Ooops: “lid blown off” the trustworthiness of scientific peer review

Global warming alarmists suffered a big hit this week in their effort to deify shoddy “peer-reviewed” climate papers.

Stanford University medical professor John Ioannidis, in an interview with Agence France Presse (AFP), blew the lid off the trustworthiness of the peer-review process.

When the alarmist community seeks to push a new argument or messaging strategy in the global warming debate, they first have one of their pseudo-scientists write an article for publication in a compromised peer-reviewed journal.

The political left has infiltrated and taken over most science journals that address political hot topics, much as they have taken over most of the “mainstream” news media.

This is especially the case regarding global warming issues. As the leaked Climategate emails revealed, editors of science journals typically are prominent alarmists or deliberately coordinate with prominent alarmists in the selection of articles and messaging.

The “peer-review process” typically involves the editor sending a submitted article to a team of reviewers who are outspoken climate activists.

After the paper is published, global warming activists and their media allies typically cite the peer-reviewed nature of the paper as evidence that its conclusions are infallible.

Any who question the methodology or alarmist conclusions are then labeled science deniers.

According to Ioannidis, the peer-review process guarantees little in terms of trustworthiness even before political agendas compromise the issue.

“[W]hen studies are replicated, they rarely come up with the same results. Only a third of the 100 studies published in three top psychology journals could be successfully replicated in a large 2015 test,” AFP reported, summarizing Ioannidis’ findings.

“Medicine, epidemiology, population science, and nutritional studies fare no better, Ioannidis said, when attempts are made to replicate them,” according to AFP.

When only a third of peer-reviewed studies reach the same results when they are replicated by outside authors, this is a serious problem.

Regarding climate change papers, the peer-reviewed papers are likely even less reliable – before even considering the inescapably political nature of the topic – because many papers address predictions and models for which it is impossible to test the paper’s conclusions against objective evidence.

For example, when a scientist invents a climate model predicting rapid global warming or seriously negative future climate impacts, and when a paper summarizing the results of his or her model appears in a peer-reviewed journal, there is no way at the time of publication to compare the climate predictions against real-world observations.

This adds an additional level of doubt to the accuracy of global warming predictions published in peer-reviewed science journals.

And this is before taking into consideration the inherently political nature of the global warming debate and the political agendas of journal editors and their carefully selected article reviewers.

The lesson to be learned is the liberal media engage in laziness or deliberate misrepresentation when they cherry-pick certain peer-reviewed studies and claim that anybody who questions them is “attacking science,” “attacking scientists,” or being a “denialist.”

Sound science requires critically testing theories and predictions – including those published in peer-reviewed science journals – against objective evidence.

Read more at CFACT

184 thoughts on “Ooops: “lid blown off” the trustworthiness of scientific peer review

  1. “Reporters and editors owe their readers and audience more than “on the fly” opinions or peer-reviewed studies. Without adequate research with a deep respect for knowledge and facts, reporters and editors reveal their political biases.

    Anonymous Heins

  2. “After the paper is published, global warming activists and their media allies typically cite the peer-reviewed nature of the paper as evidence that its conclusions are infallible.”

    The cited article is only about studies that require experimental participants. Nothing about climate studies.

    • And right on time come the state apologists masquerading around as “skeptics”. Might want to change your moniker because you fool only fools with it.

      For though they have eyes but do not see…
      It is clear you have an agenda, and that agenda to irrelevant to the truth, therefore you will refuse to see this problem also applies to climate “science”.
      I’m going to wager strongly once the Democrats are forced to abandon this narrative and admit defeat, you’ll pony up on the next bandwagon. I bet they will claim science proves whites are genetically predisposed to violence and the only way to prevent it is to prevent whites from breeding, so suicide is the best viable option for those not grandfathered in. I wonder whether you’d question that narrative at that point?
      Hmm, I doubt it

    • Although in both cases the end result is the same as the process to bolster their ideals is the same

    • True, and they only got a one in three replication rate. Want to try climate change papers under the same strict rules? No pal review?


      • Replication? Replication?! We don’t need no stinkin’ replication. We have emotion-driving duplicity. And what good is truth anyway for what our appetites demand?

      • How does one duplicate a work of imagination. Most of these climate science papers should be copywrite protected in the fiction section

    • To the misanthrope, nothing will ever be sufficient to persuade said agent that their foundational worldview of self-loathing is erroneous. This is what this comes down to. The religion of guilt. Fear of those who are naturally competitive and willing to prove it. Anger for their own lot in life and resentment for those who earned their success. They see only the evil capable of humanity, but easily dismiss the vastly superior quantity of goodness that is performed and created by our species. This is why they use sophist arguments such as “it is her body”… That is the mindset we are up against.

      That is the reason they build their wall of intransigence and willfully don the blinders: they have built an ego so inflated, so confined to the realm of fantasy, so incredibly insulated from fact, that upon hearing the truth they shudder and squirm. It is uncomfortable; it hurts; it sickens and angers them, just like the ancient stories of the fallen ones. There is much truth regarding the battle to align with truth, and to fight the truth for egoistic (satanic) agenda. It is clear which side of this forever waging war these people have aligned themselves. They will stoop to any level to protect themselves from aligning with the truth.

    • So you want to take the position that peer review is worthless in one area of science, but not to be questioned in another?

      • Actually, the words “peer review” are not in the AFP article. It’s mainly about lack of training in statistics when applied to clinical trials. I think you guys have been duped.

        • The issue is that all of these problems made it past the peer review problem.
          You are once again trying to change the subject.

        • Maybe you should look at the comment below about citation accuracy. I mean, WUWT could run “More studies on climate are on climate” on an article on “how cats like petting”, and I guess you would be fine with that. You should try being a little more skeptical.

        • The AFP article is NOT “mainly about lack of training in statistics when applied to clinical trials.” There is only one short sentence in the middle of the AFP interview that states that; it isn’t even a summary. Either you have poor reading comprehension, or you are purposely being duplicitous.

