The season of disinvitation continues

As we’ve seen previously this week:

Enviro and Media Agenda on Extreme Weather – State Climatologist Invited, then Uninvited to Rally …”disinvitation” seems to be the latest tool for stifling debate.

From Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. Invited Letter Now Rejected By Nature Magazine

UPDATE: September 27 2010 – see the post “You Are Invited To Waste Your Time”

I was invited by Nature magazine to write a Letter in response to the September Exeter meeting http://www.surfacetemperatures.org/home, and have been working with a member of their staff on edits over the past two weeks. This morning, I received the startling e-mail below from Nature’s Chief Commissioning Editor. Quite frankly, the only way I can interpret this behavior is as an example of the continued bias in Nature’s reporting of climate issues. Their statement that “We have now reflected on the matter, and on some information from attendees at the meeting in question” is a remarkable admission.

Dear Professor Pielke, Thank you very much for taking the time to write to Nature, upon request. And for the revisions you’ve made, again at our request. We have now reflected on the matter, and on some information from attendees at the meeting in question. We have, I’m afraid concluded that we cannot offer publication on this occasion. We feel that there are too many nuances to this situation to be properly communicated by a short item (or items) on our letters page. We will however continue to track the evolving story for news or leaders, as appropriate. We apologise for having taken up your time in this way. Sincerely, Sara Abdulla Chief Commissioning Editor Opinion [incl Correspondence and Books & Arts] Nature

Sara Abdulla, Nature editor - Image: scienceblogs.com

Here is what was rejected: Temperature dataset effort vulnerable to problems by Roger A. Pielke Sr. Peter Stott and Peter Thorne recently conducted a meeting in Exeter to improve the quality control and archival procedures for global surface temperature data, at which I was not present. I applaud the aim of this meeting (doi:10.1038/4661040d) — to solicit multiple views from the climate community on how to create confidence in raw data and metadata, and to provide a set of blind benchmarking tools for the assessment of data adjustment algorithms. But I worry that the group seemingly has yet to tackle some valid concerns about that data. I was glad to see in the meeting notes several candid admissions of the shortcomings of existing surface temperature data assessments. The group acknowledged the problem of undocumented changes to temperature records and a lack of international exchange of detailed stations histories,  as well as the recognition that non-traditional climate scientists are now playing a significant role in constructing a better climate dataset. They recognized that there may be important, unresolved systematic biases and uncertainties in the current data, and acknowledged the value of efforts such as www.surfacestations.org, which has prodded the US National Climatic Data Center and others to examine their analyses more rigorously. The group’s commitment to quantifying and reporting statistical uncertainties and data adjustments is to be commended. But the meeting notes suggest that the group did not sufficiently address other valid concerns about data collection [Pielke et al 2007]. These include the need to  improve the improve the documentation of humidity at temperature stations [e.g. Davey et al 2006; Fall et al 2010],  the height of the observations [Klotzbach et al 2009, Lin et al 2007] and to pay more attention to the siting of surface stations. Many stations still have not been documented with photographs, for example – this is a simple problem that should be addressed immediately. I would like to see the Exeter group address these issues explicitly, and, importantly, make a commitment to having all analyses and findings from these data sets assessed by independent scientists [Mahmood et al 2010]. All too often in the past, results have been assessed by scientists associated with the agencies that performed the analyses. This should not continue. References Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229. Davey, C.A., R.A. Pielke Sr., and K.P. Gallo, 2006: Differences between near-surface equivalent temperature and temperature trends for the eastern United States – Equivalent temperature as an alternative measure of heat content. Global and Planetary Change, 54, 19–32. Fall, S., N. Diffenbaugh, D. Niyogi, R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Rochon, 2010: Temperature and equivalent temperature over the United States (1979 – 2005). Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.2094. Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841. Lin, X., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, K.C. Crawford, M. A. Shafer, and T. Matsui, 2007: An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. Geophys. Res. Letts., 34, L24705, doi:10.1029/2007GL031652. Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, D. Niyogi, G. Bonan, P. Lawrence, B. Baker, R. McNider, C. McAlpine, A. Etter, S. Gameda, B. Qian, A. Carleton, A. Beltran-Przekurat, T. Chase, A.I. Quintanar, J.O. Adegoke, S. Vezhapparambu, G. Conner, S. Asefi, E. Sertel, D.R. Legates, Y. Wu, R. Hale, O.W. Frauenfeld, A. Watts, M. Shepherd, C. Mitra, V.G. Anantharaj, S. Fall,R. Lund, A. Nordfelt, P. Blanken, J. Du, H.-I. Chang, R. Leeper, U.S. Nair, S. Dobler, R. Deo, and J. Syktus, 2010: Impacts of land use land cover change on climate and future research priorities. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 37–46, DOI: 10.1175/2009BAMS2769.1

