Scientific sting operation shows how fake science garbage gets published in peer-reviewed journals

Long-time WUWT reader “Latitude” writes:

Academic journals are caught up in massive hoax involving 20 FAKE papers on ‘dog rape culture’, ‘a conceptual penis’ and re-printing a version of MEIN KAMPF

Their aim was to expose how ‘absurdities’ get published in legitimate peer-reviewed academic papers due to a lack of critical review.

In total the team of three researchers wrote 20 hoax papers on a field of study loosely defined as ‘grievance studies’.

These papers – seven of which were accepted and four published online – were based on just ‘nutty or inhumane’ ideas that they ran with.

The authors claim their prank shows that higher education’s fixation with identity politics has created ‘absurd and horrific’ scholarship, according to an in-depth piece by Wall Street Journal.

They even associated male anatomy with climate change.

BTW, this excellent post in 2016 was prescient:

Science Is In Deep Trouble, New Paper Shows


And just this year, there was another expose’

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

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.


173 thoughts on “Scientific sting operation shows how fake science garbage gets published in peer-reviewed journals

  1. Is anyone really surprised? This has been going on in climate science since the inception of the IPCC.

    The only thing that surprised me was that it was researchers pretty far to the left that demonstrated it. Perhaps climate science needs a noted left winger to reject the IPCC and its self serving consensus based on the same kinds of arguments.

      • The problem with “small sciences” is you’ve probable slept with your peer…..

        …and climate science is a small science

      • Nick – the question is NOT about, nor is it specific to climate. As I understand it the issue is the honesty and effectiveness of the so-called ‘peer reviewed’ publications. Is there any meaningful increase in confidence by publishing in one of these journals vs publishing the same paper in the National Inquirer!

      • Nick,
        You’re ignoring context in order to contrive support for your viewpoint. Although, to accept the bogus claims of the IPCC, you need to ignore an awful lot of context, the data and a few LAWS of physics.

          • The context is that climate science has nothing to do with science either. You’re a follower of this blog and should already know this. Feel free to dispute, but you will need to show how actual physics applies to the climate in order to make any kind of convincing case.

            First, try explaining the origin of the 3.3 W/m^2 in excess of each W/m^2 of forcing necessary to support a nominal ECS of 0.8C per W/m^2 of forcing (4.3 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing).

            If you don’t think that SB applies and that an increase in the average temperature from 288K to 288.8K will not increase average surface emissions by 4.3 W/m^2, show your work. If you don’t think that in LTE, the surface must be receiving the same as it’s emitting, explain how this can be the case and explain how Trenberth says otherwise in his energy balance diagram. If you don’t agree that 3.3 W/m^2 is more than 3x larger than the forcing claimed to cause it, show your work. If you think that the next W/m^2 can increase surface emissions by 4.3 W/m^2. while the average of all other W/m^2 results in only 1.6 W/m^2, explain how the next Joule can be so much more powerful at warming the surface than any other. If each Joule was as powerful as the next one is claimed to be, the surface temperature would be close to the boiling point of water, so explain why this isn’t the case.

            I’ve only scratched the surface of the many issues with what you and others have been coerced into believing is supportable science.

          • “The context is that climate science has nothing to do with science either.”
            That is just your belief, not the context. This article offers nothing to support it. It says that some nonsense papers got into some nonsense journals that have nothing to do with climate- or any other- science journals.

          • By not answering my challenge to show me the science, you’re not helping your cause. Ignoring and/or silently denying my claim that science no longer applies to ‘consensus’ climate science isn’t sufficient .

            Show me some logic, show me some physics, show me something tangible to dispute my point. Citing models that have never been right, tenuous trends tortured from sparse and highly adjusted data or appealing to an authority that itself is the subject of dispute is not going to work. You may be able to fool yourself, but you can’t fool me.

            Once more, where are all the W/m^2 required to offset the claimed increase in surface emissions due to 1 W/m^2 of forcing coming from?

          • Nick

            I think the context is that irrespective of the quality of the journals, nonsense studies can be flouted as peer reviewed and used as ‘credible’ evidence to support a position.

            When a study is presented as peer reviewed it’s rarely asked who it was reviewed by, especially by the left wing media desperate for a story.

          • Nck – What is the context? They submitted nonsense papers to nonsense journals, and some got accepted. This has nothing to do with science.

            I think it speaks to the problems peer review can have within an insular community. Many point to peer review as if it has some near magical property to ensure that science is solid. The popular idea is that the best most localized experts will police themselves (hopefully without input from outside the field) and ensure truth, beauty and even better unquestionable knowledge over time.

            What makes science strong is the ability to predict and test against outcomes. Robust testing, coupled with peer review is a hallmark of science. Peer review without testing (or full of ad hoc after the fact explanations) is just a cargo cult endeavor.