          While the AFP article did not mention “peer review,” the CFACT article that Laframboise linked to mentioned it several times, as in “Stanford University medical professor John Ioannidis, in an interview with Agence France Presse (AFP), blew the lid off the trustworthiness of the PEER-REVIEW process.” The AFP article detailed how and in what ways peer review is failing. (It should be evident that peer review is failing because the stated problems exist.) However, AFP was only one of two articles linked in the main CFACT article. The main article and one subsidiary article contained the words “peer review.” Are you trying to dupe readers by claiming that one of three relevant articles lacked a key phrase?

        • Although in both cases the end result is the same as the process to bolster their ideals is the same

        • Really not skeptical, again, demonstrates an inability to read and understand.

          N.B. rs’s using the AFP article for their claim; ignoring the research a journalist used to back up their article.

          That research, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, by ‘John Ioannidis’.

          Published Research is “Peer Reviewed Research. Only looney alarmists pretend otherwise, when the results challenge their falsehoods.

          Also note that the journalist softened the claim from “most” to approximately 30%.

          • “That research, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, by ‘John Ioannidis’”
            Well, the original article is here. But it’s probably false. It was a published research finding.

        • Reallyskeptical

          “It’s mainly about lack of training in statistics when applied to clinical trials. ”

          You mean like when 2015 was declared to be 0.001 C warmer than 2014 with a confidence of 38%?

          That kind of “training in statistics”? There is a non-zero chance that any given year in the Little Ice Age was warmer than 2017. Not likely, I agree, but non-zero all the same.

          Once you step off the mainline, there are myriad potential disasters waiting in 6-sigma-land.

          Bad statistics are Normally distributed in climate science.

    • ReallySkeptical,

      You missed being the first to comment by 6 minutes. Remain focused, there will be others.

      After the WUWT post is published global warming activists and their media allies will mobilize using any means possible.

      • The Front against Misogynes, Petro-Masculinists, and Science Deníalists has missed its goal by a few minutes. They need to get some more and quicker volunteers to the front.

        ReallyGullible who believes the world is about to end /sarc

    • Nothing about climate studies.

      Everything suggests that climate studies should be worse. Why? Climate science is highly political. That means all the incentives are perverse.

      If you sincerely want to understand how bad things are, I suggest you read Rigor Mortis. In a nutshell:

      … scientists have been taking shortcuts around the methods they are supposed to use to avoid fooling themselves. They have often had to choose between maintaining scientific rigor and doing what they perceive as necessary to maintain a career in a hypercompetitive field.

      It’s a cultural thing. It involves hiring committees, journals, and granting agencies. It’s a toxic mix that demands novel results and provides no punishment for being wrong. On the other hand, solid but boring results won’t be published and your career will be stillborn.

      • Maybe. Maybe not.

        Most fields are not “hyper competitive”.

        But, what is not discussed in the AFP article are that:
        1. Clinical trials are really really expensive, and they often don’t have enuf money. Many of these are done by industry, and they tend to cut corners if they can get away with it, to cut expense.
        2. Sometimes studies are stopped prematurely because either the effect is looking bad or the effect is looking really good, and there are patients that could be helped. In both cases, the studies still get published.

          • nope. He is willfully ignorant and deceiving himself. Read my previous few posts, they really explain his worldview accurately and also why he would operate in such fashion.

          • One thing industry DOESN’T do is, when it goes over-budget, they don’t have the option of simply raising their budget.

          • Marky W says: “Only industry cuts corners to save money.
            ReallySkeptical is really blind.”

            maybe. except before grad school I worked in the Pharm industry, and I know it to be true. I mean, basically, you haf to be kidding me, you really believe industry to be the guys in white coats? You need to be more skeptical of what they feed you.

          • Once again, rather than deal with the issue at hand, RS just results to innuendo and insult.
            If this really is the best you can do, then whoever hired you needs his money back.

        • Most fields are not “hyper competitive”.

          Don’t you even know anyone who has earned a PhD recently? There is a huge oversupply of PhDs of all kinds. link “Hyper competitive” only scratches the surface.

          WRT to industry: I am not the industry supporter that MarkW is by a country mile, however in this case industry (Bayer and Amgen in particular) is blowing the whistle on the problem (see Rigor Mortis link above).

          • Considering that something like one-third of jobs out there actually requires a degree, pushing higher education – and the outrageous tuition that goes with it – is actually one of the big disservices provided by ‘lower’ education.

          • It’s not that I’m an industry supporter it’s more that I recognize that government intervention makes the vast majority of problems worse.

          • Yep. I help make them. So getting a job is hyper, that is correct. But you said the field or getting a paper published is hyper competitive. That is only competitive with no hyper.

            And don’t talk to me about industry virtue. In my experience, 97% of industry is out to screw you. That’s why I left it.

          • That is only competitive with no hyper.

            OK, now we’re quibbling about the degree of competition.

            Competition, done right, is supposed to improve things. Competition should lead to the best science being published. Instead, it is widely acknowledged that most reported research findings are false. This blogger proposes an ‘interesting’ solution.

            The competition to get published, even after you’ve got tenure is nasty and dysfunctional. If it weren’t that way, we would get fewer bogus results.

        • Please go back and review the various Climategate E-Mails in which the usual suspects talked about getting a journal editor fired because he allowed an inconvenient article to be published, and then gloated about their success; E-Mails in which they discussed “packing” the peer-review process; and one in which they stated that they would have to change the definition of peer-review, if necessary, to prevent inconvenient articles being published. Ioannidis didn’t address the mess that is peer review in the settled science – he didn’t heave to – those complicit in subverting the peer-review process talked about it openly.

        • Whilst what you say is true, by far the majority of medical and pharmaceutical trials cannot be replicated. This is the same in many branches of science today. It is exacerbated in climate ‘science’ by the researchers refusing to provide their data with their research papers. Indeed, many go to the lengths of even turning down legal FOIA requests for data used and generated in government research projects. This does not increase confidence that their research is repeatable. By definition their research cannot be repeated as they withhold so much detail of the research.
          If the science journals had any ethics they would refuse to publish papers without the associated data.

