Lewandowsky paper 'provisionally removed' due to complaints

UPDATE: Steve McIntyre has an interesting letter about the Lewandowsky and Cook affair here.

Retraction Watch writes:

Last week, we covered the complicated story of a paper by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues that had been removed — or at least all but the abstract — from its publisher’s site. Our angle on the story was how Frontiers, which publishes Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences, where the study appeared, had handled the withdrawal. It happened without any notice, and no text appeared to let the reader know why the paper had vanished.

Today, Frontiers posted a note to readers on top of the paper’s abstract:

This article, first published by Frontiers on 18 March 2013, has been the subject of complaints. Given the nature of some of these complaints, Frontiers has provisionally removed the link to the article while these issues are investigated, which is being done as swiftly as possible and which Frontiers management considers the most responsible course of action. The article has not been retracted or withdrawn. Further information will be provided as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

More: http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/update-lewandowsky-et-al-paper-on-conspiracist-ideation-provisionally-removed-due-to-complaints/

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Definitely a case of egg on their face. I wonder how they will eventually react to the embarrassment?

Rick Bradford

Lewandowsky has rapidly managed to make his work about as attractive as a tablespoon of polonium.
You can be a narcissistic rent-seeker with a vast sense of entitlement and moral outrage; or you can be a serious scientist. Not both.

thisisnotgoodtogo

“Tom Curtis writes” to Climate Audit about his troubles accepting the story on SkS hosting the Lew Survey.
http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/03/tom-curtis-writes/

Peter Miller

Complaints from whom?
We all know Lewandowsky’s paper was rubbish, but who actually complained to Frontiers?

RockyRoad

Peter Miller says:
April 3, 2013 at 7:22 am

Complaints from whom?
We all know Lewandowsky’s paper was rubbish, but who actually complained to Frontiers?

That may simply be a smokescreen; it took them a while to come up with this excuse.

philjourdan says:
April 3, 2013 at 6:54 am
Definitely a case of egg on their face. I wonder how they will eventually react to the embarrassment?
========================================================================
By announcing that they had an extremely thorough investigation that found absolutely nothing wrong with the paper and that we all are indeed conspiracy nuts for challenging the paper.

pottereaton

An amusing comment at Bishop Hill that sums up these papers in a very original way:

“….there must be some real skilful academic turd polishing…”
You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.
Apr 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

pottereaton

“We all know Lewandowsky’s paper was rubbish, but who actually complained to Frontiers?”
—————————–
From Bishop Hill:

Frontiers replied promptly to my complaint, which was sent just before the paper was taken down for the second time. They’re forwarding it to the authors. A half an hour later I received a letter from the editor of Psychological Science saying that they too were forwarding my complaint about the first paper to Lewandowsky.
Apr 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

GlynnMhor

When there is so much shakiness about the “science” of AGW, there is no need to seek psychological reasons for people to have their doubts.

gator69

“Squirrel!”

David Longinotti

@ Peter Miller
Frontiers did not state that the complaints were made to them.

Vlad the Impala

Are complaints about academic papers routinely forwarded to the *authors*?
I really don’t know.

DirkH

Well the Frontier of how far one can push the propaganda before being called out.
But Lewandowsky has won anyway; a few days ago there was a Spiegel article parroting all of his “findings” and citing the paper. All that counts is that the government scientists supply the synchronized media with lies that are believable enough to keep the gravy train rolling.
It is eery that Der Spiegel has brought out their article exactly when first news of the retraction broke. Obviously they were keen to not let it go to waste. I mean, it sat on the shelves for half a year already.

MattE

Kudos to Frontiers. Some can quibble about the how, but the fact is they have stood up for integrity in a time when many look the other way thinking the ends justify the means.

OldWeirdHarold

pottereaton says:
April 3, 2013 at 7:54 am
You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

They can’t even do that with Marcott.

Man Bearpig

what good laugh this has turned out to be, but is just about par for the ‘science’ disseminated on the rc.

pottereaton

Old Weird Harold at 9:40: (btw I use to have that Cosby album. Which dates me.)
Yes, but they tried. They schmoozed the glitterati: NYT, Atlantic, etc.