      • Nick you always take the opposite viewpoint to us skeptics. Consider this. In 2015 the editor of Lancet said 50% of medical papers that were submitted (all peer reviewed) to Lancet; proved to have un replicable results with the reason being that fraud was a big reason.

      • Gee Nick, that sure sounds like Climate Science to me…. LOL

        Don’t lead with your chin, mate.

      • Yes, remarkably, in all of the sciences, only climate science is totally 100% immune for the replication crisis, pal review, monied interests, etc.

        But not a cult. No, not a cult at all.

    • The sting has _nothing_ to do with climate science, or even science in general. If you bothered to read the reports, you would know that it is a swipe at feminist ‘studies’ which are explicitly non-scientific (rather, they are based mainly on anecdotal reports).

      You do the climate change community no favor by ranting in a way that seems to equate an attack on non-scientific journals with journals that report hypotheses based on “hard” empirical evidence. (disagree with that evidence if you will, provide you own your own sensors).

      • Chris, directly no, in practice it shows how evil the landscape of journals is. The high-impact journals are of course having a peer review but it doesn’t secure them from frauds being published. Pure fiction as hermeneutics of quantum gravity get published every time somebody seriously tries.

        Srry for possible covfefe.

  2. ==========

    Is Tamino dishonest?

    Tamino doesn’t want me to participate in the discussion about slowdowns.

    He won’t publish my comment on his website.

    Luckily I have my own website, where I can say whatever I like.

    Here is the comment which Tamino didn’t want people to see.

      • Such things must have been prevalent in Georges time as well. He wrote so eloquently on the subject that it must have been first hand experience.

        • Yes, one of his essays in ‘Decline of the English Murder’ describes an increasing culture of censoriousness and blinkered political idiocy in the UK during the 1930’s that is strikingly similar to today.

      • “Open Mind” by Grant Foster, is a real joke, as his mind’s firmly closed. A real echo chamber too. I did visit a few times & the patronising nature of the clowns who inhabit it, pushed me firmly into the skeptic camp!

      • “George Orwell is rolling in his grave”

        Hell, Mark, he’s spinning. If you could figure out how to hook up a dynamo to him, you could power Cleveland.

        • Good point.

          But I think you’d get better juice from a dynamo hooked up to a Democrat who switches between love and support for the FBI when Trump attacks it, and attacking it when its doing its job.

          Or, for that matter, supporting the Electoral College because its a bulwark against populists like Trump who will say anything to get elected and win the popular vote (which TOTALLY doesn’t matter), and wanting to get rid of it because Hillary lost.

    • Tamino apparently bans anyone who doesn’t agree with him. This post
      over at his “Open Mind” blog was critical of a graph I posted here at WattsUpWitthThat. Anyone who follows the link will see that my response is not there. Not that I didn’t make one, I tried several times to post, but it just didn’t appear. I assume he banned me, but he’s not decent enough to say so.

    • It appears that most consensus climate blogs suffer from an advanced stage of confirmation bias. Their first reactions to criticism is censorship. That just shows their positions are based on belief rather that ratiocination. I first noticed this around 12 or 13 years ago at Real Climate which eventually led me to Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit and later here.

  3. In addition to fake science, science writers add to the problem by stating that partially proven theories are fact. It is evident in physics, cosmology and even in medical research, though there, not so much. All in all science is, and has been taking on the chin. Follow the money. If it isn’t sensational and doesn’t fit consensus science it doesn’t sell or get grants.

    • Odd, since

      1/. There are no proven theories. Only ones that haven’t been disproven (but could be) yet..,

      2/. Ergo, no scientific theory is a fact. Facts are what you use to test theories with. There is no such thing as ‘scientific fact’.

      Good scientists who understand science understand the above. So if someone tries to talk about ‘scientific fact’ or ‘theories being proven’, you know you are in the presence of a third rate mind.

      Someone who has learnt science as if it were fact, but never got to the end of it, to understand that it is not.

      • stop.
        i do science all day long and prove stuff.
        that’s what science is all about.
        science is the systematic discovery of truth (which requires proofs)
        if you don’t prove anything with your work, what’s the point of it?

        • Gnomish shows his ignorance of science. Science “proves” nothing. If you want to “prove” something you need to do mathematics. Science can falsify things, but science never, never, never ever “proves” anything.

          [?? .mod]

        • Remy Mermelstein October 4, 2018 at 3:07 pm

          Yes, science doesn’t do “proof” in the mathematical sense.

          However, it does do confirmation, which scientists often colloquially call “proof”.

          While science can’t “prove” that Earth goes around the Sun, repeated observations confirm that this is indeed the case.

          The scientific method relies upon “falsification”, ie showing that a prediction made upon the basis of an hypothesis has been shown false. No amount of confirmation of such predictions can be cited as “proof”, but with each confirmation, the hypothesis becomes better supported.

          The hypothesis of man-made global warming has been repeatedly falsified. Indeed, the scheme was born falsified.

