A few weeks ago, I mentioned here that the new editor-in-chief of GRL, Jay Famiglietti, had removed James Saiers as our editor, had made remarks about our papers to Environmental Science & Technology that can be construed as critical, had pulled two rejected Comments out of the garbage can (including one that had been press released by Ammann of UCAR) and had advised us that one of the Comments, by David Ritson of Stanford, had been sent out for refereeing without an accompanying Reply (in breach of AGU policies on reviewing Comments), had been accepted and gave us 3 weeks notice to submit a reply. Our 3 weeks was up today and we submitted a Reply to Ritson posted up here. The Reply was submitted today and is being reviewed – all rights are reserved to the American Geophysical Union – not to be reproduced.
You’ll have to try to figure out the Ritson Comment from our Reply, but you’ll see that we don’t think much of it. Our Reply is written fairly strongly. The unfortunate thing for Famiglietti is that all our comments are correct and there is no way to sugarcoat the Reply. I previously expressed my astonishment at Famiglietti pulling the Ritson Comment out of the garbage can and my equal astonishment at Famiglietti breaching AGU review policies for an already rejected Comment. One would almost think that there had been pressure from the "community", but I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny.
What Famiglietti is probably going to find out is that there’s usually a good reason for policies, that they protect editors as well as authors and, if you have a controversial file, it’s usually a good idea to do it by the numbers. I can’t imagine that this file is going to be any fun for him, but he made his own bed by circumventing AGU policies in the first place. None of the choices for him right now will seem very appetizing and it’s hard to figure out where it will all end. For us, it’s been a total waste of time having to deal with the Ritson Comment all over again and I wish Famiglietti had done things by the numbers.
He’s going to find that the Ammann and Wahl file will be even worse – it will be interesting to see how he deals with their bile and with their withholding adverse cross-validation statistics – just as their mentors did before them.