I’m surprised too, at the reaction of North and others. They may have a point.
by Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon at the Houston Chronicle’s Climate Abyss
I spread the word yesterday to my colleagues about Wegman begin caught in a plagiarism scandal and his paper on the social networking of climate change researchers being withdrawn by the journal (see USA Today coverage here and here; for extensive details see deep climate). I’d been following the work of Deep Climate and John Mashey with some interest, not least because Wegman’s report was in effect a competing report to that issued by the National Research Council committee headed by Gerald North, whose office is down the hall from me.
Jerry North’s reaction was a surprise to me:
Ed Wegman is the very guy who testified alongside (but against) me in Congress in 2006. We sat side by side for four hours under the gun. Ed and his former [student] Said wrote a contrarian report to the NRC Committee (“Hockey Stick”) report that I chaired. Then later they published it in the journal referred to in the articles.
While I cannot excuse the academic crime of plagiarism, I do feel somewhat sad that this episode has reached this stage. I think Wegman is a well meaning person who was a victim of plagiarism by a foreign student who probably did not understand this ‘strange’ American custom. Having just read a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, I can feel for someone who is being vilified perhaps more for the (perhaps foolish) position he has taken in the past than for the ‘crime’ itself.
Could this be a ‘gotcha’ for ClimateGate? Institutions cannot take this kind of heat without throwing someone under the bus. I hope George Mason University can take it.
That prompted a followup comment from climate scientist and former colleague Tom Crowley, now at Duke University: most recently at the University of Edinburgh:
Read the whole essay here, well worth it.