Moberg Corrigendum

If you look at the Category Moberg on the right frame, you’ll see discussion of frustration that I had in connection with replication of this article and, in particular, with the Lauritzen series. Yesterday, the following Corrigendum was issued:

The authorship of this Letter is amended to include Stein-Erik Lauritzen. Details of the SàƒÆ’à‚ⷹlegrotta Cave record (series 8 ), which should have been accredited to S.-E.L., were not supplied in the paper but are available from the corresponding author (A.M., on request. In addition, the tree-ring-width data from the Indigirka river region (series G) were inadvertently used without the proper permissions: although the series has been discussed in the literature 1, they are unpublished data that have not been made publicly available; they may, however, be obtained through A.M.

1. Sidorova, O. V., Naurzbaev, M. M. Response of Larix cajanderi to climatic changes at the Upper Timberline and in the Indigirka River Valley [in Russian]. Lesovedenie 2, 73—75 (2002).

I’ll write Moberg and see if I can finally get the data in question.

It’s interesting to see how Lauritzen played his hand in this – and maybe this sheds some light on why people are reluctant to archive data. If Lauritzen had simply archived his data in the first place, he would have got a footnote in the original article. Because Moberg had to clean up his supply of data, it appears to me as though Lauritzen had Moberg over a barrel and his price for data access was being added as an author in a Nature publication – coin of the realm in academia. Maybe there’s some other explanation – I hope that there is.

However, this raises another interesting question. There’s been a lot of criticism lately (e.g. in connection with Hwang) about including authors on the masthead of a paper who had nothing to do with the writing of the paper. I suspect that someone can even find some prononucements by Nature on the topic. Here’s a black-and-white example where Lauritzen obviously had nothing to do with the original paper – as evidenced by the fact that the original authors didn’t mention him (and the omission was not accidental.) Nature knew this and still permitted Lauritzen to be added as an author, even though he had nothing to do with the original paper. Does this seem inconsistent to anyone else?

Reference: Anders Moberg, Dmitry M. Sonechkin, Karin Holmgren, Nina M. Datsenko, Wibjörn Karlén and Stein-Erik Lauritzen, 2006. Corrigendum: Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data. Nature 439, 1014(23 February 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04575


  1. per
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    I am not sure I have this correct. You wrote Nature to complain, because not all the data on which this paper was based was publically archived.
    This corrigendum does not address this issue, but simply notes that some of the data-sets may be obtained from the author ? Have I got this right ?

    I suspect your description of hustling may go a long way towards explaining some of the behaviour of people in the field. If you simply publish your proxy data, it goes into The Journal of Dead Wood, with an impact factor of 0.0002; however other people are then able to use that data and get Nature papers from it ! If you hoard your data, you get Nature papers as the price of co-authorship. Given the importance of high impact journals in maintaining funding, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were a significant, and conscious, driver of behaviour.

  2. The Knowing One
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Nature‘s policies on authorships are as follows.

    Submission to Nature is taken to mean that all the listed authors have agreed all the content. … Authors are strongly encouraged to include a statement in the end notes to specify the actual contribution of each coauthor.

    Author Contributions: authors are encouraged to include a statement to specify the contributions of each co-author. The statement can be up to several sentences long, describing the tasks of individual authors referred to by their initials.

    So I don’t see anything strictly wrong being done by Lauritzen or Moberg on authorships.

  3. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    In a younger, less wise day, I actually allowed my name to be included in a case where I did nothing more than have lunch with a paper’s author. Of course he picked my brain and the “price” for the picking was the lunch and the masthead tag.

  4. John A
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #2

    So I don’t see anything strictly wrong being done by Lauritzen or Moberg on authorships.

    You ask Dr Gerald Schatten whether its a good idea.

  5. epica
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    The speculation about the behaviour of people you dont know (here), publishing pictures of people without asking them (Amann) and your investigation on who’s in bed with whom in climate sciences (Crowley) makes me wonder if you shouldnt try directly to work for the yellow press instead of running this webside.

  6. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    re #5

    If you’ll right click on the picture and click properties you’ll see that the ‘publication’ of the picture is just a link to an official site. If people had to start getting permission to link to a picture on the net, we’d might as well shut the whole internet down.

  7. pj
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    Including authors who had nothing to do with a paper seems to be fairly common. A couple of years ago, a climate paper was published that was the standard climate paper making the case for manmade global warming. The lead author was a well-known climate alarmist, but I was shocked as I looked down the long list of co-authors to find one of our most stalwart “skeptics” listed. I sent him an email to ask some questions about the paper, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t misinterpreting it. His reply? “I don’t recall having anything to do with that paper.” I sent him a copy of the paper and he’d never heard of it nor seen it. I’m not sure what he did about it, but I was stunned that such a thing could occur.

  8. jae
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    #5. There probably is too much speculation here, and that is unfortunate. But it is brought about mainly by the failure of certain scientists to release data and methods and their failure to engage in an open dialogue on issues raised on this site. Secrecy always invites speculation.

  9. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    RE: #5. Proof positive that:
    * This site is continually monitored by discrediting operations.
    * That this particular thread, especially its lead off post, has struck a nerve with the orthodoxy.
    Thanks for your post Epica, you have added some value!

