable as a contract, however, Dr. Lewandowsky would have been required to make promises that would constitute consideration. In other words, he would have been required make a promise to do or refrain from doing something of value.

        Before we can even consider whether there has been a breach of contract, I would want to know what consideration Dr. Lewandowsky provided to make the contract enforceable. I would also want to see the terms of any contract that might exist. Does it prohibit Frontiers from providing further comments regarding additional reasons for the retraction?

    • HaroldW
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

      pottereaton: “Is there a psychopathological term for the inability to recognize irony?”

      Irony deficiency = Lewkemia

      Well, someone was gonna say it…

      • pottereaton
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

        +1

      • j ferguson
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

        HaroldW, Lewkemia could be the affliction of the year. Hope it isn’t contagious. Bravo

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      “contractually agreed retraction statement”?? really? A journal can retract a paper without the permission or agreement of the author AFAIK. Lawyers were involved? really? Or is this a figment?

      • j ferguson
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

        Craig,
        That is an interesting question. Who does retract? I would think only the author. The journal would be more the medium, not the originator. I wouldn’t doubt that they would strongly encourage the author to retract but maybe if he won’t agree, they do something other than “retract.”

      • Carrick
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

        Craig, it’s real. Lewandowsky and colleagues were involved, and so to was their legal staff.

        It also appears to be rather standard. Not having been involved in a retraction before, I was unaware of this. I posted this comment here:

        As I mentioned on the Frontiers website, somebody pointed this link out to me:

        http://publicationethics.org/files/retraction%20guidelines.pdf

        Some selected quotes:

        “Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and alerting readers to publications that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon. Unreliable data may result from honest error or from research misconduct.”

        “The main purpose of retractions is to correct the literature and ensure its integrity rather than to punish authors who misbehave.”

        “Retraction should usually be reserved for publications that are so seriously flawed (for whatever reason) that their findings or conclusions should not be relied upon.”

        “Journals’ instructions for authors should explain the retraction procedure and describe the circumstances under which articles might be retracted. This information should be incorporated (e.g. by references) into any publishing agreements and brought to the authors’ attention. However, even if the publishing agreement or journal instructions do not set out specific conditions for retraction, authors usually would not have grounds for taking legal action against a journal over the act of retraction if it follows a suitable investigation and proper procedures.”

        “However, legal advice may be helpful to determine appropriate wording for a notice of retraction or expression of concern to ensure that these are not defamatory or libellous. Nevertheless, retraction notices should always mention the reason(s) for retraction to distinguish honest error from misconduct.”

        “Whenever possible, editors should negotiate with authors and attempt to agree a form of wording that is clear and informative to readers and acceptable to all parties. If authors consent to the wording of a retraction statement, this provides defence against a libel claim.”

    • MrPete
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

      Again we’re only seeing one side of the story, this time from L. I doubt that Frontiers is legally stupid. Thus, they must feel comfortable with the idea that L’s side were the ones who were first to breach the contract.

      There’s plenty of evidence that L is not one to be very careful with the rules, unless forced to.

    • JEM
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

      It would be nice to see journals take away from this that future Lewandowsky papers ought to be conveyed from inbox to trash by someone with tongs and a hazmat suit.

      Unless, of course, Lew intends to leave his name off the *papers* too…

      • scf
        Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

        You have expressed my thoughts exactly, complete with a reference to radioactivity.

    • mpaul
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

      Presumably, the “contractually agreed upon statement” was this (from Frontiers):

      In the light of a small number of complaints received following publication of the original research article cited above, Frontiers carried out a detailed investigation of the academic, ethical, and legal aspects of the work. This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear and therefore Frontiers wishes to retract the published article. The authors understand this decision, while they stand by their article and regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors.

      Lew then went on to issue all sorts of other statements that deviated quite a bit from this statement. Perhaps Frontiers felt that Lew violated the agreement first and Frontiers was then free to set the record straight.