          • Thank you Tillman, you have affirmed the fact that science does not, and cannot prove anything true.

          • PS Tillman, if as you say, AGW has been “falsified” then could you please explain to me why a majority of scientists accept it as a working hypothesis to this day?

          • Remy,

            I agree. Which is why “climate science” isn’t science. It not only cannot “prove” anything true, but it’s basic assumptions are easily shown false. Hence, consensus climate science not only isn’t science, but is at best unscientific and more correctly anti-scientific.

            AGW was born falsified. And its early 20th century proponents, such as Arrhenius and Callendar, considered it beneficial, which of course more plant food in the air indubitably is.

          • “prediction made upon the basis of an hypothesis”
            a hypothesis is an open question being tested. it’s not an answer to anything.

            are you typing comments on this blog? can that be proven?

            proving the existence of an entity or relationship between or among entities is done all the time by perfectly normal people. lamers who dish up excuses for epistemological failure only define themselves and project their incapacity on others.

            mathematics is proven by means of logic.
            do you suppose logic only applies to numbers?

            if something is true then it can be proven.
            if it cannot be proven then it is false.

            all logical contradictions are false.
            you have accepted the truth of that for use in proving something can not be.
            what’s your problem with knowing what is?

            truth – of you can not define it then you can’t honestly claim to know what it is.
            proof – define it or you can not claim credit for knowing what it is.
            indeed- how can you claim to know anything at all?

          • Remy Mermelstein October 4, 2018 at 8:28 pm

            It’s unclear whether a majority of scientists accept AGW as valid today. There has never been a survey of all scientists on that issue. But even had there been, it would be meaningless, since observations of nature have shown the hypothesis false.

            Falser yet is the hypothesis that man-made global warming, were it to exist, which it manifestly doesn’t, is dangerous, catastrophic or in any way bad. So far, all evidence from physical reality shows that more CO2 in the air is a good thing.

          • ROTLFMAO @ gnomish

            “if something is true then it can be proven.
            if it cannot be proven then it is false.”

            You flunk logic 101
            Prove that the only place intelligence exists in the entire universe is on our planet Earth”




          • Tillman: ” since observations of nature have shown the hypothesis false.”


            Rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 is strongly correlated with rising global temperatures. I admit correlation is not causation, but the existence of the correlation shows that the hypothesis of AGW might be true. Or in other words, the hypothesis of AGW has yet to be falsified.

          • Remy Mermelstein October 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm

            Wrong, yet again, as usual.

            There is no correlation between rising CO2 and rising global average T, in so far as such a thing can be measured.

            From 1945 to 1977, GASTA fell dramatically, despite steadily rising CO2. Then, for about 20 years, GASTA rose slightly and insignificantly coincident with increasing CO2. Then, for another approximately 20 years, rising CO2 was associated with flat GASTA. Then again, since the peak of the 2016 super El Nino GASTA has cooled pronouncedly, again in spite of still rising CO2.

            Hence, there is no correlation between more plant food in the air and warmer T on Earth.

          • Tillman: ‘the hypothesis that man-made global warming, were it to exist, which it manifestly doesn’t, is dangerous, catastrophic or in any way bad”

            Science does not define “bad.” The term “catastrophic” is not a part of the AGW hypothesis. Likewise for “dangerous.” All these terms are strawmen built by AGW-rejectionists, and have no real existence in the realm of science.

          • Remy Mermelstein October 4, 2018 at 8:53 pm

            As always, you could not possibly be more wrong.

            If there are no negative consequences from imaginary AGW, then what is the problem, and why should we scrap industrial economies in order to ameliorate supposed bad things from more plant food in the air?

            Secondly, what are we to make of Obama’s “dangerous” label to man-made “climate change”? What are we to make of Hansen’s and his acolyte’s warnings of the “Venus Express” warnings of runaway “climate change”?

            Finally, Remy, why are you worried about “climate change” if it presents no danger whatsoever, but is simply the greening of the Earth thanks to more plant food in the air?


          • Tillman, science cannot tell us if something is “good” or if something is “bad.” That is outside the domain of science.

            Secondly, you’d best not describe CO2 as “food.”

            If you contend that CO2 is “plant food”, then you must also admit that “H2O” is human food.

            The only “food” a plant consumes is sunlight which provides the plant with energy. Likewise for humans, glucose is “food.” CO2 does not provide a plant with energy, in the same way that H2O does not provide a human with energy.

            Is H2O also “plant food?” Have you ever seen what happens in the desert when it gets hit with an large amount of rainfall?

          • Remy Mermelstein October 4, 2018 at 9:13 pm

            Plants make glucose, their food, from water and CO2, with sunlight providing the energy to transfer hydrogen ions, ie protons, from the water to the CO2.

            The fact is that more carbon dioxide in the air means more sugar in plants.