  10. Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    #5, It would be prudent to tone done speculation as to motives. Such conclusions or allegations should be more carefully justified, or more carefully stated as only possible explanations. The issue is an interesting one, worth pursuing.

  11. epica
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    #9 Allways trying to be helpful, Steve. My discrediting operations (too much Bond???) intended just to point out that beyound mining and climate rechearch bashing there might be a professional future at the Sun.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Georg, I think that it is a valid issue whether Otto-Bliesen should be a panelist on this particular NAS panel. I linked to a picture at UCAR because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. If they feel that the picture is an invasion of privacy, then they shouldn’t have posted it up on the internet. The connection between Otto-Bliesen and Ammann (and Bradley) is not a matter of gossip, but relevant in terms of assessing potential bias, lack of objectivity and conflict of interest, as required under NAS panel policies.

    In business prospectuses, spouses are defined as not being "independent" and whether someone is a spouse or not is relevant. That’s all that I meant by pointing out that Hegerl and Crowley are spouses – they are not "independent" in the sense that world understands the term. I did not for a minute view this as a yellow press announcement; I see nothing discreditable in either one of them being married to the other. While I may differ with them, they seem like energetic and intelligent people – it’s just that they are not "independent".

    As to what happened with Lauritzen, I agree that my comment here was a bit gossipy – sorry about that. It’s just that honorific authorships have been much in the news lately and this seemed like an amusing example. (I edited the post to dial it back a little). Do you think that my speculation is incorrect?

    BTW I wrote to Moberg requesting the two series and received a cordial reply with the two series included (but not the underlying Indigirka data set).

  13. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    #5 & #11:
    Ad hom attacks like yours are the worst kind of logical fallacies, IMHO. My experience is that they are only used when the author has no facts to back up their position. In other words, an admission that they have lost the debate. Good job.

  14. epica
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    #12 Steve, might be I underestimated the depth of your iconographic analysis of the Amann picture you were publishing since 1000 words are not enough to replace it. There are different interpretations possible: 1) Mountains exist near Boulder 2) There is a dominance of unisex clothing in the West 3) people taken together on a foto are no longer able to come to an objective judgement concerning the science of the others on the foto (this would be a developpment of the shamanistic idea that the soul of a person goes over and is finally banned into the foto?) Which one is the one that couldnt be expressed with 1000 words? Otherwise I am agreeing with you what you call gossipy I call it as well and what you call speculations I call it as well. It’s just I wouldnt put it on a web side.

  15. John A
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 2:46 AM | Permalink

    Re #14

    epica: why is it so difficult to understand or are you going for Hearnden-like pseudo-pedantry?

    The reason for the photograph is, in the context of controversial claims about Steve’s work by Caspar Ammann, which no doubt Steve will be making reference to in his submission to the NAS Panel, Ammann’s immediate superior is part of the panel.

    Now is she meant to be critical of work done by Ammann that she has already approved and used as part of Ammann’s reviews?

    That’s the content of the photograph. Potential conflict of interest.

    Now please avail us all of some substantive arguments and quit whining about the normal functioning of weblogs on the Internet.

  16. JerryB
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps this might be a suitable point to repeat the advice: don’t feed the trolls.

  17. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    Re #16, good advice! Not much support for the troll here –

  18. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    re: 11 Epica
    “….beyound….climate rechearch bashing….”
    Bashing research is not the issue. Most of Steve’s efforts have been to encourage scientific journals to hold climatge research to the same standards by which they judge other sciences.

  19. Bob K
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Just thought I’d post a well written article summing up AGW doctrine, that some might be interested in reading. References this site.

  20. Bob K
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Hmmm. The link didn’t get posted. I’ll try again.

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Georg, listen to yourself. The National Academy of Sciences has stated policies related to bias, objectivity and conflict of interest. In my opinion, it is a legitimate and serious question whether Ammann’s supervisor and recent Bradley coauthor, Otto-Bliesen, complies with those policies. It is, of course, possible that, despite being in non-compliance with NAS policies of bias, objectivity and conflict of interest, that Otto-Bliesen could still come to an objective judgment concerning Ammann and Bradley, but NAS’ policies state that they do not want to take such risks (and Otto-Bliesen’s qualifications are not so unique that other suitable candidates could not be identified.)

    Here are some excerpts from their policy statement:

    Conflict of interest requirements are objective and prophylactic. They are not an assessment of one’s actual behavior or character, one’s ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest, or one’s relative insensitivity to particular dollar amounts of specific assets because of one’s personal wealth. Conflict of interest requirements are objective standards designed to eliminate certain specific, potentially compromising situations from arising, and thereby to protect the individual, the other members of the committee, the institution, and the public interest. The individual, the committee, and the institution should not be placed in a situation where others could reasonably question, and perhaps discount or dismiss, the work of the committee simply because of the existence of such conflicting interests…

    However, an individual should not serve as a member of a committee with respect to an activity in which a critical review and evaluation of the individual’s own work, or that of his or her immediate employer, is the central purpose of the activity, because that would constitute a conflict of interest, although such an individual may provide relevant information to the program activity.

  22. jae
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    epica: Good grief, don’t you understand confict of interest? If you were in Steve’s shoes, would you not want to try to get a fair and objective hearing?

  23. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Is EPICA (interesting handle, that….) perhaps *in* that photo, and hence, the raw nerve here?….. Just a thought.

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