          • if I am reading a trial I expect to see the culture medium/brand/ temp and machinery used to be listed as well as times how many repeats etc
            if i see that i figure theyre far less likely to be faking as basically you CAN use the info to replicate.
            true many of us couldnt do it as we dont have the setup
            but publishing then being outed for lying ruins careers,
            I also expect to see all good n bad patient results and death/survival rates as well as a REAL placebo used not a “similar drug” to mask side effects

        • “Most fields are not ‘hyper competitive.'”

          Inappropriate unit of analysis, ReallySkeptical. If you are an academic who hasn’t gotten tenure, things for you are personally hyper competitive regardless of how laid back your field might be.

        • In climate “science”, it’s important to design your paper so as to avoid anything that might represent nature as it is, rather than as your contrived computer output or preferred finding. If you don’t get it, ask Michael Mann. He’s an expert craftsman. Just not a scientist.

        • oft claimed very expensive clinical trials irks me
          i want to SEE the itemised costs they claim!!
          stage 1 animal ones sure arent
          stage 2 might be cos they really should be taking voluminous lab tests samples.
          by stage 3 theyve got a fair idea.
          stage 4 is when the public become the REAL guineapigs and we mugs pay them!
          as to good and bad outcomes published
          ha ha bloody ha
          they should be but the bad ones get omitted or “tweaked”
          and marginally good/no better than prior meds, data gets the stats massage n spin as the new more effective version etc etc
          lab workers/setup and testing devices etc are all long since paid for/minimal possible/often OS sections set up for just that reason along with possibly lower legal risk issues to boot.

          and as for getting any REAL action on a drug thats causing harm or death?
          when thousands die they might be pressured…eventually…to put a black box warning label on it, all the while denying the product should be removed, vioxx killed people/previcox kills pets , guess how they keep making money off a bad drug? move it from human to pet cos the poor buggers cant speak!

          • These days, the FDA only requires comparison to placebo in drug trials. The fact that the new med is no better or even less effective than current treatments is not considered by the FDA. Beat the placebo and have acceptable side effect profile and the world is your oyster.

            I know a recently retired high level executive for a major pharmaceutical company. He and I have discussed conducting trials for a topical medication we might try to bring to market. He told me that we would use one specific company for the study. The reason? The company always produces reliably good study results that show significant effectiveness of the study medication.

    • Reminds me of the Edinburgh University paper published earlier this year claiming that Shags had been forced to stop eating Sand Eels because “climate change” had reduced Sand Eel numbers.

      Firstly sea temperatures off the Scottish coast haven’t warmed , secondly and more significantly the “scientific”study by the university ignored 2 detailed studies for the Scottish Parliament and for the UK government which had proven the decline in Sand Eel numbers was a direct result of overfishing by Scandinavians in Scottish waters.

      But hey, why let a good ‘Climate Change headline and press release be spoiled by factual science.?…… grants and more climate change research money could be at stake ….

      Btw when I criticised them and pointed out the 2 factual studies both the uni and the publisher refused to have any more dialogue with me. That’s how “climate change” is promoted, and God help you if you dare bring actual facts into the discussion!

    • ReallySketical writes

      The cited article is only about studies that require experimental participants. Nothing about climate studies.

      It’s a good thing things improve when there is no empirical data for a future projection then, eh.

    • They are experiments in activist deception. Not even a question about that. You are willfully blind whereas experimental science is not. It was made for people like you!

    • Nothing about climate studies.


      Perhaps because many people, on the left, in the science reform movement, are terrified of criticizing the climate cult. Lefties need to be part of their tribe. We all need a ‘home’ somewhere. Tribal leaders tell them that the climate consensus is settled science. The real meaning of consensus is criticize this at your peril.

    • So climate science is somehow exempt from the problems that afflict EVERY other scientific discipline?

      It is insane claims like that that make me wonder about Alarmists. Do you actually believe that climate science is perfect?

  3. Multiple, independent (ideally not merely uncorrelated) sources, or it’s a political or scientific myth.

  4. “cite the peer-reviewed nature of the paper as evidence that its conclusions are infallible.”

    ..and peer review was never meant to work that way

      • …exactly…it’s nothing more than spell check
        Then the paper is out there for the rest of the world to pick it apart, etc

        No one even has time for that in the peer review process

        • The authors ought to consider the commentary from this blog’s readers to be more valuable than the original peer review they received…

          • Depends on the quality of the peer review. Given the number of papers that have been featured on this blog with errors so large that they would fail an elementary school science fair, I would think that a lot of them would. Others are of high quality and there’s little we can add.

          • The fact that those errors were spotted in the first place shows that this place is better at peer review than most journals.

        • I work pretty hard on reviews. I look up cited papers that are critical to the argument. I have analyzed the presented data. A thorough review usually takes me two or three days of work.

          I take the review responsibility seriously. I know others do the same from the quality of (some of) those who have reviewed my manuscripts.

          The only set of reviewers I have found generally incompetent, actually, are climate modelers. I’ve yet to encounter one of them who knows anything about physical error analysis.

          [And we thank you for your ethics and efforts .mod]

    • I would have guessed that 2/3 of the 97% were responsible for papers that were garbage.

  5. because many papers address predictions and models for which it is impossible to test the paper’s conclusions against objective evidence.

    Which is why propagating model error through the projection is so useful. And here.

    Propagated error provides a measure of reliability of the prediction, when the observables are in the future.

    And by that process, climate models are found to have no predictive value. Zero. None whatever.

    • When I tell people this they just flat out don’t believe me. Surely the supercomputers can’t be wrong! The scientists that run them know more about climate than I, a mere software engineer knows! By the time I point out that these climate models are just software and that most climate scientists know jack-all about properly designing, implementing, and testing software, they have stopped listening. It is so sad to experience this, but still I persist, hoping to eventually reach a few open minded people.