            Hence, more CO2 means more plant food.

            To deny this fact is to deny reality, ie to be insane.

          • Remy,

            Without doubt, water is food to humans.

            I’d never wish even my worst enemy to try to survive without water. Equally bad would be for a plant to try to survive without water or carbon dioxide.

            Your comments make no sense at all.

          • As always, Remy hides behind verbal tricks.
            Just because the word catastrophic can’t be found in the small number of papers that he has read, he concludes that nobody on the climate warming side has ever used the word.

            Despite hundreds of press clipping of both climate scientists and other warmist leaders using that exact word, and many like it.

        • “Rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 is strongly correlated with rising global temperatures.”

          The above statement is as false as any other statement that alarmists make.

          • Pick a point in the past. Note CO2 levels and temperature levels. Now note CO2 levels and temperature levels today.
            Draw a straight line for both sets of points.

            This is the level of mental maturity that Remy consistently shows.

            The mere fact that temperatures have gone up, down, and sideways while CO2 was going up, doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the slope of his cherry picked lines goes the way he wants them to.

      • “Someone who has learnt science as if it were fact, but never got to the end of it, to understand that it is not.”

        I think you touch upon a major failing in education. I failed to escape that mindset until long after my undergraduate-science days. Of course that may be due to my own personal inadequacies, but, once recognized, it becomes glaringly obvious in so many others. I think science education could benefit enormously from extra short courses on such topics as falsifiability and statistical probability (as applied to testable hypotheses).

      • Leo,
        Not necessarily true. Some physical relationships are regarded as laws, which means that if you think you’re seeing behavior that’s inconsistent with a law of physics, there must be a deeper, more fundamental law in effect, or you’re misinterpreting the results.

        Newtons Law of gravity is still a law, even though General Relativity describes gravity in a much more comprehensive manner. Conservation of Energy is another. The Stefan-Boltzmann Law and Planck’s Law of radiation are others.

        Planck’s Law would seem to be violated by spectral absorption, except that more fundamental laws of Quantum Mechanics explain how absorption affects energy passing through a gas and the actual source is still emitting a Planck spectrum which is modified subsequent to emission. Note that there are no explained examples of behavior violating the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. Even so, IPCC climate science detaches dT/dP (the ECS), from the SB Law relating power (P) to temperature (T), in order to hide the otherwise obvious violation of SB relative to the claimed ECS.

        • To the extent the laws of physics are expressed in math, they can be proven mathematically but within a certainty limit that can be expressed statistically. Newton’s law is true within a certain speed limit. General relativity is true for a greater speed limit. The Uncertainty Principle is a limit on physical certainty. The “gold standard” for empirical evidence is 5-sigma statistical significance. Unlike math there is no absolute proof in science. There is always room for empirical error or uncertainty imposed by the Uncertainty Principle.

      • Leo,

        Gravity is a proven theory, up close, not so much at millions or billions of light years. See mond or scale invariance research being done. If you don’t believe in gravity theory, up close, just step off your roof and experience 32ft/sec2. Do you believe in dark matter theory? No one has found any but it is blamed for unexplained gravitational effects.

    • science builds on science….the problem starts with something passes peer….people grab it and build on it

      science has now defined peer review as settled science

      peer is throw it out there against the wall and see if it sticks………basically advanced spell check…the once it’s out there other people have access to it to try and tear it apart

      One of the most cited papers in marine pathobiology is pure fake….

        • To make it clear to the casual browsers:

          Publish or perish is a university requirement imposed upon their professors. If you’re not publishing, the university doesn’t want you (i.e. perish). Hence any junk will do as long as it gets published; and happily, any junk will get published.

          • Once you have a tenured position like a chair , it does not matter. Publish or perish is about whether you get that far.

          • True, Greg Cavanagh, but the Universities love money much more. If you are pulling in the big dosh, you get tenure. Only at a few places like Harvard do you also need to be Nobel-quality intellect. Money is usually enough, and even at Harvard I suspect simply enormous amounts of money is all that is required.

    • The level of proof needed is adjusted for each case. Many side effects of drugs are denied because they are not “significant”. They are significant, but failed to reach “statistical significance” in many studies (probably designed not to). This is how the “hep B vaccines doesn’t cause MS” h0ax was produced.

      Another hoax is “studies of very low level of radiation give results compatible with a linear risk”.

      It’s just a cult, like EURATOM. You have to be brain dead to be in it. (UK’s main proponent of Brexit outside UKIP seems to be a EURATOM fan, which means even their establishment Brexiters are brainwashed by EU.)

      Bodies representing heath professionals are totally pro-EURATOM and anti-EURATOMexit. Because countries outside the EU can’t get technetium in regular supply, apparently.