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hunter

Welcome to the blow out phase of AGW mania: openly suppressing discussion of climate science so as to avoid dealing with any critique, challenge, thought or idea that unsettles the dogma of catastrophic climate change.
This social movement is to climate science what eugenics was to evolution.
Hold firm, Dr. Pielke. Your integrity will beat their lack of integrity. Your hunger for truth will beat their denial of truth. Your adherence to the scientific method and its highest ideals will beat their cynical transparent abuse of the same.

This kind of flip flopping is a sure sign that Nature editors have no independence and are having their strings pulled from above.
Hey Nature Editors! How does it feel to be exposed as puppets?

Orkneygal

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.-
Thank you so much for your efforts on this.
Years ago there was a political party in Australia that ran on the slogan “Keep the Bastards Honest”.
Keeping them honest requires many admirable traits and you have demonstrated they all.
Again, thank you for your efforts.

Hoppy

I think you guys need to stop assuming that Nature is a respected science journal – it is a glossy magazine. It went the New Scientist way several years ago chasing hype and attention by misreporting stories to gain maximum publicity for itself.
Don’t give magazines any attention. The truth will win.

UK Sceptic

One would think that a publication such as Nature would be encouraging the creation of a more accurate temperature data set.
Guess not…

Matt

Nature is not science. Just nature.
If a magazine is, after there was some noise over the last year on how data was made up to conform / confirm to the official view, not willing to have you in, your interpretation is right. There is a bias, a believe stronger than science.

Robert of Ottawa

We feel that there are too many nuances to this situation
…like some high-rolling wealthy politicos getting on the phone ….??????
This “nuance” thing is the last desperate resort of the political

Brad

Well, they are correct that this is something that is bigger than a “letters” page can accomodate. That said, you should be involved in the larger discussion and paper they develop – to do otherwise would be to whitewash the temp data, just like a good Mann-supporting pub would do…

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Your truthful, reasoned, unemotional, well-referenced response obviously offended Ms. Abdulla’s panda bear.
How dare you aid the anti-science regressive movement trying to disrupt the coming beneficial regime of ecological caring and sanity that will save that panda bear’s natural habitat?!

theBuckWheat

The intellectual corruption of the self-appointed keepers of credentials and the peer-review gateways is shocking, especially when those most guilty parade around in their moral superiority.

Djozar

Yet another proof that CAGW and associated efforts are religious, not scientific. Boycott Nature magazine,

mycroft

Quote
“The group acknowledged the problem of undocumented changes to temperature records and a lack of international exchange of detailed stations histories, as well as the recognition that non-traditional climate scientists are now playing a significant role in constructing a better climate dataset. They recognized that there may be important, unresolved systematic biases and uncertainties in the current data, and acknowledged the value of efforts such as http://www.surfacestations.org, which has prodded the US National Climatic Data Center and others to examine their analyses more rigorously”.
A couple of truths in there and i fancy they hit home…Hard!
When they do things like this because they can not take critisim they lose all credible
argument.
Have you asked who and what information prompted the decision, have you upset members of the TEAM!!

Do you know how many other people were invited to write letters and who they are?
Abdulla’s acknowledgment that “there are too many nuances to this situation” should lead to an attempt by Nature to help the scientific community understand what the nuances are and what to do about them. If they’re going to be a leading force in the community, this is something where they could lead.
Instead, they’ll “continue to track the evolving story for news or leaders.”
My guess that policy won’t make it into the pages of Nature either.
Hmm, I claim the primacy on “Too nuanced for Nature.” 🙂

Jack Maloney

Did Ms. Abdulla’s decision to shut down Dr. Pielke reflect her own judgment, or did she buckle under to someone else? Either way, she should be embarrassed, and concerned about her future in a scientific journalism community where openness is steadily increasing.