  6. What the general public (and many specialists) don’t realize is that what has come to be called “peer review” is actually pre-publication screening, by presumed subject-matter experts, all for the benefit of the publishers. Technical publishing is a profitable business and it is important that they maintain a reputation for only publishing trust worthy research that is not highly controversial. Einstein’s Special Relativity probably would have been rejected under today’s procedures. That is to say, any research that potentially could result in a paradigm shift will find difficulty in being published by the larger, better known publishers simply because the ‘reviewers’ and the editors won’t believe what is claimed.

    The entire point behind publication is that the Scientific Method depends on peer review and replication to find mistakes and unjustified conclusions, to allow acceptance of the formal hypothesis. The actual peer review comes AFTER publication with the widespread dissemination to those with an interest in the subject. Einstein’s work is still being peer reviewed more than 100 years after publication. Unfortunately, few researchers have the time or resources to thoroughly replicate expensive, complex, but mundane experiments. They then tend to focus on obvious mistakes or logically fallacious conclusions. We find ourselves in the present situation because those doing the pre-publication screening are not paid for their effort and are often anonymous, thereby not risking their personal reputations for shoddy work. This is exacerbated by the NSF, and others controlling grant money, not reserving funds for formal replication studies. It is a sorry state of affairs for science because the money is wagging the dog.

    One solution might be for grants to be given in duplicate, with the stipulation that the parties working on the research keep it secret from others (which is usually the case anyway), especially those who might be the parallel grant recipient. Then, the results should be published in parallel so that those in the field can read both and reach their own conclusions. It would certainly discourage fabricating data, and sometimes demonstrate when results are a statistical fluke.

    There is little doubt that the systems is in need of overhaul!

    • This is exacerbated by the NSF, and others controlling grant money, not reserving funds for formal replication studies.

      That’s a lot of money, but it would lead to better papers. But is there enough people to do the samish work twice?

      • “But is there enough people to do the samish work twice?”

        I don’t know if there “is” enough people, but I would say there are enough people.

        No charge for the pedantry. 😉

      • Hugs,
        As it is, we are often paying for worthless (or damaging) research. We would be better off having have half as many research projects, if they were reliable.

  7. FOIA, the Noble Agent for Truth blew the lid off peer review on the global warming agenda. Then blog sites like WUWT blew the lid to pieces.

    Like Humpty Dumpty, the lid will never be put back together again! Though the queens and troughers will keep trying.

  8. “Peer review” has been successfully redefined, just like “marriage”, “gender”, and “free speech”.

  9. Many appear to only now be picking up on the now long standing problems with peer review that have existed for more than a decade. In my profession we ran into a problem in the 1970s and 1980s. It could take several years from final draft to publication in some journals. Yet the demand that research finding be published was going through the roof. One of the problems was the peer review system.

    Yet back in the late 1980s and early 1990s not only in my profession but also in many other scientific disciplines the peer review process was being questioned. One prominent problem was the limited number of experts in a given field to actually peer review. Often editors would so limit the people who could review that it would end up a mere handful. They all knew each other, knew each others research, writing style, etc. Appreciate often this same “club” review grant proposals. And if sent out to related but not identical field there would be screaming by the authors, “how do they know anything about my field?” Yet often the problems with a paper didn’t really require any precise expertise in the specific field. Often there were misapplication of statistical methodology, even addition problems in tables, graphs with reversed x-y axises, or conclusions that made not logical sense based on what was presented in the paper. Worse often not enough detail in the methods and materials for anyone to even attempt duplicating the experiment or sampling design.

    Then there is the problem with peer review comments being ignored by the authors and editors and a paper being published anyway. In the last three papers I reviewed, all for federal government published journals, none of my comments are considered even though they related to substantial mistakes. Later I ran into friends that had peer reviewed two of the same papers. Their comments were also ignored.

    Now today we throw in “data secrecy/confidentiality” even after the results have been published.

    Can it be fixed, certainly. It would require people of absolute integrity, honor and also guts. The push back is and would be major.

    • Computers and the internet have reduced the cost and the value of information by increasing the demand and distribution manyfold. Climate science and other pseudo-fields are like reality TV. They are produced for an audience. Reality TV sells products. Climate science sells ideology.


    ABSTRACT: Citing sources that do not support the assertion being made can misinform readers, perpetuate mistakes and deny credit to the researchers who should have been acknowledged. To quantify citation fidelity in marine biology, we retrieved 198 papers from 2 recent issues of 33 marine biology journals. From each paper we randomly selected 1 citation, recovered the source material, and evaluated its appropriateness. We discovered that the assertion was ‘clearly supported’ by the citation in only 75.8% of cases, the support was ‘ambiguous’ in 10.6% of cases and the citation offered ‘no support’ to the original statement in 6.0% of cases. The remaining 7.6% of cases were classified as ‘empty’ (citations to secondary sources). We found no relationship between citation appropriateness and the position of the assertion in the paper, number of authors, number of references, article length and Journal Impact Factor. That 1 in 4 citations in marine biology should be viewed with scepticism is alarming and has important ramifications for both scholarship and bibliometrics.

    Open access, probably conservative based on my experience, but wide variations, too many second hand citations, original source not examined or even known about.

    • In fairness to the authors, peer reviewers frequently criticize the lack of a citation, usually one of their own papers. To expedite publication the author will then cite the reviewer’s paper, even though it may not apply.

    • From looking at the article, I couldn’t figure out if a citation to a “review” would be considered an ’empty’ citation. It would have been helpful if the authors included some examples. And I sort of agree with ScarletMacaw’s comment, although more often than not, it does apply. And, of course, you blow your anonymity.

    • I think 1 out of 16 is pretty much what I’ve seen myself reading literature. Some cites are bad. And some refer to dubious mentions, not to reviews. But then, erring is easy in my opinion, and often these citations are not exactly central to the work.

      Maybe the worst would be a fake citation with a false claim that none has ever presented in the literature, and the claim would be central to the work. But I think that is rare. More common is a claim based on a source that should never have been used for that purpose, or is outdated by 20 years or more. And it results a wrong detail in Introduction or something that serious.

      The original old paper is oftentimes hard to track let alone get and read; it can also be commonly credited, but so old you need to be a wizard to be able to tell what’s valid in the paper and what’s just obsolete. I’ve done this mistake myself. Reading the original text from a 17th century natural philosopher can be harder than some can expect. Questions arise like how has the meaning of a certain word changed in 250 years? 🙂 I think reviews are handy.