    • Hello, “JimG1!;
      “In addition to fake science”, please add “medical research”.
      According to one source, ~75% of all “medical studies” are paid for by pharmaceutical companies, which have a huge potential monetary gain as motivation to produce ‘satisfactory’ results.
      “Follow the money”; Indeed!
      Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

    • Consider how “scary scenario” climate studies based on models and RCP8.5 are used in an attempt to sway public opinion, though they do nothing to advance the science.

    • Why do you always accuse JURIES? There is no JUDGE in your world?

      Why would you give ANY power to a judge who is patently unqualified? It goes without saying, judges have zero scientific qualification. Granted, the scientific process works exactly like the judicial process, but academics love to pretend it doesn’t. (It would hurt their pretense of superiority if they admitted that. They want to be regarded as semi-gods.)

      And nobody dares to contradicts academics.

      So judges cannot apply their implicit understand of the scientific process, because they don’t know they possess it.

  4. The one journal named by the Mail is Gender, Place and Culture. The Aims and scope of this journal begins with:

    The aim of Gender, Place and Culture is to provide a forum for debate in human geography and related disciplines on theoretically-informed research concerned with gender issues. It also seeks to highlight the significance of such research for feminism and women’s studies.

    This may explain how they were fooled.

    A) It is especially “theoretically-informed” rather than informed by observations of reality.
    B) It seeks to highlight “the significance of such research” rather than “the significance of such research or otherwise”. Prejudging the questions is unwise.

    • No, the Mail mentioned others:
      “Gender, Place & Culture”
      “Cogent Social Sciences”
      “Fat Studies”
      “Journal of Poetry Therapy”
      This may have been a sting operation, but it wasn’t a “scientific sting operation”.

      • Good point. I didn’t read the Mail too closely as I was in a public place and was trying to limit contact with websites of a dubious nature.

        Why do you think that peer review in hard science is different to peer review in the social sciences? Surely they both share the same systems in academia?

        If anything, one would expect the social sciences to be better at avoiding a decline in standards than the hard sciences. It is, after all, what the social sciences are specialising in avoiding.

        • Medicine will fail many reviews because many studies are simply observations they are not based on real science at all, they openly ignore correlation does not equal causation. They have an endemic problem with biased trials and selective publications to get outcomes which are best dubious. They are racing towards the abyss with climate sciences probably in the race to try and catch them up.

  5. My favorite Ioannidis quote:

    Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. link

    That’s clearly the case with climate science. Anyone who claims anything to do with consensus has to deal with Ioannidis’ evidence that published research findings are likely to cleave to the prevailing bias.

  6. >>
    When only a third of peer-reviewed studies reach the same results when they are replicated by outside authors, this is a serious problem.

    Being able to replicate one-third of the results is surprising. I thought it was much lower. Indeed, many results are never tested or replicated by others. It’s worse than a serious problem. It undermines science generally. We really don’t know what we know.


    • Reliable scientific findings become engineering.

      I have no problem with science barking up the wrong tree. We benefit hugely when science finally gets things right.

      What I do have a problem with is scientists who lack the humility to admit that they’re probably wrong. Some scientists are deeply offended that we don’t listen to their prescriptions on how to run the world. Some people, policy makers included, listen to those scientists and believe them. Those deluded scientists and their enablers should be re-educated, with a clue stick if necessary.

  7. Check out Rutgers snow lab.
    The result for the N American September snow cover anomalies is in. This year’s September has seen the highest snow extent ever recorded for September since the record began in 1967.
    lts going to be interesting to watch fake science try and turn that into a study about how global warming is making “snow a thing of the past”. 🙂

  8. If I were a serious researcher in one of these fields of science I would be very worried that the concept of ‘scientist’ is increadingly seen as being in the same category as ‘quack’.

    For those in ‘climate research’ it is already too late.

    • The standard of use for papers just becomes the scientists involved, and does not involve the reputation of the journal.

    • That has already happened there is large sections of the hard sciences that are already alarmed. Many are equally alarmed by politics creeping into the Nobel prize. Donna Strickland was a grad student for the work she received her award (there are only a handful that hold the status and there discoveries were massive). In a funny commentary wikipedia had rejected a page on her before the award as not being important enough.

      Is she a worthy winner or just happened to tick the right boxes depends on how you view her work. At the end of the day the Nobel board selects the winners and whether the award holds it’s prestige lies in their future decisions.

  9. Peer review is designed for honest people to catch the mistakes of honest people and review a paper for its readability and properly addressing a research investigative process. It is not designed to police fraud.

    • A well received study of the shape and symmetry of leafs had an order of magnitude error in the size of the leafs.

    • There is no such thing as peer review now. Real peer review would involve outside disinterested parties to review the papers. That does not happen. In climate science, if a paper is anti global warming the journal has alarmists who review it and reject it. If the paper is for global warming these same alarmists automatically accept the paper.