JunkPsychology

Several bloggers whose straightforward questions about Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac’s Moon Hoax article, or objections to it, led to their being given “conspiracist” diagnoses in the Recursive Fury article have complained to Frontiers about the paper.

Can someone do me a favor and post a short summary about the current flap? Please address:
Why are people so bent out of shape over at Climateaudit and Bishop Hill’s blog whether the Lewandowsky survey was posted at SkS (or tweeted)?
Who’s going overboard on this? Who’s reacting sensibly on this?
I sort of understand (from http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/03/tom-curtis-writes/#comment-409539) “All he has to do is correct the “eight blogs” in his paper to six” – Sks is one, what the other?
It’s a different topic, but perhaps someone can explain why Marcott produced a FAQ about his paper and released it on RealClimate.
This field is getting as weird as the weather. My wife abandoned her attempt at hiking the Appalachian Trail (dang, I keep typing Trial) because of cold nights and icy trails in Georgia and North Carolina. She’ll try again in a few weeks.

Like the old SOVIET group pictures of their astronauts? Over the years, older pictures were re-issued. Photographically altered to remove the astronauts who died in accidents.
They NEVER, repeat, NEVER admitted any losses. We, of course, lost the one Apollo crew, and two Shuttle crews (that’s 31 people). And never covered it up.
RISKY BUSINESS, space travel.
Max

Duster

Ric Werme says:
April 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

Why are people so bent out of shape over at Climate Audit and Bishop Hill’s blog whether the Lewandowsky survey was posted at SkS (or tweeted)?

It’s because the “responses” data used to “characterize” the skeptical position as paranoid and leaning toward conspiracy theories didn’t come from responses to the survey linked to any skeptical blog site. Neither SS nor RC are skeptical of the “consensus” view of climate theory and the powerful effects of CO2 forcing advocated by AGW theory, yet that is where the data comes from. Lewandowsky, at best sampled an extremely biased population and his data is likely to be about as reliable as Anthony Watts seems to suspect the USHCN data is.
Steve McIntyre, nor Anthony, Jeff Condon at the Air Vent, Judith Curry, or Lucia at the Blackboard are not skeptical that CO2 may actually contribute some effect to climate changes. They therefore do not fit the “lunatic fringe, conspiracy theorist” model that Lewandosky plainly assumed for the holders of a skeptical position before he ran his survey. Most readers of these blogs hold similar positions and differ primarily in nuance (just how much energy is CO2 really capable of retaining for instance (how long does a CO2 molecule remain excited before re-emission), how long the gas remains resident in the atmosphere, or whether the cooling that CO2 would produce near the Tropopause could offset the potential delay in atmospheric cooling it may cause near the surface, effects of cloud formation, effects of equatorial thunderstorms, etc.). In WUWT’s specific case there is the additional issue data reliability. If the data has developed a systematic bias over the last century, then that bias absolutely needs to carefully measured, before you can even assess how much warming has taken place.
With regard to Doc. Lewandowsky and his assertions about paranoia and conspiracy theorists though, the key lies in the fact that the survey responses are not from a population that can be unequivocally understood as a “skepctical” population in the sense used by AGW faithful. That could only be acquired by providing links on sites like WUWT and CA. So for reliably “skeptical” responses Lewandosky should have stratified his sampling by asking the major skeptical blogs, WUWT, Bishop Hill, Climate Audit … to post the link. With a parallel post in the AGW supporting blogs like SS and RC, and Grant Wood’s blog he would then have vaguely comparable data.
Stratifying a study like this is standard practice in Lewandosky’s own field. The survey unfortunately is biased at its heart by the obvious nature of the questions and permitted response ranges. Even if he had run parallel surveys, the conclusions would have been vulnerable to spoofing, which clearly happened in the responses from AGW blogs he did use.
The problem is that calling attention to that bias actually makes the complainant appear to fall right into that paranoid category.

k scott denison

Ric Werme says:
April 3, 2013 at 10:25 am
Can someone do me a favor and post a short summary about the current flap? Please address:
Why are people so bent out of shape over at Climateaudit and Bishop Hill’s blog whether the Lewandowsky survey was posted at SkS (or tweeted)?
——–
Because the analysis of the probable breakdown of survey respondents (what % were skeptics) is based on an analysis of those who frequent the SkS blog. Without that analysis showing there were likely a significant percentage of skeptical respondents, the results in the paper are meaningless.
As the survey was never posted on the blog, the results are meaningless.

Rob Potter

Hi Ric, not sure I know all of the details, but I will have a quick go at the SkS non-posting issue.
The first Lew paper was criticized for not being advertised on skeptic blogs and was defended by saying that SkS had 50% skeptic readers. Not sure if this is true, but then someone checked and could not find a posting on SkS, but Lew and Cook (who controls SkS) insisted that it had been there. The fact that there has been a lot of forensics done which pretty much proves no posting on SkS (Check out Steve McIntyre today), now leaves the question of why this is not accepted by Lew et al. who continue to protest that it was posted there. Once again, it is the cover-up where there appears to be something actually fraudulent, whereas the original paper was merely unethical.
Other people with a deeper knowledge may see other things here, but this is my take on this particular point.

Reg Nelson

Ric Werme says:
April 3, 2013 at 10:25 am
Can someone do me a favor and post a short summary about the current flap? Please address:
Why are people so bent out of shape over at Climateaudit and Bishop Hill’s blog whether the Lewandowsky survey was posted at SkS (or tweeted)?
——————————
The paper claimed that 8 blogs with a “diverse” opinion were surveyed. The basis of this claim was based on the assertion that 20% of SkS viewership was deniers (which was derived from analyzing their posted comments), and the assumption was made that this ratio was representative of the total (eight) blogs and therefore the survey. However, the link to the survey was never posted on SkS. So their claim is based on a lie.
The Marcott FAQ was put out as a PR damage control move, after Steve McIntyre showed that 20th century uptick could not be produced using the methodology they purported to use. Marcott coined the weasel word “not robust” which is climate-speak for “garbage”, admitting that paper did not support the outrageous claims being made in the media.

Roberto

My cut at a short summary. Lewandosky et al claim that their survey was posted at places where skeptics would see it and take it. But if it was not posted at SkS, they can’t really make that claim in any form. The remaining places where it was posted are not places where skeptics come much at all, let alone hang out and take surveys.
So what those guys did is say we posted it at places like SkS, where this many skeptics are. The leap in logic is the implication that the other places also have the same kind of mix, but they don’t. So it is completely irrelevant and misleading to give statistics for SkS if that isn’t where they posted it. What they ought to do is give the same statistics for the places where they DID post it. So why don’t they do that? Why indeed?

Matthew W says:
April 3, 2013 at 7:53 am
philjourdan says:
April 3, 2013 at 6:54 am
Definitely a case of egg on their face. I wonder how they will eventually react to the embarrassment?
========================================================================
By announcing that they had an extremely thorough investigation that found absolutely nothing wrong with the paper and that we all are indeed conspiracy nuts for challenging the paper.
*
I think Matthew W has it spot on. Until that paper is retracted, it’s not gone. Look how the second paper fed off the first – this isn’t a paper, or a theory – it’s a saga.

@ A.D. Everard
“I think Matthew W has it spot on. Until that paper is retracted, it’s not gone. Look how the second paper fed off the first – this isn’t a paper, or a theory – it’s a saga.”
========================================================================
I wish I could say both you and Matt are wrong. Unfortunately, I doubt you are. Thanks for the replies. As I indicated, not the answer I was looking for, but it is an accurate one.

Taken down, not explicitly posted, still available. Wink wink.

Louis Hooffstetter

Frontiers has provisionally removed the link to the article while these issues are investigated…
Let’s hope the investigation takes forever.

I am aghast that this paper seems to be entirely based on the “poisoning the well” fallacy and informal association. Since the belief in conspiracy theories can correlate with low faith in scientists, anyone who disagrees with any current science is likely to also be a conspiracy theorist. If A implies B, B must imply A.
How this was accepted for publication in a “science” journal is beyond me.