      But, this still raises a question: why to they state in the first statement that the investigation “did not identify and issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study”, but in the second statement say: “Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects.”

      Is not the protection of Subjects rights a matter of ethics and not just law?

  54. MrPete
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    It just hit me. L’s claim is not that there’s a contract regarding the retraction, but a contract regarding the retraction statement. He doesn’t emphasize this but go back and re-read his list of statements.

    I’m not at all surprised that all parties agreed to, and perhaps signed off on, a mutually agreeable statement.

    What would surprise me is if the original agreement prohibited anyone from making any further statements, based on new evidence. And in particular, the nature of such evidence that would be required.

    Frontiers’ new statement makes it clear what led them to speak further, and then they make a statement. Taking it all at face value, apparently they feel they have a right to make such a statement, based on the events they describe.

    I don’t see anything controversial about this. Time for more popcorn.

    • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

      Why would such an agreement bind Frontiers not to make any more statements, since Lew and friends covered the ‘net with their conspiracy ideationist claims about a spineless journal and evil skeptics?

    • scf
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

      I agree. Originally it seems the journal used the standard procedure to protect themselves from libel, which is to agree to the language of retraction. But then they saw their reputation being maligned in the media with references to “caving from legal threats”. So they concluded that it’s better to defend their reputation since the threat of libel is small and the truth would easily prevail in court in any libel suit.

      I think though that Lew is trying to be clever as well, it is his friends in the media that have lobbed those claims of “caving from legal threats”, so now Lew can say that on his side he abided by the contract regarding the language of retraction. So he may launch legal action if he chooses. But he would lose. It is clear to any neutral observer that there were sufficient grounds for retraction and that the second notice was truthful, both responding to the new events and characterizing the deeper reasons for retraction.

      • Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

        journal used the standard procedure to protect themselves from libel, which is to agree to the language of retraction. But then they saw their reputation being maligned in the media with references to “caving from legal threats”. So they concluded that it’s better to defend their reputation since the threat of libel is small and the truth would easily prevail in court in any libel suit.

        Excellent observation, SCF

  55. Tom C
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    I don’t see any sort of victory in this episode. The journal did not handle this cleanly, and they dragged their feet. I would bet that they are getting thumbscrew pressure from many sides to prostrate themselves and repent.

    Think back about how ludicrous it seemed that Mann could even consider suing Steyn. Then read the first judge’s ruling. Don’t discount Lew’s ability to find corrupt allies.

    • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

      If Frontiers hadn’t retracted the paper and hadn’t made this second statement, where would we be? This may not be Montgomery at El Alamein but one never knows. It ain’t Custer’s last stand, on either side, I’ll grant you that.

    • pottereaton
      Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

      The victory is in Lewandowsky’s defeat. It’s a personal defeat for him and his type of scholarship, which is essentially to belittle and ridicule unsuspecting people through the use of rigged and unethical pyschoanalysis.

      He’s had to wait a year for a decision, the paper was then retracted in a clumsy retraction announcement that tried to have it both ways,but that just fed the wolves that are Lew’s ideological supporters. So now the journal has come out finally and told the truth in a devastating indictment of the methods used in the paper.

      It’s huge loss for him.

  56. FergalR
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Off topic, sorry if you have to waste time deleting.

    Mann is flipping stuff upside-down again.

  57. FergalR
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    ^ forgot the link http://phys.org/news/2014-04-slowdown-global-fleeting.html

  58. Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    This is a bit late, but I’d like to point out that Frontiers’ statement

    Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.

    deals precisely with the point I made in my complaint, which can be found at

    http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/lewandowsky-my-part-in-his-downfall/

    I don’t understand why the authors, in their revised paper, didn’t simply remove the names of McIntyre, Watts, Nova, ROM, and me from their table 3, which would have protected them from any accusations of defamation. Any ideas?