Golf Charley

We have now reflected on the matter, and on some information from attendees at the meeting in question. We have, I’m afraid concluded that we cannot offer publication on this occasion. We feel that there are too many nuances to this situation to be properly communicated by a short item (or items) on our letters page.
We will however continue to track the evolving story for news or leaders, as appropriate.
So she knows who applied the leverage to spike your letter, and admits that the story isn’t over. That’s like tying your self to a sinking ship. There is dumb, and there is dumber.
RP Jr, keep up the good work, as per Josh’s cartoon, you are still right!

Disappointing, certainly, but surprising it is not.
“Nature”, perhaps more appropriately dubbed “The Trick”, continues its descent from scientific journal to activism rag. With such overt actions as this it is reasonable to assume that the shift is purposeful and unashamed.

Curiousgeorge

You should use a little reverse psychology. Next time, beat them to the punch and tell them under no circumstances will you attend their meeting, etc., etc.

kim

Science is settled,
Nuances are a nuisance.
Trust us, we’re tracking.
============

Jimmy Haigh

Nature? I wouldn’t even read it on the bog.

David Ball

Jack Maloney says:
September 28, 2010 at 5:44 am
“where openness is steadily increasing.” – I am afraid I do not see this happening. Quite the opposite in fact. Entrenchment is the order of the day. The general public do seem to be wising up to the scam, and politicians seem to be aware of the sea change in public opinion. How much would you bet that Ms. Abdulla would lose her position and be shunned had she gone ahead with Dr. Pielke’s article? Sadly, we have a long road ahead. Damned if I will give it up, though. Hold Fast.

Stephan

Advice: do not subscribe to this trash journal

Eric Dailey

Did they uninvite him because he mentioned the Surface Stations Project site?

John S.

These include the need to improve the improve the documentation of humidity at temperature stations
Hopefully this was a simply an error in transcription to this blog post, and didn’t pass the two weeks of editing with the Nature staff person.

RichieP

OT but still relevant.
Well, there’s at least one seeker after truth who’s beginning to get (even if slightly back-handed) accolades and acknowledgments from the left-wing press:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100055793/steve-mcintyre-total-bloody-hero/
‘Steve McIntyre has been named one of the 50 People Who Matter by the left-wing journal New Statesman. He comes in at number 32. (Below a motley crew including Osama Bin Laden, Hugo Chavez, David Cameron, Julian Assange, Barack Obama, and the like). ‘
The originating article:
http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2010/09/climate-mcintyre-keeper
Note the comments – as Delingpole says, if these are the average readers of the New Statesman, we can begin to feel a little optimistic.

Since when is science intimidated by nuance? Maybe if there are too many “nuances” for a short letter, Nature should offer Dr Pielke a larger forum so the “nuances” can be properly explored.
I think there must have been some serious pressure brought to bear to cause them to rescind their offer.

simpleseekeraftertruth

This was a letter, but first commissioned/encouraged by Nature. Is that not unusual in itself? Then rejected for publication by pressure from people outside that magazine on the basis of ‘nuances’! Sounds like there was a tip-off to the Thought Police and at least one employee of Nature is probably on the rack as I type.

NZ Willy

Perhaps the letter was rejected because it is so bland. Can’t do justice to the topic in a short letter, maybe.

RichieP

I’ve just now combed the comments on the New Statesman piece on Steve McIntyre. They are almost entirely filled with praise for a true scientist. I could practically cry.
‘Steve McIntyre’s contribution has been wholly positive. Through his brilliant analysis and persistence, he has forced the values of the Age of the Enlightenment on a dismal “science” which had acquired all the characteristics of a religion.’
‘Steve has all the qualities and accomplishments needed for robust and quantitative comment in a field as controversial as climate science. His scholarly demolition of a shockingly flawed paper, on which politicians and many academics have based their careers, rocked the climate establishment. Anyone who claims to have an open mind on the subject will know that no-one deserves world-wide recognition more than Steve for his tolerance, objectivity, perseverance and insight into a subject of huge importance to us all..’

mpaul

I suspect that Nature is grappling with a more pedestrian problem — their business model. Peer review is an invention of the publishing industry. The value proposition of a relatively narrowly distributed publication like Nature is that they are the gatekeepers of “knowledge you can trust”. Peer review has been the mechanism by which they distinguish their content from (what they would claim) is the less trustworthy content of “grey literature”. Non-traditional publication methods like WUWT are a disruptive threat to their business model. They simply can not endorse, in any way, work done through a non-peer reviewed channel without putting their business model at risk. Nature is probably in a full blown panic right now as blogs are routinely uncovering serious errors in peer-review work.