  10. “legitimate peer-reviewed academic papers”
    I presume that means legitimate journals. But are they? The journals mentioned are
    “Gender, Place & Culture”
    “Cogent Social Sciences”
    “Fat Studies”
    “Journal of Poetry Therapy”
    This is getting a bit tired. Yes, there are dubious journals, that will publish anything at a price. We knew that. Yet another ‘sting’ operation is hardly needed to make the point. And it doesn’t say anything about regular scientific publishing.

    • Nick S,

      I suspect the implication is that “regular scientific publishing” could be headed down the same road. If the concept of “peer review” can be twisted in one domain, then seemingly this makes the concept more susceptible to being twisted in another domain.

      .. just a thought.

    • OK these may be remote and “out there”… but does tax payer money flow into these fields, and these journals?

      Do “real”, approved, state-sanctioned “universities” (*) “invest” in those fields?

      (*) unlike unapproved, “fake” “Trump University”

    • Nick, John Ioannidis has been looking into this for years and has found the problem in every field. Given that, your insistence that it wouldn’t be happening as well in climate science is just silly.

      Go to and see what is going on. If a respected cancer researcher can get 20 years worth of papers retracted because he never actually did the experiments, how bad might it be in places where pal review is common.

      I’m just saying “open your eyes”.

      • ” Given that, your insistence that it wouldn’t be happening as well in climate science is just silly.”
        This is classic confirmation bias. We just know that this is happening in climate science. How? Well, just look! There is the Journal of Poetry Therapy, publishing a junk paper. And Fat Studies too.

        Not quite climate science, you say? But how can you doubt it? There is so much of it! The evidence against climate science just continues to mount.

        • “Climate science” has founded itself on peer-review consensus instead of modern scientific methods. The consequences are equally inevitable and devastating irrespective of the field of study.

        • From Phil Jones To: Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University). July 8, 2004
          “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

          Nothing to see here folks, move along. LOL.

          Nick, do you consider the pay-for-play journal that published the BEST paper to be a legitimate journal? Their parent company is under criminal investigation.

    • Peer review and propriety publishing are dying out. Open web based publishing and public review by any and all interested parties should (and I believe will) eventually become the new science standard. Because it will be less corruptable, and more effective, more science will be advanced more quickly, and really dumb ideas will die more quickly, too. Research institutions will hate it, because it exposes more bullshit to the light of day, that they might prefer never be exposed. But they will adjust. Fewer jobs in editing and printing will be available, as those functions add very little value, anymore.

  11. Am I the only one who is no longer able to view large segments of graphics on the Watts Up With That? pages?
    As just one example, presumably there is something to go in the large blank space after ‘Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals’ and six inches farther down the page where it says “And just this year, there was another expose'”

  12. Regarding Peer revew, what about the skeptics starting one of their own. In a way WUWT is a sort of peer revewed journal, electronic, but if we had a printed one, possible crowd funded, and made sure that it was run properly, then after a while it would be trusted as the one to go too.

  13. IMHO, no important scientific study should be published unless it has been independently replicated first. I worked most of my career in labs where it was SOP to replicate tests and experiments to verify reproducibility before publishing results. In one case we had a substantial government contract that allowed our lab to build very expensive equipment in order to replicate a national lab’s procedures and verify their results. The issue involved a potential regulatory program where the need for a reliable measurement procedure was recognized as essential to both the regulator and industry to be regulated.

    I also was involved in high energy physics for a while. While independent replication (e.g. CERN vs. FERMI measurements of subatomic particles) was often not possible, repeatability was always necessary with very high confidence limit standards.

    I don’t care who publishes what peer reviewed paper. If it has not been independently replicated – preferably more than once – I don’t accept it as credible.

  14. This is old news and proves nothing.

    Fake papers get published in predatory journals. These are journals exclusively on internet set up as a business trap that will publish anything for a fee. They claim to be peer-reviewed, but they are not. If the author proposes referees the article gets sent to them. If not someone from the company without any knowledge will fake the review. Other predatory journals won’t even bother faking reviews. Publishing on internet costs near nothing, and the authors get charged, that’s the business. Some authors don’t know they are dealing with a predatory journal and it usually means killing the article and the work behind, as most scientists will never cite a predatory journal in their articles properly reviewed and published.

    We live in internet times. Fake journals for fake non-publishable articles. This study proves nothing. Nearly everybody in science knows about predatory journals and avoid them.

    • These are not fake journals. Some of them are premier journals in their fields. All of them are peer reviewed. In some cases the journal editor egged hoaxers on to be more extreme. They are all journals run from a post-modernist mindset; where every truth claim is seen as a political statement. In such a world all speech becomes politics – either for or against your viewpoint. Censorship of your opponent is a progressive act when you think your ideas are ‘progressive’. Far left epistemology has entirely collapsed under the weight of post-modernism. To them: what’s true is what they say is true. It becomes ‘true‘ when you silence your opponent because it’s then the only discourse. Paradoxical how po-mo began with liberatory claims but has now turned full circle to become a neo-Stalinist practice. Irony at last!