    • Sven
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

      I’ll give it a try. Maybe because the purpose of the whole exercise was to show that you guys are nuts? “Scientifically”

      • Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

        Sven
        You’re right that Lewandowsky, as early as the introduction to Moon Hoax, (2010?) showed that the true targets of his pseudo-science were Watts and McIntyre. Nova is a logical addition, since she is Cook’s and Lewandowsky’s most formidable opponent on the Australasian continent. I can just about believe that Cook added ROM and me out of spite because we caught him out fibbing about the SkepticalScience link (But why not Barry Woods, who has a right to feel peeved about being left out of this roll of honour?)
        But why didn’t they simply leave our names out of the revised paper that Frontiers generously offered to publish? That way, they could have continued to claim that climate sceptics were conspiratorial ideationists with paranoid tendencies, a claim that has been repeated by a British government minister and Lord Deben, the Chairman of the Climate Change Commission, the government appointed body responsible for the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets.
        I don’t expect readers here to be interested in the obscure byways of the British constitution, but the withdrawal of the Recursive Fury paper means that Lord Deben and Minister Davey can now be challenged in the two houses of the British parliament on the truth of their statements. Ministers can be forced to resign if found lying.
        Lewandowsky is currently professor at a distinguished British university, in receipt of a medal from the Royal Society and a five figure sum from the British taxpayer to attract him to our shores. In June he will be giving a public lecture on the subject of his Moon Hoax paper. This is a story that has legs.

        • scf
          Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

          He had already proven that climate deniers are crazy (with pseudo-science). He wanted to take the next step. He felt there was no need to repeat the first step. The next step was to target the prime deniers individually, to make the direct link. If you’re walking up the stairs, and you’re on step 2, there is no need to take step 2 once more. If you’ve argued that those deniers believe the moon landing was faked, isn’t that crazy enough? So you really need to claim they’re paranoid too?

    • Jan
      Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: geoffchambers (Apr 7 14:25),

      I have struggled to see how removing names or anonymizing previously non-anonymized individuals could be of any use whatsoever in making the paper more publishable. Everybody following this saga knows just who has been furiously diagnosed and just what is the underlying basis for that furious diagnosis. The thousands of blog posts that stand as a testament to the struggle to have the authors correct the record can never be expunged.

      To me it would just make the paper more fantastic than it already is. It was bad enough when isolated comments were misrepresented. At least those quoted comments could be researched and the searcher could judge for him or herself whether or not they demonstrated some kind of conspiratorial thinking defect. Anonymizing would make the whole paper more useless than it already is.

      Am I missing something?

      • Skiphil
        Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

        yes, how can such a paper be “anonymized” AFTER the stuff was already put out there?? Thousands of people have seen the non-anonymized version….. they cannot put that toothpaste back in its tube, even though Frontiers was willing to try to go along with the pretence. The only time for successful maintenance of the “anonymized” approach as valid and ethical would have been before the paper ever was placed on the Internet.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

          That approach would still have had its own issues, but my point is that they passed that fork in the road long ago and cannot (legitimately, honestly) unscramble the eggs in their nasty omelet.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          mixed metaphors intentional, for possible entertainment value….

  59. MrPete
    Posted Apr 7, 2014 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    I’m at least a little surprised that nobody has mentioned how we have a likely example of psychological projection here in the Lew team.

  60. pottereaton
    Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    Why Elaine McKewon should not have been a reviewer of Lew’s paper:

    In my PhD research, I am examining Australian newspaper coverage of climate science during 1996-2010 with the aim of explaining how the scientific consensus on climate change was reconstructed as a ‘scientific debate’ in the news media.

    Theory

    I am developing an interdisciplinary model of the social production of scientific ignorance – the process whereby a coalition of agents from different social fields constructs a false scientific controversy at the public level in order to undermine authoritative scientific knowledge. This theoretical framework integrates concepts from the history and philosophy of science, journalism studies, sociology, political science and communication theory.

