New paper finds climate skeptical blogosphere is important source of expertise, reinterpretation, & scientific knowledge production
From The Hockey Schtick:
A paper published on April 5th in Global Environmental Change finds the climate skeptical blogosphere serves as an alternative network of scientific knowledge production, and “are key protagonists in a process of attempted expert knowledge de-legitimisation and contestation, acting not only as translators between scientific research and lay audiences, but, in their reinterpretation of existing climate science knowledge claims, are acting themselves as alternative public sites of expertise for a climate sceptical audience.”
According to the authors, “A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That. These blogs predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate, providing either a direct scientifically-based challenge to mainstream climate science, or a critique of the conduct of the climate science system.
This overt scientific framing, as opposed to explicitly highlighting differences in values, politics, or ideological worldview, appears to be an important contributory factor in the positioning of the most central blogs.”
The abstract appears to be complimentary to the climate skeptic blogosphere as science-based sources of “expertise”, “scientific knowledge production”, and “reinterpretation”, as opposed to prior papers characterization of climate skeptic blogs as “deniers” of climate change and climate science.
|WUWT is somewhere in the center there|
Jo Nova had a writeup about it last November while the paper was being submitted for publication, which is worth reading again.
From the paper:
Two tests for degree centrality (Freeman’s and Bonacich’s approach) were chosen as ‘very simple, but often very effective measure[s] of an actor’s centrality’ (Hanneman and Riddle 2005: 148). Freeman’s approach shows the centrality of a node based on its degree, that is, the number of connections a node has. In this case, the rating score represents the number of other blogs linking to that blog on their respective blog rolls.
The blog with the highest in-degree rating according to Freeman’s approach is Watts Up With That (WUWT), authored by California-based Anthony Watts, with 54% of the climate sceptical blogosphere linking to WUWT. WUWT itself claims it is the ‘world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change’ and the results of this test appear to support this assertion.
Freeman’s approach may also be used to analyse out-degree linkages, that is, examining which blogs’ blog-rolls are the most extensive. While out-degree score is usually seen as a measure of how influential an actor is in a network, in this case, a blog has no control over whether or not it is included in another blogs’ blog-roll. It is thus possible that out-degree score in the context of a blogosphere may instead be regarded as an indicator of desire to enhance the network, for example, by ensuring readers are aware that there are multiple other blogs that support the position of the original blog. Interestingly, only two blogs
show both high in- and out-degree linkages (WUWT and Bishop Hill). Tables 3 and 4 show the top 10 Freeman’s approach scores for in- and out-degree linkage.
An open access version of the paper is available here: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publications/WorkingPapers/Papers/120-29/Mapping-the-climate-sceptical-blogosphere.pdf
Given that it is from the Grantham Institute, I wonder how Bob Ward is taking the news?
On a side note, there’s no “network” of 171 blogs. We don’t have a group, guild, or any sort of organization. Her network claim is little more than an identification of like minded people that operate climate related blogs. And, I don’t think about the blogroll that much and I doubt it has the significance she assigns to it.
Even so, thanks for the props.