  15. Micheal says, “In a way WUWT is a sort of peer revewed journal”

    You have no idea what you talking about. Mockton, Tisdale, and Ball would never make it past peer review, and I’m not aware that they have ever been accepted in a real journal recently, but we see them here regularly.

      • The gate keepers make sure that no paper that disagrees with them can be published.
        And for some reason Remy is proud of it.

        • Monckton, Soon, et. al. got their paper published in the Chinese journal. There are plenty of journals that will publish your work …….for a fee.

          • As usual, Remy can’t be bothered to actually stay on topic.
            Just another pathetic attempt to change the subject.

          • ROTFLMAO, Remy. Still defending the long-corrupt/scare-mongering scientific media and the pal-review process?!? Where have you been the last 30 yrs?

    • The more important peer review done on this site is by pointing out the many flaws in published papers that were not caught by main stream climate science peer review.

      • What is done at this site is not “peer review.”

        You are clueless about real scientific review.

        What is done at this site is the publishing of news and commentary.

        Science is not done here.

        That is because the majority of real scientists don’t waste there time here.

        • Remy,
          The most important part of peer review is to try and falsify and/or contradict results. The goal is not to rubber stamp work because it fits a narrative, as has been the case since the inception of the IPCC. Climate science peer review has failed miserably when it comes to identifying errors allowing serious failures to form the foundation of their broken science upon which other errors have been compounded. I contend that most in main stream climate science are the ones who are clueless about the proper role of peer review. If proper peer review had been applied to climate science, climate alarmism would have never arisen.

          • “The most important part of peer review is to try and falsify and/or contradict results.”


            Peer review corrects errors in submitted papers, and rejects papers if they are not acceptable. They do not attempt to falsify anything. Peer review has nothing to do with the IPCC. “Climate alarmism” is not part of the actual science.

            You don’t understand what peer review is.

            And this site doesn’t even come close to “peer review. “

          • “Peer review doesn’t attempt to falsify anything.”

            I guess that explains why there is so much bad science in the climate science field.

          • No MarkW, it’s the reason “bad science” gets rejected by peer review, and eventually ends up here on this blog.

          • Poor little Remy, he can’t tolerate the fact that he doesn’t know what science is.
            So he keeps pretending that only those who are anointed by the gate keepers can be considered scientists, and unless you are one of these anointed, nothing you do is “science”.

            Nor can his precious ego tolerate the fact that people he doesn’t consider to be worthy, keep finding flaws and major holes in the so called science being done by those he worships, so he finds ever more pathetic excuses to ignore anyone who disagrees with hem.

        • Once again, Remy is making the claim that unless you are one of the people he recognizes as an expert, you can’t do science.

          Only those who get the nod of the gate keepers are permitted to do science.

          BTW, Remy dear child, you don’t have to be an “expert” to spot the many flaws in most climate science papers.

          • MarkW, the “flaws” spotted here are mere confirmation bias. Name one paper that was published that was withdrawn or retracted as a result of commentary from this blog.

          • he’s just a prune.
            and he’s stated repetitiously that it would be unscientific to try proving otherwise.

          • Fascinating. A paper must be considered proven, unless it is withdrawn.

            With every post, Remy demonstrates that his only skill is sophistry, and he’s not very good at that.

          • Remy, here’s one that comes to mind.

            A year after being clumsily removed from the web following complaints, a controversial paper about “the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science” is being retracted.

            The paper, “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation,” was authored by Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer, and Michael Marriott, and published in Frontiers in Psychology: Personality Science and Individual Differences.


            The paper was retracted because of public out cry from this and other blogs.

    • Actually, he does seem to know what he’s talking about. True, WUWT runs head posts whose conclusions Anthony Watts finds congenial even when they’re absolute rubbish (as, admittedly, the recent Christopher Monckton series was), and, independently of how rigorous they are, he rejects whose conclusions he doesn’t.

      As Boghossian et al. demonstrated, though, this is exactly like a “real journal,” .

      Both sides are slanted. Sorry, but peer review doesn’t guarantee much of anything.

      • It doesn’t work in hard sciences either, there is an impressive list of critical science papers rejected from publication because they didn’t meet the thinking of the time. Peter Higgs, Enrico Fermi and Dan Shechtman just to name a few famous ones.

        There will always be those with a bias who think they can gatekeep and get caught and and end up looking stupid.

    • Dr Ball appears at WUWT under the category Opinion?

      And why do some who post at WUWT appear to have it in for Dr Ball?

      • Possibly they don’t like fact that Ball was a climate scientist when the current crop of posers were failed dendrologists or whatever hole it was they crawled out of to slither onto the climatology bandwagon. Timothy Ball is certainly capable of publishing in peer reviewed journals (from Wikipedia: “Ball has published a number of peer-reviewed papers in the field of historical climatology, most of which pertain to reconstructing temperatures in Canada during the past several centuries.[15])”, but he presents opinion on WUWT. It is meaningless for Whisky to point out that pieces that were never intended for peer review wouldn’t pass peer review.