    • We just published a paper, and used a reference from 1889. Before my grandfather was born.

  11. As an engineer working for a company with proper customers (paying their own money) I have to fully document and archive everything I do, with rigorous configuration control. Sorry govt scientists, those concepts may be foreign to you, but they are the only way that your work should be made public.

    Its probably asking too much that peer reviewers should replicate results themselves, but the chance that they or others might attempt it should be sufficient to lift standards considerably. Ideally authors should suffer reputational damage, and risk loss of grants, if it is found that results can’t be replicated, but of course that places integrity above everything else, maybe too last century to be viable.

  12. The “peer-review process” typically involves the editor sending a submitted article to a team of reviewers who are outspoken climate activists.

    After the paper is published, global warming activists and their media allies typically cite the peer-reviewed nature of the paper as evidence that its conclusions are infallible.

    So very… incestuous

    • Peer review is faulty in a similar way to AGW theory. No room for negative feedbacks.
      If journals and reviewers were given negative gradations for supporting papers that were subsequently found to be non-replicable we would achieve some balance and save a ton of government money.

  13. The “peer-review process” only works if the reviewers go into it looking for errors/mistakes, not just wanting to rubber stamp it.

  14. “Sound science requires critically testing theories and predictions – including those published in peer-reviewed science journals – against objective evidence.”

    How ’bout some objective evidence?

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein

    TFK_bams09 pg 5/14
    “At the surface, the outgoing radiation was computed for blackbody emission at 15°C using the Stefan–Boltzmann law R = εσT4, (1) where the emissivity ε was set to 1.”
    (Actually 16 C/289 K correspond to 396 W/m^2.)

    As my modest experiment demonstrates, the contiguous participating molecules of the atmosphere make such BB emission impossible.

    No GHG energy loop + No RGHE = Carbon dioxide and mankind play no role in the behavior of the climate.

    Remember, science neither cares nor chooses sides nor recognizes consensus.

  15. As I read it the lede (first sentence) is unsubstantiated. The issue about the limitations of traditional, pre-publication peer-review are genuine.
    The lede says “Global warming alarmists suffered a big hit this week in their effort to deify shoddy “peer-reviewed” climate papers.” But what happened this week to justify that statement?

    The “interview” of Ioannidis cited seems to be a few quotes of indeterminate age.

    Ironically, this looks to me as yet another example among many of poor peer-review / editing in this blog.
    This post would have benefited from some fact checking.
    Anthony, is there some way a critical reader can help with the peer-review of posts?

    • Indeed, the only “hit” seems to be an expression of opinion from some unnamed person at CFACT, with no basis quoted. There are quotes from Ioannidis on about his usual stuff on reproducibility in results in psychology and medical journals.

          • If a brick-faced wall was in the process of falling on you, Nick, (and we were yelling at you to run away from the falling brick wall) with your last breath you would likely tell us it’s made of a wood skeleton supporting bricks, rather than use logic and attempt to escape the consequence.

            What will it take for you to stop clinging to this religion?




            There is a gentleman that wrote a book on the scam of peer review and all the collusionary tactics. I have been searching with no luck to find it.

            Anyway, as other people started you are clearly intellectual and capable but I can’t figure why you defend a dishonest field and continue to pretend they retain any credibility, most especially after giving away their tell after the release those CRU emails, amongst a litany of other shoddy scientific methods, homogenization being maybe the most obvious.

            For what aim do you consistently defend the CAGW position? I’m genuinely interested

          • The interview mentioned today 1) makes zero mention of the peer review process and 2) makes zero mention of climate research. Yet CFACT and WUWT draw the conclusion that the peer review process is fundamentally flawed, and climate research in particular. If this post were a paper, it would certainly deserve to flunk the peer review process.

          • Chris,
            You said, ” If this post were a paper, it would certainly deserve to flunk the peer review process.” However, in today’s state of peer review, it probably wouldn’t.

            The point is, there are many studies demonstrating that the quality of research being published is very poor. So-called peer review is intended to prevent the problems cited, but isn’t doing so. The fact that so many supporting the idea of AGW make a big thing out of ‘peer review’ suggests that they either are unfamiliar with the problems, or don’t care and are simply ‘appealing to authority’ to attempt to bolster their belief system.

          • I’m not arguing to remove peer review, but the process has become politicized and corrupt in every field. That is where the frustration stems. It’s already been exposed in climate science by the CRU emails, and biotech, cancer research, pharmaceutical research, the CDC swine flu cover up, psychology, etc, but supporters of the official narrative that man is wreaking having through co2 emission refuse to acknowledge the implications and overlap.

            It’s borderline infuriating because depending on the field, many will use it to defend their position on a particular topic, yet refuse to see the pattern and overlap in others. It’s an internal conflict and it is unacceptable behavior from intelligent adults, which you and Nick demonstrate. Other people notice you are smart, so it’s perplexing to witness such monstrous cognitive dissonance. I’m assuming this is the reason some claim you are a paid troll or shill. At some point it stands to reason the possibility exists of other motivating factors.

            Regards the peer review, I’m not sure what the answer is to fix it but that doesn’t make highlighting the corruption/collusion any less wrong. The biggest issue I have with all of this is the clear manufacturing of opinion by flooding the masses with climate propaganda that consistently gets disproven (polar bears, penguins, SLR, data adjustment, hottest ever claims, homogenization, ocean acidification, unreliable models, on and on). Then let’s not forget peer review stacking, hiding the decline (aka FRAUD), bullying of skeptics and ad hominem attacks via the word “denier”.
            It isn’t just blatant propaganda but that the consequence is global carbon tax and global governance. That is the end goal and this is the mechanism they are attempting to achieve that ends through guilting the unsuspecting population into misanthropy. So when I see supposed scientists and otherwise smart folks consistently rejecting observation in deference to models and adjustments, something stings the nostrils

          • First off is to recognize that peer review has never been anything beyond a first level sanity check on the paper.

            Secondly the best review of any kind is to put all your data and methods in a publicly accessible spot so anyone who wants to can examine it and try to replicate it.

            The idea that we need gatekeepers to prevent unwanted ideas from being published should have gone out with communism.

          • “For what aim do you consistently defend the CAGW position? “
            There is nothing about AGW in what you are citing. It is just a general complaint about peer review. I have also not always loved peer review, but I do find peer reviewed sources of information better than the alternative.

          • 1. That is deflection. Why do you defend the current CAGW presentation. Although I thought it was now climate change yet they keep discussing global warming?
            2. I’m glad we agree on having concerns about peer review, however, in light of massive inconsistency and fraud in multiple fields, how can you possibly defend peer review as a better alternative than whatever is an alternative? Would it not be best to throw out all the bad, irreproducible science and demand the Media cover it with the vigor they push the false data and science?
            But we can’t do that can we? Because then the whole climate hustle collapses, you know, that genie that can’t be let out?

          • “how can you possibly defend peer review as a better alternative than whatever is an alternative? “
            I think that just sums it up. What is the alternative? The main problem with peer review, and indeed publishing, is that it is under-resourced. It used to rely on people giving time freely, but now managements account for time more rigorously. Rational allocation of resources is needed..

            My main issue with peer review is that they sometimes thought my papers were imperfect 🙁

          • Hugs said: “Regards the peer review, I’m not sure what the answer is to fix it but that doesn’t make highlighting the corruption/collusion any less wrong. ”

            Perhaps not wrong, but not particularly useful. As I noted below, certainly there are issues with peer review, especially when involves vendor products (like a new cancer vaccine), but it’s still a good overall system. I keep hearing about corrupt scientists here on WUWT, but I have yet to hear about a single wealthy climate scientist. The professors I know were in university for 10 or more years to get their PhD, racked up $100-200k in student debt, and work 80 hours per week to make $60-75K/year. Not exactly the picture you are trying to portray.

            Global governance? Give me a break. You’re showing your true colors there. Big, cross nation problems require cross nation cooperation and spending. That doesn’t by definition make it a global plot to take over the world. NATO is a perfect example – many nations each spending money to work together towards a common problem.

          • Sometimes I think peer review is more to help rank papers for the Editors than an actual fact check of the paper. Most journals receive many more manuscripts than they publish. In Nature’s case, depending on the week, you only have a 10 to 20 % chance of being even being reviewed and, if reviewed, only a 10% chance of being accepted.

            That said, the reviewers do catch lots of errors and have lots of useful suggestions to make papers more solid.

    • “Anthony, is there some way a critical reader can help with the peer-review of posts?”

      Isn’t that what you are doing with your post?

      Feel free to go ahead and review to your hearts content.

      • The warmistas can’t get past the idea that modern peer review doesn’t work like peer review for journals.

        They believe that the paper shouldn’t appear on this site until after it has been peer reviewed by people who have been properly anointed.

        The idea that peer review is what happens to an article after it is posted for all to read is foreign to them.

  16. With climate “science”, there is an industry to protect, so the motivation to waive through shoddy, bogus science is doubled. “Peer review” becomes an automated rubber stamp.

  17. OT a bit but there is a series of YT videos titled “Witnessing professionals and climate change workshop” just a bunch of leftist academics in an echo chamber lusting after changing peoples minds about CAGW.

    • They promote intentionally deceiving and using “bait and switch” and other “tools” to “trick” people to get people them to act. Verbal diarrhea at its worse. Start at ~11.20 up to the point where she says “we are the people in the backroom trying to sell something and trying to obscure the reasons why we are selling it.” Trying to gain trust only as a “tool.”

  18. Dr. Ionnidis, in his AFP interview, makes zero mention about the research area of climate science. Zero. All of the discussion about climate research is added in by CFACT – for example “Regarding climate change papers, the peer-reviewed papers are likely even less reliable – before even considering the inescapably political nature of the topic – because many papers address predictions and models for which it is impossible to test the paper’s conclusions against objective evidence.”

    • So, peer review is working in global warming sciences in your opinion? Or did you just want to air your keyboard?

      • Empty replies from Hugs and Mark. Hugs, the article we are commenting on incorrectly implied a link between an interview of a guy who does research in the medical sector, and research in climate change. it made no comments about peer review, it talked about, for example: “Their investigation touched on a known but persistent problem in the research world: too few studies have large enough samples to support generalized conclusions.”

        There have been thousands of papers published in the area of atmospheric sciences. Are there a few where sloppy work was done, or mistakes were made? I’m sure there are. 1) that does not invalidate the AGW premise 2) that does not impugn peer review as an effective technique. In a perfect world, where $100K could be budgeted per paper for outside experts to spend months reviewing data sets, checking calibration on field instruments, reviewing models, etc, the system might work better. Right now peer reviewers generally work for free. They have full time workloads with teaching, their own research, editing roles, fundraising for their university, etc.

        What I hear proposed as an alternative is for all authors to put everything out there for the world to see (and review). Interestingly, when this I’ve seen folks like Nick Stokes post links to data sets he has used, I have not seen people take up his offer. Meaning downloading the data, and doing a major analysis or cross check of their own. Hugs and/or Mark, why don’t you do that? Or are you only interested in taking potshots at peer reviewers?

        • No, your replies are empty!
          See how this works?
          Just because you make a claim didn’t make it true. Plenty of comments you post on here are just banal nit picking, and basically empty. While I would state that is fact, I’ll just chock it up to my opinion. Fair?
          It’s like your opinion is that man drives climate, but it’s more like a belief because there is zero fact to back it up outside of isolated Urban heat island effect

  19. People here may find it instructive to look at for the latest on misapplication, mistakes, manipulation, and the darn-well fraudulent that happens in the name of science.
    P.S. They are well worth a donation!

    • BallBounces

      Wait a minute — I can’t trust this article if it hasn’t been peer- reviewed. It has been peer-reviewed, HASN’T IT?????????

      Well, it IS being peer-reviewed right now …. By several thousands of critical reviewers.

  20. Over 40 years ago I wrote a report on the reasons for and the recommended solution of the need for changes in the uninterruptible power source for the plant instrumentation system supporting the need of two seperate UPS systems vice the current single system. This report had to be reviewed by the technical committee which consisted of Plant operations, Plant maintenance, Construction, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Training. This document was over 800 pages including diagrams, charts and drawings. While assuring it was ready to go to printing I jokingly told the engineer working with me “I bet no one that is required to review this reads the entire document.” He replied “Ten dollars says they will.” Upon agreeing to the bet he said how will you prove they did not read it. Thus I win. I explained that I would put in a page at after page 500 or so in large font type explaining that “A critical digram, much to large to include, is needed for your review. Please call Rich at ext 4567.” He agreed and I typed out the page and stuck it in the report and sent it to printing. As luck would have it I was sick for the day of the review of the document. My supervisor took my place and the document was approved by the Technical Committee. When I got back to work a few days later, I asked about the report, and was informed it was approved. There, in the approved document was my statement requesting that the reviewers call me concerning the need to also look at the drawing on my desk – NO ONE had called me.

  21. I really can’t find anything new here in the over all presentation that those who have been paying attention have not known for years.

  22. Donna has done a lot of good work on the misbehavior of those pushing the climate consensus for many years.
    Glad to see she is still at it.

    • As others have mentioned, the AFP article referred to has nothing to do with “climate consensus”, climate science, or even peer review. All that stuff has just been (rather loosely) interpolated in by the author of the above post. Yet you seem to have read it as a blow against the ‘misbehavior’ of climate scientists. I guess if the article’s intention was to confuse then it has succeeded.

  23. “…because many papers address predictions and models for which it is impossible to test the paper’s conclusions against objective evidence.”

    Perhaps the objective evidence is the number of different models required, all modeling the same process, yet so numerous and disparate in resulting ‘projections, differing so much from each other that they must be used in an averaged, aggregate ‘ensemble’ .

    That is the objective evidence and the test which implies they are not as yet trustworthy models of the real processes producing modern and future measurements.

  24. Not to mention the “grand” largess of the past 10 years focused almost exclusively on the ephemeral “human signat”. When you tie a post grad’s or “scientist’s reputation and funding to a desired result, whala -you get what you are looking for, and paid for. Any contra research is dismissed as corrupt. Billions open billions paid to keep the AGW machine humming and greased.

  25. Oh my —- the AFP piece is a Fake News Story. There is no news in it….AFP did publish something. There is no evidence that there was an interview of John PA Ioannidis — except that AFP “quotes” Ioannidis but the statements are repeats of previous statements in published papers. There is no statement in the much-flogged AFP article that says an interview took place — or who did it, or where, or when.
    The article is simply a review of previous work by Ioanidis — and hits his highlight papers from the last few years.
    His most recent paper is:
    “A manifesto for reproducible science” by Munafò1, et al. and John P. A. Ioannidis — January 2017 — DOI: 10.1038/s41562-016-0021
    The subject of peer review is covered in this paper.
    If AFP actually interviewed him afresh, they certainly fail to tell us what questions they asked that resulted in the quotes.
    Readers might like this paper by JPAI:
    “Hijacked evidence-based medicine: stay the course and throw the pirates overboard”
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.02.001

    A list of all JPAI’s papers is at Google Scholar (warning:ore than 800)

      • Nick ==> My main interest is the journalism part of “science journalism” — AFP “quotes” JPAI using: “said John Ioannidis” ; ” he says”; “Ioannidis said.”; ” professor Ioannidis added”; etc. It is very clever use of language if they didn’t interview him….but AFP never says explictly that these quotes come from a live interview.

        Nasty little piece of news “spontaneous generation” — news derived from an event that didn’t take place.

        Ioannidis did say all those things in his various papers — which are very good by the way. If you haven’t read them, you should. I wrote about two of his studies at

    • But we end up with “blew the lid off the trustworthiness of the peer-review process”, and post after post agreeing because of bias confirmation in their narrow idealogical delusion. This sort of echo-chamber garbage is appalling and needs to be thouroughly condemned.

      Shame on Watts for using his platform to white-ant trust in the scientific method like this – the very thing he accuses climate scientists of doing.
      Disgraceful hypocrisy.

      • See here’s the thing, and there’s really no way of getting around this. I don’t give one damn what you think. Especially when you comment under a screen name.

        If you want to shame me, put your name to your words. Otherwise it’s just noise.

      • One constant with z and the other trolls. They are completely incapable of recognizing the logs in their own eyes.

        Once again, Z declares that those who disagree with him are all guilty of confirmation bias. Then he declares that only scientists that agree with him should be considered scientists.

        He calls this place an echo chamber, despite the fact that he and the other trolls are freely allowed to participate and even invite others to join in if they so choose.

        On the other hand, those places typically listed as not being echo chambers are sites that routinely ban anyone who disagrees with the host.

        PS: I love the way Z declares that exposing the dirty little secrets of climate science is bad for the scientific method.
        On the other hand, absolutely ignoring the scientific method as he and his routinely do is apparently good for the scientific method.
        Perhaps they believe that if the scientific method is over used, it will wear out.

          • Nice to meet you, I’m shocked though. Many of your posts don’t appear to be written by someone of your age. I was sure you were in your 20’s based on the rhetoric and frequency with which you employ ad hominem. I’m glad you are here regardless of our differences on the topic.
            Mark has a very good point about transparency and freedom in this site. Comments only get snipped when they are egregiously offensive, unlike pro warming sites who don’t dare let facts from commenters persuade the faithful

      • zazove ==> My — another “angry ‘tweenage troll” makes his appearance, apparently fails to read any of the material relevant to the topic, and slings monkey-poo at people due to his own misunderstandings.

        Come back after you’ve read the pertinent Ioannidis papers. Use a dictionary, they contain big words.

        Read my 2016 piece on Ioanndis’ research at:

        If you have any questions after doing your homework, I’ll be glad to answer them.

        • My – how adult.