Wamron

Why are any of you wasting time on critiquing complete trash?
Thats not the survey, but the creep that compiled it.
As for the survey….all you need to know is in the term “survey”.

Manfred

Frontiers’ (an open access journal) article submission cost Euro770 – Euro1600. Presumably the University of Western Australia paid this. In the event that the article is withdrawn, does Lew have to repay the institution?

Believing that CO2 has no measurable or statistically demonstrable effect on climate is not saying it has NO effect – only that the effect ia meaningless in practical terms and should not be the basis or justification for dismantling the energy economy. This can only be “paranoia” in the minds of the ultimate paranoiacs, the AGW crowd. THEY are the ones constantly taking about conspiracies, Big Oil, rightwing nuts, etc. THAT is where the paranoia is.
As for the AGW paranoiacs thremselves, I don’t think they all necessarily represent a conspiracy, per se, for the following reason: a pride of lions doesn’t conspire, it just goes 0ut and hunts. When you have a number of like-minded individuals, of a paranoid-criminal-reactionary-leftist (PCRL) mindset, you can figure they’ll act alike, regardless of whether they are in communication with each other – no conspiracy required. Not to say that there isn’t conspiracy going on among the people at the center of AGW – the Climategate emails provide plenty of evidence of that. But as the PCRL news media shows, there are also plenty of others not directly connected to the AGW arguers that are acting in like fashion – also including members of the general public who subscribe to leftist-reactionary political beliefs.

Greg

There were obviously shenanigans involved, but in any case, a paper based on a web survey? Really?

DaveG

pottereaton says:
April 3, 2013 at 7:54 am
An amusing comment at Bishop Hill that sums up these papers in a very original way:
“….there must be some real skilful academic turd polishing…”
You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.
Apr 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff
Hi Potter.
Actually You can polish a turd or should I say Cow dung. It is was a common practice in Southern Africa for the floors of rondavels. the floors are highly polished with a red wax based polish, beautiful and durable.
(A rondavel (from the Afrikaans word ‘rondawel’) is a westernized version of the African-style hut. The rondavel is usually round or oval in shape) .
But like Lewandosky et al crap. was built on a foundation of BS and crap!
All that glitters is not gold!
Please excuse my foul discretion.

Man Bearpig

Duster says …. Quite a lot really, but well worth reading.
I would add that as the survey was completed by mainly non skeptics pretending to be skeptics, So if the answers were not spoofed as Duster suggests then it would appear that they seem to agree with the moon landing conspiracy.

DirkH

Manfred says:
April 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm
“Frontiers’ (an open access journal) article submission cost Euro770 – Euro1600. ”
Maybe they thought if we publish this our jounal has a negative value so we would be overcharging by giving it away for free.

Chuck Nolan

Reg Nelson says:
April 3, 2013 at 11:50 am
Ric Werme says:
April 3, 2013 at 10:25 am
Can someone do me a favor and post a short summary about the current flap? Please address:
………………………..
The Marcott FAQ was put out as a PR damage control move, after Steve McIntyre showed that 20th century uptick could not be produced using the methodology they purported to use. Marcott coined the weasel word “not robust” which is climate-speak for “garbage”, admitting that paper did not support the outrageous claims being made in the media.
—————————————
Correct me if I’m wrong but, I think I recall the good Dr. Michael Mann came out early in support of Marcott. I think I recall the word robust but…………maybe not.
cn

Gail Combs

Wamron says:
April 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Why are any of you wasting time on critiquing complete trash?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I do not care about Looney Lew. However I do care that his flagrant lie is being called a scientific paper and then cited in news stories, read by the general public, read by politicians.
Lew is making the diagnosis that ‘Deniers’ are mentally ill. People who have been concerned with some of the issues he connects to us such as believing the government lied about 9/11 have been hauled off to psychiatric wards and locked up against their will. And yes I am talking about the USA.

….The original book, published under the title Mullins On The Federal Reserve, was commissioned by the poet Ezra Pound in 1948. Ezra Pound was a political prisoner for thirteen and a half years at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. (a Federal institution for the insane). His release was accomplished largely through the efforts of Mr. Mullins….
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/reserve.htm

The easiest way to silence critics is to label them as being crazy. If that does not work you shut them up in a mental hospital.

Chuck Nolan

I think they’re gonna throw Doc Lew under the bus.
They really don’t need him and he’s been caught twice.
He’s a loose cannon and an oddball to boot.
They wanted to dump Mann but he brings in grant money.
This guy will have tire tracks down his back shortly.
Lew’s-threw.
cn

Darren Porter

I have been working tirelessly in an official capacity as a representative of the Alumni of the University of Adelaide to have the Lewandowsky – without a single response from the University, but I think there must be others also bombarding them with emails as well. They can’t ignore graduated Alumni from a fellow institution without appearing aloof and arrogant.

Darren Porter

(paper removed) missing from after ‘Lewandowsky’ in above post

redcords

Not really sure why Tom Curtis is being given credit for his approach.
He came in late to the topic, was wrong with his first comments, tried the Racehorse Haynes/Nick Stokes approach and when that didn’t work he conceded a little. That and he wasted everyone’s time because he wasn’t aware of the events as they happened.

Steve from Rockwood

You can roll a turd in glitter but it’s still a turd. Under what scenario can they put this paper back up?

Joe Shaw

@ Max Hugoson at 1103
I agree with the overall point in your post. One correction though. NASA actually lost 17 astronauts in the Apollo and shuttle accidents not 31. They were:
Apollo 1 fire (ground accident)
“Gus” Grissom
Ed White
Roger Chaffee
Challenger accident:
Frank Scobee
Michael Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Judith Resnik
Greg Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe
Columbia accident:
Rick Husband
William McCool
Michael Anderson
Kalpana Chawla
David Brown
Laurel Clark
Ilan Ramon (Israeli)
I think the details matter. I whole heartedly agree that it is critical to acknowledge accidents and learn from them. Accidents are inevitable when we push the boundaries of complex technology. Error is inevitable when we push the limits of science and try to understand complex phenomena and systems. The history of human progress is built on a succession of failures that we learned from and ultimately overcame.
Understanding how the earth’s climate actually works, and an ability to predict and adapt to changes is profoundly important to the welfare of billions of people. In addition to the economic damage and loss of liberty CAGW activists masquerading as scientists are inflicting, I think it is inexcusable that their dishonestly, manipulation of data, incompetence, and refusal to frankly acknowledge mistakes and fix them has significantly delayed progress in understanding the science.

Just like Lewpy’s first survey results paper, this latest paper is still available at Lewpy’s site and others. Taken down at the publisher doesn’t mean squat to the team when it involves their pals.
Classic Manniacal approach; refuse to admit problems, circle the wagons with co-respondents and pals, claim forever validity with a straight face (in public at least) and expect the faithful to spew bad science whenever real science surfaces…
Yup, include Lewpy and buds with the chaff and send them off world; to save the world of course. (borrowed from Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy series)

Jon

“The easiest way to silence critics is to label them as being crazy. If that does not work you shut them up in a mental hospital.”
They also used to label non conform people for witchcraft and burn them?
Who is really really crazy here?

Wamron

Gail:
“People who have been concerned with some of the issues he connects to us such as believing the government lied about 9/11 have been hauled off to psychiatric wards and locked up against their will. And yes I am talking about the USA.”
Well the USA aint doing a very thorough job of it. There are scores of millions of idiots who rumble on about how Bush and Cheney “did it”. They are impervious to reason and as bad as CAGW fascists.
The comparison you need to make is with the USSR. There “psychiatry” really was used to intern dissidents.
As for 9/11 excusers, I think its a pretty sure bet that their group overlaps very greatly with CAGW fascists.
Herein resides potential.

Wamron

Re USSR space accidents……………we should remember the huge number of ground-crew killed in Soviet failed launches.Particularly the third attempt to launch the N1.

Chris R.

To Wamron:
You wrote: “…we should remember the huge number of ground-crew killed in
Soviet failed launches.”
Yes? Well, if that’s the case, we should also count all the American ground
fatalities, and astronauts killed in training flights in aircraft (like C.C. Williams,
Charlie Bassett, Elliott See, Bob Lawrence, Ted Freeman, and I think a couple
more). The U.S. and the Soviets both had 2 spacecraft failures in flight. Both
involved all on board being killed. The U.S. in-flight fatality count is larger
because the 2 STS craft had larger crews. Exploration involving cutting-edge
science and engineering is always risky. Leave it at that.

JunkPsychology

Why are people so bent out of shape over at Climateaudit and Bishop Hill’s blog whether the Lewandowsky survey was posted at SkS (or tweeted)?
Ric,
Because if you are going to conduct a study of the beliefs and attitudes held by CAGW skeptics, you need to include a reasonable number of such skeptics in your sample.
Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac failed in their effort to get 5 blogs run by skeptics to post a link to their survey. They never even bothered to contact Watts Up with That, which has the biggest readership among skeptical blogs.
The only skeptical blog that did post a link (unsolicited) was Junk Science; to this day, Lewandowsky et al. have never acknowledged that this occurred. They don’t mention Junk Science in the supplemental materials to their publication.
Meanwhile, they claim to have gotten 8 blogs run by CAGW proponents to post links to their survey. Skeptical Science never posted such a link; all Lewandowsky actually got John Cook to do was mention the survey in a tweet, reaching a much smaller audience. Yet they have claimed repeatedly that Skeptical Science posted a link; Skeptical Science is included, as we speak, in their published supplemental materials, as a blog that was “invited and posted a link.”
Further, they try to excuse the low percentage of responses that appeared to come from skeptics (around 15% of their survey responses) by claiming that 20% of Skeptical Science visitors in September 2010 were skeptics, as defined by John Cook.
Independent analyses of blog comments at SkS in September 2010 confirm that around 20% of the commenters were skeptics, if you define that category broadly enough to include anyone who took issue with any part of the house dogma at SkS. But this is completely irrelevant, since Cook never posted a link to the survey at SkS. Lewandowsky left one comment on SkS that entire month—about an unrelated topic.
Psychological Science had multiple grounds for rejecting Lewandowsky et al.’s manuscript. Their survey was badly constructed; they didn’t bother to provide basic descriptive statistics, such as the percentage of responses endorsing the view that NASA faked the moon landing; the analyses they did report did not support their conclusion that “conspiracist ideation” is the main driver of CAGW skepticism (if you accept their data and their analyses at face value, endorsement of an unfettered free market played a much bigger role); the title they put on their article was misleading even if you accept their data presentation; and so on.
But forget the rest of this stuff—Lewandowsky et al. didn’t have a study.
They purported to be studying skeptics, but they didn’t successfully recruit anyone at any of the major sites where skeptics hang out.
They couldn’t even accurately describe how they did recruit participants.
Two and a half years after collecting the data, 8 months after their manuscript was accepted, they still haven’t accurately described how they recruited participants.
To this day, Lewandowsky has refused to provide data on when responses were gathered, or on the blog of origin for each response, to other investigators who have requested them.
(It’s possible that Lewandowsky can’t provide this information—because he never got it or didn’t bother to retain it. But his response has not been to say that he doesn’t have the information. It’s been to refuse to acknowledge requests for it, or to turn over other information and pretend he has provided everything that was requested.)
On top of which, Lewandowsky and coauthors (including John Cook of Skeptical Science, and Michael Hubble-Marriott of a truly nasty little site called Watching the Deniers) rushed out the Frontiers in Psychology article—misquoting some of the blog entries that formed their data set, and trashing pretty much anyone who has asked questions about their methodology or asked for additional information.
So first they conduct a bad study.
Then it gets past the reviewers and the editor and gets published.
Then they run it out to the mass media 8 months before it is officially published (while withholding their not very responsive supplemental information for those 8 months).
They violate assorted norms of professional behavior.
Then they diagnose anyone who criticizes their study or asks questions about the manner in which it was conducted or requests additional data as a walking case of conspiracist ideation.
The mystery isn’t why the folks at Bishop Hill or Climate Audit are hopping mad at these guys.
They should be.
So should anyone who believes that psychological research can be conducted with a modicum of professional competence and integrity.