Weaver Suggests Buddy Review for Mann et al 2005

Coauthors of Rutherford et al (J Climate 2005) (pdf) were Rutherford, Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Jones, Osborn and Briffa.  Its editor was Andrew Weaver.  It was formally submitted on Sept 16, 2003,  received two reviews in January 2004, revised and resubmitted on June 29, 2004, accepted without revision on September 27, 2004 and published in July 2005.

On January 1, 2005, Weaver became chief editor of Journal of Climate.  On January 4, 2005, Mann, Rutherford, Wahl and Ammann submitted Testing the fidelity of methods used in proxy-based reconstructions of past climate (pdf),

On January 7, 2005, Weaver asked Keith Briffa, one of the coauthors of Rutherford, Mann et al 2005, to act as a peer reviewer for Mann, Rutherford et al 2005.   Because of his IPCC commitments, Briffa declined (suggesting Wigley), but neither Weaver nor Briffa seemed the least bit concerned about any potential impropriety arising from Briffa acting as a buddy peer reviewer.

Postscript:  The following AMS policies adopted in 2010 would appear to discourage such buddy review (and also enemy review), but also seem to leave discretion with the editor to override the policy:

A reviewer should be sensitive even to the appearance of a conflict of interest when the manuscript under review is closely related to the reviewer’s work in progress or published. If in doubt, the reviewer should indicate the potential conflict promptly to the editor.

A reviewer should not evaluate a manuscript authored or co-authored by a person with whom the reviewer has a close personal or professional connection if the relationship would bias judgment of the manuscript.



  1. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    That is funny. It’s also funny to note Wahl and Ammann were co-authors on the Mann, Rutherford 2005 paper. Those are the two “independent” researchers who “independently confirm[ed]” the original hockey stick which was created by… Michael Mann (and co-authors).

    Readers will likely know there are tons of other connections between these people, but what amazes me about this one is how obvious it is. I don’t understand how the “independent” meme ever caught on.

  2. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Brandon, “I don’t understand how the “independent” meme ever caught on.

    It suits the narrative, Brandon, and there are plenty of well-placed ethically challenged people to give legs to the falsehood.

  3. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    The logic, of course, is that the only people qualified to act as reviewers are part of the Team. Anyone else is an amateur or enemy of science.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Up to recently, Weaver had been mentioned at CA only infrequently. In a post https://climateaudit.org/2010/12/06/andrew-weaver-praises-odonnell-et-al-2010/#comment-252774, one of the questions was how Weaver got a preprint of O’DOnnell et al 2010, which we had not disseminated at the time.

    I’d be interested if readers thought about this again, as it’s relevant to another incident that I plan to write about.

    • Jonas N
      Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

      Your link goes to the second-to-last comment in that thread, not really related to this issue. Instead it seems to copy a statment by CFP!?

  5. Throgmorton.
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    The simplest explanation is that at least one of the reviewers called in others in order to do a more comprehensive demolition job, and also to have ready-made ‘rebuttals’ on hand in case the paper was published. This kind of team rapid-response is in evidence in the climategate emails, notably in regard to the ‘pile-on’ attack on Soon and Baliunas 2003. The “special treatment” accorded to the Lindzen and Choi papers (involving another ‘pile-on’) is further evidence of this.

    I would look for verbal tics, diverse concerns, and anomalous styles of argument in individual reviewers comments which might suggest that they originated from more than one person. You may still have these on hand.

    A web search might reveal that certain individuals preemptively blogged about matters that were raised in, and might even be unique to O’Donnell et al 2010. I am not sure about how to go about doing that.

  6. mpainter
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Did you ask Weaver where he got his copy?

  7. Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    At least Briffa wasn’t coauthor of a conflicting paper.

    The behind the scenes O’Donnell review emails have likely been long deleted. Heck, they probably used carrier pigeons.

  8. Salamano
    Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    …Or perhaps each of the principal scientists now, by way of their prestige appointments to the ___________ “climate/earth/science” center, constituted at their respective universities, enjoy access to a rather Clintonian email server that is independent and ‘fully secure’, with ‘only professional’ correspondence being preserved by virtue of their being emailed to other professional addresses.

    Good luck ever seeing any sort of “ClimateGate” involving emails again.

    • Throgmorton.
      Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

      The problem with Hilary’s ‘private’ email server (and home made servers in general) is that it was very likely a good deal less secure than the official government server, even it was set up discreetly by a somewhat partisan expert in the domain. There is an expression ‘PEBCAC’ among those who repair computers: Problem Exists Between Computer And Chair. Security is only as strong as the weakest link, and these individuals have demonstrated very little concern with due diligence, even in their own areas of expertise.

      They are as sloppy as hell. Something will leak.

      • MikeN
        Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

        I wonder if Mosher is busy trying to guess Hillary’s password.

        • Throgmorton.
          Posted Mar 17, 2015 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          Or he could just ask the Russians and the Chinese.

    • MikeN
      Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      All professional e-mails were found by hunting for specific keywords, no attachments were searched, and all e-mails were handed over in the form of printouts. Climate scientists would never do a poor job of searching for documents or hand things over in a deliberately hard to use format.

  9. CaligulaJones
    Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    In the publishing industry, this is called “log rolling”, where an author will review a book, and endorse it.

    That author will then review a book by the endorsing author, provide an endorsement. Etc.

    Repeat as needed.

  10. Ron Graf
    Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Publications that abuse their brand capital long enough lose it. Look what’s happening to network news. Biased journals create a niche for unbiased alternatives, (CA is one IMO).

  11. Posted Mar 17, 2015 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

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