A stunning revelation from a UWA Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson over access to Lewandowsky's poll data

UWA_paul_johnson

Professor Paul Johnson, UWA Vice Chancellor

This post will be a top sticky post for a day, new stories will appear below this one.

While this issue was covered previously on Climate Audit, I thought this needed the exposure that WUWT could afford.

There’s a famous quote from CRU’s Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes that pretty much sums up the entire issue of climate science, saying essentially that the work is above reproach and there’s no reason to allow it to be questioned by providing access to raw data for replication, especially by climate skeptics, even though it was done on public funds:

“We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

As readers know, a few people have been trying to get access to the poll data from Lewandowsky’s “moon landing hoax” paper (the one where he hid his involvement and the poll was mostly posted on climate alarmist sites, and WUWT wasn’t even asked) and have been stonewalled. This response about data access from Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia takes stonewalling to a whole new level, and is a close second to that famous quote from Phil Jones.

Some foreword might be helpful to understand the context as to why this sort of behavior exhibited by Jones, and now Paul Johnson, is broadly damaging to the reputation of science.

The issue with Lewandowsky is unscientific and unethical behavior by creating an advance conclusion (all climate skeptics are conspiracy nutters) followed by attempts to hide his association with the study to people who were polled, selective distribution of the poll, mainly to websites who are advocates of climate action, then outright mocking of the very people who was supposedly studying, then actually writing in his own conclusions to an ethics investigation that was supposed to be done independently.

One cannot imagine a more egregious abuse of the scientific process as we have witnessed with Lewandowsky’s vilification of climate skeptics using the journal Psychological Science as a bully pulpit.

Dr. Judith Curry’s thoughts about Michael Mann’s behavior seem germane here, simply substitute Mann with Lewandowsky:

For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the ‘war on science’ and is standing up for academic freedom. Its time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann’s science, critical of Mann’s professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann’s behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.

Barry Woods advises me of this gobsmacking response from UWA’s Vice Chancellor, Paul Johnson, and provided all the emails from the timeline to me for inspection. It is important to know that Lewandowsky has left UWA where his paper was originally approved, data gathered, written, and published from, and is now at the University of Bristol.

Barry Woods writes:

I wrote to Lewandowsky last September, & eventually got a response via a Bristol Uni press officer referring any concerns to UWA.

Hannah_woods_referto_UWA

Woods also wrote to the journal editor Eric Eich, asking for access to data so that a comment could be sent to the journal:

Eich_UWA_data

I wrote to Maybery (UWA) in early March (and a couple of reminders), then received Paul Johnson’s email.

One of the lessons of Climategate was that even most scientists agreed on was ‘data transparency’. I can’t believe the VC of University of Western Australia’s response to me. AND that he would put it in writing! Four and a half years on from Climategate, and we still have universities refusing to share data with critics.

Here is the letter from UWA’s vice-chancellor as a screen-cap. The bolding was done by  Johnson Woods:

UWA_woods_johnson_lewandowsky_email

I have pixelated the email address for Mr. Woods (which is private) so that he doesn’t get attacked/spammed, and the other email participants by cc: are not on display due to them being in Mr. Woods contact list, only their names display. Johnson’s email address is also pixelated for the same reason.

I also verified that the email is genuine, by looking at the email headers within it.

And, it appears that by the UWA’s own published policy they are quite open to data sharing:

UWA_data_sharing

In the “Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research”, it becomes clear that Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson’s statement of “It is not the University’s practice to accede to such requests” is a bald faced lie:

UWA_false_data_policy

Steve McIntyre and others have suggested that some of Lewandowsky’s poll data may have been falsified, and they want to test that assumption. UWA Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson’s response puts him at odds with the 3.4 and 3.8 sections above.

We also have a clear case from UWA’s own records obtained via FOI law that Lewandowsky Ghost-wrote Conclusions of UWA Ethics Investigation into “Hoax”.

So, the “investigation” supposedly done by UWA into the research of Lewandowsky was actually done by Lewandowsky himself.

This episode is turning into quite an ethics quagmire for UWA, I can see why Johnson would purposely violate their own policy by telling Woods that UWA won’t share the data. The data itself must be damning for them to want to protect it this much in violation of their own policy; perhaps with data even showing that some of the responses to the poll that McIntyre wants to examine came from within the University itself, creating another, more culpable conflict of interest and violation of UWA’s own research policy.

When a university administrator decides that “It is not the University’s practice to accede to such requests”,  because of the perceived ‘attacks on science’, it seems they believe the work of colleagues rather than check the issues being raised. It is clear Johnson is more trusting of a former colleague vs the ‘anti-science forces of denial’, as climate skeptics are often falsely characterized as.

No matter what you think about climate science, or science in general, I would hope that you would embrace the need for transparency of data as the most important issue of science, because it is within the data where truth lives. Without the verification and replication of science that data access allows, science runs the risk of falling victim to the human emotional condition of opinions, agendas, tribalism, and personal vendettas acted out via the process of noble cause corruption.

I believe that is what we see here and it is a sad day for science when administrators in two universities and a journal editor circle the wagons to protect a science paper that may not only be wrong, but is likely based on an emotional response turned into a vendetta by the principal investigator, Lewandowsky, we all lose.

In cases of public malfeasance, it if often the cover-up which gets more attention for prosecution than the original infraction, and this looks to be the making of just such a situation.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Perhaps we need to add, to be very clear to a casual reader.
Responses falsified/scammed by the anonymous online participants of Lewandowdsy’s survey, by readers of blogs that detest sceptics.. not the authors of the paper. There are even comments saying how much ‘fun’ some of the anonymous survey participants had with the survey at Deltoid, Taming, etc.
Nobody is saying the authors falsified responses.
REPLY: No, I’m not saying that, yet as I understand it, the survey was distributed internally within UWA, and that would be a strong conflict of interest. – Anthony

Why would anyone want to study at UWA??? Nice environment, wretched academics!

Kev-in-Uk

UWA needs constant berating for this attitude. The University of Whitewashed Academics?
of course something beginning with W and sounding like ‘bankers’ might be more appropriate…….
UWA students and alumni alike must be dismayed and somewhat embarrassed?

The Kirribilli Lad

Time to defund the UWA. Stunning level of academic corruption, cover up and stonewalling.
If you are a student, get out now because your degree will always be associated with a corrupted Institution.
If you are a Faculty member, get out now before your career is stained by you ptofessional association with such a pathetic excuse for a university.
If you are parents, make sure your university bound children are steered clear of the UWA . . . their futures depend on it.
And if you are an Australian, register your disgust and a formal complaint with your Government.

Joe Public

As it’s Australian taxpayers who ‘pay the piper’, perhaps one of their Parliamentarians should make a formal request to UWA?

jeff 5778

“perhaps with data even showing that some of the responses to the poll that McIntyre wants to examine came from within the University itself, creating another, more culpable conflict of interest and violation of UWA’s own research policy.”
Was this really necessary? The post considers the justification for providing actual facts about the paper., The speculation above does not help your case.

Paul Coppin

Of course, people are assuming there actually is data to access…

M Courtney

Circular reasoning;
UWA can’t trust their data to sceptics because sceptics will misinterpret it.
Sceptics will have to misinterpret the data as the data can only be properly understood in one way – UWAs.
That is proven as the data has only been understood in one way – UWAs.
So it can’t be trusted to sceptics…

I remember taking the Lewandowsky poll on WUWT. Were the results ever published? Don’t remember seeing the results…
REPLY: Your memory is faulty. Lewandowsky’s original LOG12 poll was never hosted here, and I never received an invitation to post it from Lewandowsky’s assistant. What you likely recall is a poll done replicating Lewandowsky’s here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/08/replication-of-lewandowsky-survey/
-Anthony

Kev-in-Uk

M Courtney says:
April 3, 2014 at 11:02 am
aah! so that’s exactly the same as the warmist/alarmists ‘method’ of interpreting climate science data then, is it?? i.e. ‘their’ way ! LOL

Louis Hooffstetter

If it’s irreproducible, it’s NOT science PERIOD!

Correction/Clarification to:
“tomwys says:
April 3, 2014 at 10:52 am
Why would anyone want to study at UWA??? Nice environment, wretched academics!”
Why would anyone want to study at UWA??? Nice environment, but Vice-Chancellor/Professor Paul Johnson has provided evidence of some wretched academics!”
Sorry for first painting with a too broad a brush!!!

“Without the verification and replication of science that data access allows, science runs the risk of falling victim to the human emotional condition of opinions, agendas, tribalism, and personal vendettas acted out via the process of noble cause corruption.”
Social or political psychology rests on the results of self-reporting and so even the data is problematic.
Perhaps another way of looking at this is that the attempts to make all of the soft sciences have the look and feel of the hard sciences have utterly and completely failed. The empirical results are in: everything from comparative mythology, to social historicism, to psychology are just “opinions, agendas, tribalism, and personal vendettas” stated in the language of particle physics or chemical reactions.

My concern has been where the answer did not come from 😉
ie it was stated in the methodology that Skeptical Science posted the survey, and the evidence suggest it does not. and the paper made claims of a diverse audience, traffic volume and % of sceptics prevalent, solely on a content analysis of the SkS blog.
This is why I asked for the raw kwik survey data, meta data containing referring domains, would show Skeptical Science, IF it had been held there. (ie it might prove me wrong!)
The secondary question (for me, not others), which is also very interesting, is the possibility of participants that were included, from blogs not described in the methodology. Just the other week, The Scholars and Rogues blog said they had posted the Moon Hoax survey, Watching the Deniers blogger said somewhere on his blog, that he had directed people to it, Junk science had it (but not in the methodology). PLanet 3.0 had see it, etc,etc. I think Geoff Chambers has been pursuing this, where did all the participant actually come from, suspsecting that all these other possible referrers had been included, given it’s appearance in other locations (not described in the methodology)
The meta data (if they collected it, if they retained it, etc) would show this

sergeiMK

but wasn’t every one berating lew for leaving namesw in the report?
So surely it cannot be right to give FULL data as McIntyre has requested (ip addresses names etc) to any tom, dick or Mcintyre that requests it.
What proof can be given that this data will not be spread all over the internet.
who will be at fault when the named names see their names in lights on the internet?

As long as some take the attitude of “We know better than you, and do not have to follow our own rules”, trust in all sciences will decline. While the examples are about climate science (jones and Johnson), what is the layman to believe when the next “wonder pill” comes out and people die?
Contrary to the quote by Dr. Curry, the defense of Mann, Jones and now Lewandowsky is damaging all of science. No one needs to attack it. They have done that already.

Greg

… it if often the cover-up which gets more attention for prosecution than the original infraction,
“I did not sleep with that data!”

SergemK – my interest was quite specific, I requested the data to see the referring domains
(ie linked from SkS, Tamino, Deltoid, etc) I even suggested they could exclude the participants IP addresses..
NOT, that there are not other legitimate reason to see IP addresses, ie different responses from identical IPs (lots form a university address?, (the authors said they excluded identical entries from the same IP’s) etc

Theo Goodwin

“No matter what you think about climate science, or science in general, I would hope that you would embrace the need for transparency of data as the most important issue of science, because it is within the data where truth lives. Without the verification and replication of science that data access allows, science runs the risk of falling victim to the human emotional condition of opinions, agendas, tribalism, and personal vendettas acted out via the process of noble cause corruption.”
I trust that persons new to this topic will understand that, in science, replication of experiment is bedrock and that each scientist has a fundamental duty to assist others who wish to attempt replication of his/her experiment. (The first step in replication is gaining an understanding of what was done in the experiment. Sharing of data is essential for this step.)

Gerry

Did Jones actually forget to put a question mark at the end of the second sentence?

“…It is not the University’s practice to accede to such requests.”

Ah, instead of “It is the University’s policy to accede to such requests”.
A very clear case where UWA management absolutely refuse to practice what they preach.

Peter Miller

No matter which way you look at it, if you had nothing to hide you would not behave like such a pompous, obstructive prig.
Of course, there is the other alternative that Lew has something on the vice chancellor and ……………..

john robertson

More proof for my feeling that CAGW is an intelligence test, one that is revealing far too many of our taxpayer funded academics to be absolute failures.
Here is another one exposed, deer in the headlights, his incompetence displayed in its full magnificence.
Everyone who has dealt with career bureaucrats know they have 101 ways to not answer your questions. The response of Mr Johnson shows he is a failure of even the most basic civil service skills.
Every time one of these professional parasites attempts to defend the indefensible is another home goal on their part, tax payers are not as stupid as so many seem to assume.

rw

I think that talking about replication in this case is a little out of place.
How can anyone “replicate” work that was done in this fashion? What does it mean to replicate results under these conditions? It would be like throwing another dart at a dart board and chancing to hit the same spot.

J. Philip Peterson says:
April 3, 2014 at 11:10 am
“I remember taking the Lewandowsky poll on WUWT. Were the results ever published? Don’t remember seeing the results…”
“REPLY: Your memory is faulty. Lewandowsky’s original LOG12 poll was never hosted here…”
Sorry – didn’t mean to imply that you hosted it, I was just curious what the WUWT respondents answers were compared to Lewandowsky’s answers.
And I do remember that it was changed to a 1-5 instead of a 1-4 question survey. Is there a tally of the results of the replicated survey, just out of curiosity?

Bloke down the pub

Governments around the world could improve the standard of science overnight by defunding establishments that do not provide the data that the scientific process demands. The fact that they do not, high lights the fact that politicians and scientists are bed fellows.

tancred

Circling the wagons only works until you run out of ammo while the arrows keep coming in.
It’s obvious that scientific claims are not validated by peer review if the data are not freely available as a check on both the claimant and the reviewers. Refusing to release the data is, in effect, acknowledgement of a weak and indefensible claim.
Universities desperate for money will do just about anything now to bring in cash, even if it requires collusion with the government to keep the money pipe open by tapping student loans (“Peak Enrollment”?):
http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/university-tuition-revenue-falls-as-government-pos_13540.aspx#.Uz2wGqb94fM
The real alarm among climate scientists (and others depending on alarmism for revenue) is that even tenured academics will be summarily laid off if incoming funds shut down.

Mac the Knife

This is how ‘transparency’ is done, using Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (RATicals?). This is the way ‘transparency’ is done by Our Dear Leader Barack Obama also, a devotee of Rules For Radicals. Rules For Radicals abbreviated list attached:
http://www.bestofbeck.com/wp/activism/saul-alinskys-12-rules-for-radicals

Curiouser and Curiouser.
When this topic was covered last week at ClimateAudit.com I followed the links back to the UWA data page.
Under each header paragraph, (Benefits…, Sharing Options, Data Sharing at UWA) there was a ‘comment (0)’ that linked to a page where comments could be submitted.
So, being a very cooperative old rebel, I submitted a comment about VC Johnson wrongful and reprehensible actions. I also posted the links to that page in a WUWT thread and I tried to re-post the links at ClimateAudit.com only I seem to be banned from posting there. (Re-post in that ClimateAudit was where I had originally picked up the links)
Today, I followed the same links and noticed that the comment (0) links and wording were gone. Gone!
Just to verify, I visited the Wayback machine and sure enough, they had a screen pic from January 26, 2014. Clearly showing the ‘comment (0)’ options.
Well, now I know that UWA did receive my comment. I hope they received others too. Not that removing or avoiding comments makes their deceitful and now isolation actions any better for students, alumni or Australia.

Evan Jones

“I did not sleep with that data!”
Ow! Uh-huh, yeah, yeah.

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist. That don’t impress me much.
Only the data will keep me warm in the middle of the night!

Another thing the data would show is that none of the responses came from SkepticalScience, thus proving the truth of the point Barry Woods and I have been making since September 2012, six months before the publication of the paper, that the claim made in the paper that the survey was linked at SkepticalScience is false. It will also show how many responses came from Cook’s personal tweet. He had about a thousand Twitter followers at the time. Interviewing your fans in a scientific survey is not considered good survey practice.

Rob Dawg

You would think the other 97% of UWA academia would be disavowing the rogue 3%.

Behavior is compatible with Lew having fabricated some or all the data and the SkS link having never been there.
This is not more conspiracy ideation than fantasyzing about the warming pause as compatible with CAGW.

TheMightyQuinn

The Great and Wondrous Oz has spoken. There is no need to look at the data behind the curtain.

UWA’s inconvenient data disappearing act where the ‘comment(0)’ links vanished over the last few days is intriguing for another reason now that I notice it.
As Anthony’s screenshot above shows under the “Research Data Management Toolkit” opener; that this page was last edited “March 5, 2014”.
Well, shades of John Cook! Stuff vanishes yet the page wasn’t ‘edited’.
Does UWA Website always modify web pages without updating their edit time? No wonder Lewseranddownsky thinks it’s all right to fiddle with web page access and edit times…

I just remember the questions in the Lewandowsky survey were idiotic with nothing to do with climate science… copied a sample from the WUWT replicated one …this is supposed to be science?:
12. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr was the results of an organized conspiracy by US government agencies such as the CIA and FBI *
1 2 3 4 5
Absolutely True Absolutely False
13. The Apollo Moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio *
1 2 3 4 5
Absolutely True Absolutely False
14. Area 51 in Nevada US is a secretive military base that contains hidden alien spacecraft and or alien bodies *
1 2 3 4 5
Absolutely True Absolutely False
15. The assassination of John F Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, but was rather a detailed, organized conspiracy to kill the President *
1 2 3 4 5

Jimbo

Lewandowsky should try and get his ‘science’ published at the Journal of Irreproducible Results. As Louis Hooffstetter pointed out if other cannot be allowed the data to replicate your work then it’s akin to voodoo.
Lewandowsky is worse than Pons and Fleischmann who at least made some effort.

Alan Robertson

It’s looking more and more like UWA recruits Profs and Chancellors from the Yabba.
http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2012/10/04/welcome-to-the-yabba-review-of-wake-in-fright/

bonanzapilot - Tom Crozier

I know you’ve all seen this a hundred times; but personally I learn something new every time I watch it:

Harry Passfield

kev-in-uk: University of Western Australia Never Knowingly Entertaining Reproducible Science.
Is that what you were after?

David L.

I really can’t believe it. As I commented before, I work in Big Pharma and every bit of data, email, texting, IMing we do is completely open and available to every agency around the world at all times. If something goes on “legal hold” then destroying or deleting anything associated with the “hold” will get you into serious trouble.
What is wrong with these people? I was taught in school that science was about providing enough detail that someone else could replicate the work.

Jimbo

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 was awarded jointly to Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”.
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1962/

What if they kept their data and methodology etc. to themselves but still made the claim? They would never have won a damned thing. They would have been laughed at and mocked even though they did make the discovery.
Lewandowsky seeks to hide the data because he knows there is something wrong with it. No smoke without fire.

One of the tenets of scientific research is that ALL of the procedures followed, data gathered, etc, etc.,must be reported. In other words the researcher’s work MUST be replicable. And that means that a person reading the researcher’s report should be able to go out and replicate the research from that report. Period. Johnson is obviously not qualified to respond to questions about scientific research. He is clearly incompetent. But then, what else would we expect from a university that actually paid Lewandowsky and made him a faculty member?

Barry Woods April 3, 2014 at 11:25 am says he thinks I’ve been pursuing sources of survey respondents. Sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t got any further than Barry. I did do an analysis a while back of comments at the seven blogs which linked to the survey, and I came to the conclusion that, given the feeble interest displayed by commenters at Tamino’s, Deltoid etc., plus the fact that it was impossible to register a “don’t know” or continue the survey without answering every question, it was highly likely that a large number of the responses were simply made up.
I’ve no positive evidence for this, and I know Jeff in a comment above says that we should avoid speculation. I disagree.
Surveys on conspiracy theories regularly turn up 10-20% “don”t knows” on any individual conspiracy. How many people could honestly answer questions on 10 different conspiracy theories without once ticking “don’t know”? (Particularly as some of the events happened 50 years ago) Yet this couldn’t be done on the Moon Hoax survey.
When I worked in market research, one of the jobs of the survey supervisor was to check for interviewers who made up the answers. It was often quite easy to spot, because it’s really difficult to randomise answers.
I strongly suggest that those who like statistical puzzles should download the partial data that is available at
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/8/31/lewandowskys-data.html
and see what you can do with it.

bonanzapilot - Tom Crozier

“Area 51 in Nevada US is a secretive military base that contains hidden alien spacecraft and or alien bodies.”
Secretive – True
The Rest – False, but it was a great diversionary story which the physicists and engineers working there had a lot of fun feeding 😉

@bonanzapilot

“Area 51 in Nevada US is a secretive military base that contains hidden alien spacecraft and or alien bodies.”
Secretive – True
The Rest – False, but it was a great diversionary story which the physicists and engineers working there had a lot of fun feeding 😉

Yep! Everyone knows the aliens were transferred to Wright Patterson AFB! 😉

Andrew

“Why would anyone want to study at UWA??? Nice environment, wretched academics!”
I know some of them – it seems to be compulsory to be a radical warmy. I wouldn’t say the environment is that nice though – unless you’re Saudi, you’re likely to find Perth summers well beyond your comfortable temp range.
The only reason I can think of is that UWA prepares you for a lucrative career filming cricket bowlers and then writing a paper about why their actions are legal (in return for a hefty fee).

It occurs to me that there is a *very* good chance that their is NO data at all – none, nada, zilch. How could that have happened? If Lewandowsky simply drafted the entire report as a piece of fiction backing his beliefs, and then manufactured the pretense of a survey in order to try to cover the fact that the paper and all of its conclusions were already written before the project was officially started it. And all of his partners knew about this from the start and applauded it, because it was “good for the cause”.
I think that’s the big secret Paul Johnson is trying to hide – he can’t release the data because he knows there is no data to release, but he doesn’t dare admit it. But he is stuck – he knows that if he admits that he has nothing, then he has to admit being complicit to a spectacular scientific fraud from the beginning, so he has no choice but to pretend that some “data” exists, but that he’s not going to let anyone see it.
Why not? What would have stopped any of them from doing this?

James Ard

Science paper? Surely by now we all know it was a hit piece and not a science paper. That such silliness would come out of the halls of higher learning is a sad commentary on what has become of our universities. Sick em, Steve.

Jon

Those who would like to write to the Vice-Chancellor — as I have done — will find his email address on the University of Western Australia website.

bonanzapilot - Tom Crozier

Quote from an old friend who worked at Area 51: “Give a group of theoretical physicists an unlimited budget and a group of people who want to see strange things in the sky and by God they’ll see them. Those were the most fun days of my entire career.”