Mac the Knife

As climate science has become merely the tool of the political hack, all science and respect for scientists declines. Hiding behind ‘nuance’ is another way to hide the decline. It is the Nature of the political beast……

Andreas

I wonder what is meant by “too many nuances”? The quality of the surface temp data needs to be assessed and this should obviously not be done by the hockeystickers.

Ken Harvey

The MSM have lost out to the better elements of the blogosphere as a source of incisive thought in every field. Specialist science journals such as Nature are now shown up as lacking in the the unbending impartiality that we have long believed them to possess. Perhaps what is now demonstrated, is not so much that scientific journals are now poorer than once they were, as that we believed in a quality of impartiality that did not exist.

Walt Stone

When one scientist tells another scientist

Bringing it down to a second-grade reading level might possibly allow it to meet Nature’s lofty standards.

It makes me suspect the elephant in the room is removing its camouflage.

Paul Coppin

Time to get serious with these organizations. Pielke Sr. should invoice Nature for the time spent (in all its aspects and cost of doing business)) to prepare the material for the invitation to present, and perhaps factor in an opportunity loss based on potential derivative benefit from having published. Shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a modest but actionable amount under small claims court standards. Then, when they don’t pay (and they won’t), take them to small claims. Little to lose, and could be a huge empiric victory…

Gerald Machnee

Was she included in the Climategate letters to be fired?

Pamela Gray

This kind of stuff is just juvenile. Do they meet in a falling down shack with a “Do Not Enter” sign haphazardly nailed to the door? Do they issue plastic laser and light sabers to members? Do they have a secret handshake and a decoder ring too? Given the attitude displayed by Nature, and apparently the meeting participants, this is one magazine I would NOT want my name associated with.

KenB

Simon Hopkinson says:
September 28, 2010 at 6:00 am
Disappointing, certainly, but surprising it is not.
“Nature”, perhaps more appropriately dubbed “The Trick”, continues its descent from scientific journal to activism rag. With such overt actions as this it is reasonable to assume that the shift is purposeful and unashamed.
Simon
I do so agree with you – Its amazing how even among those of a science background that formerly used to quote Nature as “The ultimate reference” on CAGW issues and laud it as “the Top Science Journal”, have changed their tune and now regard it as a failed journal, responsible for destroying the public’s confidence and trust in science and the peer review process.
How the once mighty have fallen, and so much due to their own editorial failure, IMHO!

Nature, NATURE! Weren’t they the ones who published the SHODDY, CHERRY PICKING work by Sternglass in the ’80’s? Correlating increase in “infant mortality” with the start up and running of the Maine Yankee Nuclear power plant? He did that by using sparsely populated counties near the plant. And taking specific years, which because in a “sparsely populated” area infant mortality (overall) rates vary all over the place…as 1, 2, 3 or 4 extra deaths (or lessor) can skew the “deaths per 100,000” all over the place.
In any case, “the Nuclear Industry” (translation, a bunch of rag tag, uncoordinated, defeated, and destroyed utilities an individuals) tried to respond..and were similarily rejected. (As I recall, a Dr. Dave Rossin, Commonwealth Edison, was told that because he was a METALLURGIST and not an epidemiologist..his critizism was not acceptable, Sternglass, by the way…was a “self declared” epidemiologist.)
I think before getting TOO upset over Nature (and “Science” that matter), we must understand these to be “politically motivated journals” that publish only “policically correct” science.
I’d stick to the trade journals, the IEEE Spectrum, the American Nuclear Society, the American Optical Society, the Geophysical Union, etc. There are some signs that “political correctness” does not taint them badly. ALAS, the “King has no new clothes”, is the best way to describe Nature and Science.

John Whitman

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr,
During Nature’s editing process of your proposed letter, did they say which points in your letter they had the most issue with? That would be interesting to know where their problems are more specifically.
I would say that the following two quotes from your proposed letter would be very tough for them to print, in that it opens the door for scientists that are independent of past data management/analysis/adjustment processes to be involved:

.The (Exeter mtg) group acknowledged the problem of . . . [edit] . . . as well as the recognition that non-traditional climate scientists are now playing a significant role in constructing a better climate dataset.

I would like to see the Exeter group address these issues explicitly, and, importantly, make a commitment to having all analyses and findings from these data sets assessed by independent scientists [Mahmood et al 2010]. All too often in the past, results have been assessed by scientists associated with the agencies that performed the analyses. This should not continue.