    Empirical Studies

    First, I identified the drivers of newspaper coverage of climate change in Australia and the news sources who accessed the news media to discredit authoritative scientific knowledge about climate change. I found that these news sources have historical, material connections to American think tanks, Australian conservative political parties and economic interests in the fossil fuel, mining and energy industries – all of which oppose policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    I then mapped out the discursive strategies used by these news sources and the ideological basis of the narratives propagated through discourse coalitions that permeate the Field of Power which encompasses the political, economic, academic, media and think tanks social fields. . .

    She’s a conspiracy theorist herself.

  61. Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Apparently, am I wrong that the use of a legal “threat” is now intentionally being misrepresented as being essentially the same as a “death threat”. If I remember correctly, some of those Aussie death threats were just made up shit. But these legal “threats” are real – so they must be far worse than a death threat since these threats are real! Wow, this “threat” stuff is so confusing to pathological “deniers” like me!

  62. Skiphil
    Posted Apr 8, 2014 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    A general point that I have not seen emphasized (I may have missed it): Lewandowsky et al. interfered massively and pervasively in the materials of their “research” by first founding a blog with the grandiose title “Shaping Tomorrow’s World”…. They announce that they intend to shape (re-shape) the world, then pretending that they had not provoked the very critical responses they pretend to “study”….

    Merely that title, never mind the many vitriolic and alarm-oriented screeds which they published there before and during their so-called research, propounds their comprehensive goal of…..

    “shaping” …… “tomorrow’s” ……. “WORLD”

    So first Lewandowsky, Cook, Skeptical Science moderators, et al. issue declarations of their intent to “shape” the very “world” in which we all live.

    Then they attempt a study which is supposed to be scientific analyzing critical responses to their own grandiose pomposity.

    Talk about injecting themselves and their ideas into their own subject of study, and then pretending to “research” the critical responses.

  63. David L. Hagen
    Posted Apr 11, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    Henry Markram, Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers explains situation and their action in detail:
    Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers

    The studied subjects were explicitly identified in the paper without their consent. It is well acknowledged and accepted that in order to protect a subject’s rights and avoid a potentially defamatory outcome, one must obtain the subject’s consent if they can be identified in a scientific paper. The mistake was detected after publication, and the authors and Frontiers worked hard together for several months to try to find a solution. In the end, those efforts were not successful. The identity of the subjects could not be protected and the paper had to be retracted. . . .
    For Frontiers, publishing the identities of human subjects without consent cannot be justified in a scientific paper. . . .While the subjects and their statements were public, they did not give their consent to a public psychological diagnosis in a scientific study. Science cannot be abused to specifically label and point out individuals in the public domain.

    Reposted by Anthony Watts:
    Frontiers fires back again on the hype surrounding Lewandowsky’s retracted Recursive Fury paper, with a link to Anthony’s letter to Frontiers.

    • scf
      Posted Apr 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

      They say the issue was detected after publication. That statement is misleading. Both the authors and peer reviewers were aware of the issue prior to publication. The issue was detected by the victims after publication, who notified frontiers, which made frontiers aware of it after publication.
      Once again, they are bending over backyards to be nice to the authors.

    • Bob Koss
      Posted Apr 15, 2014 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

      Henry Markram has added his personal opinion in the comments below the latest statement by Frontiers. Here are the first two sentences.

      My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are doing the climate change crisis a tragic disservice by attacking people personally and saying that it is ethically ok to identify them in a scientific study. They made a monumental mistake, refused to fix it and that rightfully disqualified the study.

      The Bishop has his comment in full.

      http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2014/4/15/more-from-markram.html

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] http://climateaudit.org/2014/04/04/frontiers-issues-statement-on-lewandowsky/ […]

  2. […] editors turned the carefully stage-managed Lewandowsky narrative upside down. Rarely does a succinct statement as this get so many key elements of a complex dispute, right on the […]

  3. […] […]

  4. […] conspiracy’ and provided a link, which instead of doing the honest thing (linking to what the critics actually said) goes to a green blog. There is no excuse for Anderson’s misrepresentation of the facts, […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: