Guest essay by Roger A. Pielke Sr.
In the August 20 2013 issue of EOS both the AGU Statement on Climate Change [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EO340006/pdf ] and my comment on the Statement [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EO340007/pdf ] were published. However, I was not permitted to publish my Minority Statement in EOS, but only refer to its URL on another website.
In this post, I want to share with you the policy announced by the AGU President, Carol Finn, in two e-mails to me. I extracted the text on this subject from her e-mails to me (which were also copied to others at the AGU, so that these e-mails should be considered open communications).
First, I want to reiterate the supposed AGU policy on Forum articles in EOS from their website link http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)2324-9250/homepage/categories_of_contributions.htm. I have highlighted a specific sentence.
Forum contains thought-provoking contributions expected to stimulate further discussion, within the newspaper or as part of Eos Online Discussions. Appropriate Forum topics include current or proposed science policy, discussion related to current research in the disciplines covered by AGU (especially scientific controversies), the relationship of our science to society, or practices that affect our fields, science in general, or AGU as an organization. Commentary solely on the science reported in research journals is not appropriate.
Maximum length: 1500 words; usually figures are not included, but when they are, each counts as 400 word equivalents.
My minority statement certainly fits within this Forum framework.
However, a (new) AGU Policy that, in my view, limits scientific debate within the AGU was announced by the AGU President.
Following are the relevant extracts of e-mail text from Dr. Finn’s communication to me:
As you know, Eos is the official transactions of AGU. Your draft alternative to AGU’s climate position statement falls outside of an official transaction of AGU, and therefore cannot be published in Eos.
Forum articles cannot be extended commentary on a previously published Eos article, such as the report on the new climate change position statement.
Quite frankly, I am disappointed that as prestigious a professional society as the AGU, of which I have always been proud of my association, has now decided to limit the exchange of scientific perspectives within the primary medium of communication within our society (EOS).
This AGU venue of publication has now become more of an advocate for particular perspectives than a venue to advance our knowledge of science issues. While in this case, it is dealing with climate science, the issue actually goes to the core of any controversy within any subject areas that are represented by the American Geophysical Union.