          Either intentionally or through misapprehension you ignore my point. Which is Watts’ pattern of treating the scientific process: “blew the lid off the trustworthiness”, merely as collateral damage in his mission to monger doubt.

          It needs to be pointed out for what it is: white-anting science for political ends. In other words anti-science.

          • zazove ==> Still didn’t do your homework….if you had, you’d realize that the “doubt” is the results of the “science on science” being done by Ioannidis (and many others in the field of Meta-Science). The “doubt” raised by Ioannidis and others is very much mainstream science, very much in the mainstream science news, and pervasive across fields of science.
            This movement, which is revealed in what is being called the “replication crisis” or “crisis in science” has been surfacing for several years: see this in Nature from 2016:
            If you are not aware of this crisis, you haven’t been keeping up on your journal reading.
            A list of studies on the topic is available at the end of this Wiki page:

            Do try to keep up — when someone is referencing mainstream science, it makes you look foolish to accuse them of “mongering doubt”.

  26. I noticed in the replies to the CFACT article someone quoted Discovery magazine who in their reply to someone else cited Skeptical Science as a reputable source. I didn’t bother reading after that point.

  27. The game where publishing scientists want to be published in the most prestigious, “high impact” journals = Hollywood = the Kardashians

  28. One of my dear former colleagues wrote an engineering textbook a few years ago. He sent the pre-pub draft to several “experts” in the same field. Got back trivial comments. After publication, I spoke with one of the reviewers. He said that he and at least one other, found big mistakes but didn’t mention so, as they didn’t want to embarrass my friend. So much for peer review!

  29. Michael Nielsen, a leading quantum computing researcher wrote an article on his blog in 2009 on “Peer Review;”

    Three myths about scientific peer review.

    And did you know that Albert Einstein published more than 300 papers and articles but as far as is known only one of those papers were ever peer reviewed.

    And Einstein when he found out that the editor had sent that paper on to another scientist for peer review objected in very strong terms to his doing so.

    • Likewise Darwin’s ‘origin of species’ was published in book form and never formally peer reviewed. A good idea doesn’t need to be peer reviewed to still be a good idea. The thing is, the AFP article has nothing to do with peer review.

    • So-called peer review is all about professionals donating free time to publishers, for reasons best known to them, to improve the profit of the publishing companies. Without the volunteers, the publishers would have to hire more editors, or take a chance with submissions by unknowns. It isn’t so much about improving the quality of research papers as it is about assuring the profitability of publishers of research.

    • Incidentally, for what it is worth, I think that the link provided by ROM, above, is well worth reading.

  30. Because peer review can be corrupted does not mean the process is bad. Because a review is corrupted, does not mean the results are actually wrong. Review by pals does not mean the advice was incompetent, it just means you know the reviewer who has agreed to help you. Help is not corruption. Science runs in fads, so to change direction in a big way takes more evidence. Science overall seems to work best with itsy bitsy, incremental changes, but those are not always warranted. The most common problem is just overgeneralization from undersampling so the conclusions are not fully supported by the data.

    • to change direction in a big way takes more evidence

      The change, in climate sciences, to worshipping climate models, and catastrophe predictions took no evidence at all. There’s never been any evidence of CO2-induced catastrophe.

  31. The Pons and Fleischmann debacle tells us all we need to know about the peer review process. The argument of the peer reviewers was that since THEY couldn’t replicate the results the findings must have been invalid.

    That’s like saying that because I can’t run a 4-minute mile, it must be impossible for anyone else to do so. Argument from ineptitude, proves nothing.

    There was also a strong element of confirmation bias since the textbooks say that the process in question only occurs at high temperatures. The same could definitely apply to climate science, where the confirmation bias is in the direction of proving anthropogenic warming.

    When examined in more detail it was found that the peer reviewers were not bothering to accurately follow the instructions. When the instructions were followed, the experiment worked.

  32. This is my biggest problem with climate science.

    As we know from Ioannidis, RetractionWatch, the replication project and just normal science. a large proportion of published papers are somewhere between wrong and fraudulent. A large percentage have basic errors that, when corrected, change the conclusion.

    This is across all science. not just the softer stuff like sociology and psychology.

    Yet every single paper in climate science is right. Not a single one has an error. Not a single one is fraudulent. Not a single one is retracted. That simply cannot be right. So Alarmists, retract, correct, condemn for fraud, admit the error, in say 50% of everything that has been published, because otherwise YOU are denying the science.

  33. Whenever I hear “peer reviewed,” I involuntarily burst out into unstoppable laughter. I don’t allow myself the luxury of sipping a coffee when reading WUWT.

  34. Back in the stone age when I studied modern science in the university, peer review wasn’t even mentioned as part of the scientific method. So how did this practice not even mentioned become the gold standard by which science is measured?

    There was, and is, the “publish or perish” aspect of academia. In the rush to get published, often short cuts are made. For example, one subject with which I’m familiar, there is a methodological consensus that is over 200 years old—but in my experience often leads to some rather flaky results. Using that methodology, a professor can crank out papers in months to a couple years, a book maybe in two to five years, accompanied by a list of citations. The careful research that refutes those papers takes decades. Rare is the researcher in that field who has mastered the source material well enough to do that original research.

    The late Thomas Gold in his essay “The inertia of scientific thought” mentions peer review as a major impediment to science.

    Then there’s the problem of perverting peer review to pal review to push an agenda.

    I suspect that peer review and publishing are being pushed precisely to push an agenda, first in one field, which then bled over into other fields. Would not science be better served if fewer papers were written and published, but based on better research?

  35. Recommend HIGHLY, a juicy book on all of the errors and bad research design, mistakes, sloppiness, ‘contamination of cell lines, UNWILLINGNESS to THINK or challenge what they do; and LACK of ‘reproducibility’ in most ALL of science/medical research today. See ‘RIGOR MORTIS’, John Ioannidis is featured in a few places. Just seeing how rigid entrenched thinking is, even being faced with bald truth. Thousands of poor studies all aid in wasting funds and misdirecting other research. I might just buy my own copy to keep!

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