Those two quotes from your letter go to the essence of the problems with past climate science processes.
Thank you for sharing your experience with Nature Magazine.
John

Gary Pearse

Please don’t let this rag reinvent itself. Let it go down with the squeeling cagw world wreckers – who btw are already removing the covers from the life boats. We need new journals with unbending integrity and we should mark this shameful era so that we will never forget how close we came to economic and political destruction. The rehab phase will see more invitations that won’t be rescinded. Vilify/ignore – invite/rescind – invite and engagei this is the pattern. We should be setting the agenda and doing the inviting.

R. de Haan

Their objective is to sell a false prophecy in order to screw humanity.
They are not interested in real scientific arguments.

Dave

The time has surely come (actually it came at least 20 years ago) for the international community to learn who controls Nature. Who are the commercial interests who exert pressure? And which university interests apply pressure? How many `old pals` acts are involved? To deny these is disengenous personified!

Slabadang

Thank you Pielke Sr!
Its important that the bias of climate science reaches the public. They are so scared to loose thier funds and careers that they use any means. In the end truth about the enormous uncertainties will be spread to become public knowledge.Nature is a biased
magazin who totally lost its former credibility.

Chris B

I’m sure this guy would get an invite.
From this Bloomberg article:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-27/arctic-grab-is-mad-fight-for-last-oil-frontier-commentary-by-matthew-lynn.html
“There are two good reasons to place a ban on Arctic mining.
First, climate change.
The logic of the energy industry appears to be this: Fossil fuels create global warming, which melts the polar ice cap, which is sort of handy — even though upsetting for the polar bears — because it means that with all that stupid ice out of the way we can start drilling for more oil. And once we get it out, and start burning it, it will melt the ice some more, and make even more oil accessible.
Stop Drilling
It’s crazy. If the polar ice cap is melting — and the bulk of scientific evidence suggests that it is at a rapid rate –the first thing you need to do is stop drilling for more oil.
True, not everyone is convinced that climate change is man- made. There is room for argument. The scientific consensus has been wrong before, and may have gotten this one tangled up as well. And yet, given the catastrophic consequences if the consensus is right, why take the risk?
Great progress is being made with alternatives to fossil fuels. Electric cars are on the verge of breaking into the mass market. Wind, solar and nuclear power are increasingly able to heat our homes and offices. They are better for the environment, and they don’t leave you dependent on people in Moscow or Riyadh to stay warm in winter. Why not press on with developing those rather than drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic?”

I agree with Pamela Gray to a point, but I see the people involved as rather more sinister than a juvenile bunch of gamesters in a badly-built playhouse due to the huge amounts of taxpayer cash they are using as play money and the very serious effects of their translation of the possibility of a couple of degrees of extra temperature and more plant food to keep us well fed, into idiotic doom-mongering.
Once again, a formerly well-regarded magazine has destroyed its own credibility in the wider world by becoming the publicity organ of a self-protecting and slightly paranoid pseudo-religious community.
It is time for a clearing of stables by an enthusiastic and competent investigative journalist who is known for his/her high standards of reportage, backed by an equally-competent and ethical newspaper to bring everything in this area into the light where the public, with its accurate nose for BS, can see what they have been paying for.
I will not hold my breath waiting for this to happen!
Thank goodness for honest and gentlemanly bloggers such as Anthony and scientists such as Dr Pielke Snr.

Olen

She wrote there are too many nuances to this situation to be communicated by a short item (or items) on our letters page. She does not know how to communicate in brief form, isn’t that what a magazine does. Does she not know the purpose of a letter.
Bottom line, she does not want anyone upsetting her apple cart. So why read the magazine.
How un professional. And what a cheap shot.

RockyRoad

The last time I picked up Nature and began reading, I was horribly disappointed with the content. It will undoubtedly go down if they keep up their strict adherance to a political agenda that has precious little basis in science. I say shun the rag; it is worthless from the standpoint of science and an honest, inquiring mind.

Enneagram

That’s a negative way of being honored : The invitations’ Deniers

DocattheAutopsy

I remember when it was a sign you had “made it” as a scientist when you got published in Nature.
Now it’s about as reputable as “Newsweek” (which sold recently for less than the price of one of its weekly magazines).
A symptom of academic groupthink which has not only poisoned climate science literature but several other sciences as well.

RobW

And the damage to ALL science continues, Pity