        • ” It is meaningless for Whisky to point out that pieces that were never intended for peer review wouldn’t pass peer review.”

          I think that sums it up very well. And it gave me a good laugh early in the morning. Thanks!

          • Peer review happens whenever individuals examine a paper or study with the intent of finding flaws in it.
            It doesn’t matter where that review happens.

          • You are correct Mark, it doesn’t matter where that review happens. Even you could write a paper that will pass review in a high school freshman class.

    • A “peer” among American academicians is only self-promotion. Doesn’t mean much to anyone else.

      Real live actual peerage is prohibited in the US by Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, of the US Constitution.

      Monckton of Brenchley, however, is an actual Peer in those countries that recognize such. Was your misspelling of his name a deliberate attempt at disrespect?

      • How about Sir Henry Kissinger relating at Rhodes he always served the Crown? How about Colin Powell, also knighted by the Crown. Take the CO2 alarmist par excellence Dr. Schellnhuber , CBE, Commander of the British Empire, dubbed in 2004 at the Berlin Embassy. Not prohibited, yet very revealing. Would Obama’s Nobel prize qualify?
        Lord Monckton is doing a tough job, but Lord Rees has gone on the quantum disaster bandwagon – see post here recently.
        Clause 8 :
        No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

        Still. the US has found ways to corruption, even if Clause 8 sought to shield. Just look at the Comey-Strzok cabal of peers trying a cold coup. Yet, again the trail leads to a foreign power, Britain with Steele’s dodgy dossier. Powell was decorated after Blair’s dodgy Iraq dossier. Sir Henry boasted serving the Crown in 4 administrations. Hmmm, maybe the founding fathers were right.

        • Yep. We’ll always have self-appointed lords and lordettes among us. Academia and politics seems to attract them, especially. But you’ll find them in schoolyards, workplaces, and jailhouses, too.

    • Who was it who stated that he would make sure that certain papers were never published, even if he had to change the definition of peer review.

      Not being able to get past the gate keeps of the climate cult is not the badge of shame that you trolls wish it to be.

  16. The article by the authors of the hoax:

    Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship

    We spent that time writing academic papers and publishing them in respected peer-reviewed journals associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as “cultural studies” or “identity studies” (for example, gender studies) or “critical theory” because it is rooted in that postmodern brand of “theory” which arose in the late sixties. As a result of this work, we have come to call these fields “grievance studies” in shorthand because of their common goal of problematizing aspects of culture in minute detail in order to attempt diagnoses of power imbalances and oppression rooted in identity.

  17. Remy Mermelstein
    ”Peer review corrects errors in submitted papers, and rejects papers if they are not acceptable.”

    Nope. Peer review SOMETIMES does this. Very often it does not. It’s often performed by a couple of friends of the paper’s author over a cup of coffee. Peer review today should be looked on as meaningless without knowing the exact individual process. Not to mention that a great proportion of all scientific papers are wrong.

    • LOL @ Mike: “It’s often performed by a couple of friends of the paper’s author over a cup of coffee. ”
      Could you please post a citation for that?

      I’m really really interested in any/all evidence you might have for this assertion.

  18. The issues around ‘peer review’ and what that means in reality are one of those great ‘don’t talk about it ‘ areas of academia,
    For there is claim made to the general public , that is approach ‘validates ‘ work and stops poor science , and the reality known to those involved that it often does not such thing and even serious errors can be totally missed while ‘pal review ‘ is a very real problem .

    Some area have it worse than others, partly because there normal way of working is ‘find the lady ‘while others because there are so few ‘experts ‘ that they will all review and known each other so it’s you scratch my back and I will scratch yours is standard practice . Climate ‘science’ tends to have all of these issues , plus it is an area that is so heavily politized that the ‘value ‘ of its work is not based on scientific validity , but on ‘headlines’ and how well it supports ‘the cause ‘ which can often be done through what is frankly rubbish. So that which in other areas what would be considered ‘poor practice ‘ is consider not merely normal but ‘good’ .

  19. “Prove that the only place *intelligence exists* in the entire universe is *on our planet Earth*””

    Reading these comments there may be an issue with one of your assumptions

  20. This all began in 1927 at the Solvay Conference.
    Niels Bohr, who later openly converted to Taoism, is quoted by J.S. Bell : “By `complementarity’ he meant, it seems to me, the reverse: contradictariness. Bohr seemed to like aphorisms such as: ‘the opposite of a deep truth is also a deep truth’: ‘truth and clarity are complementary’. Perhaps he took a subtle satisfaction in the use of a familiar word with the reverse of its familiar meaning.”
    “He seemed to revel in the contradictions, for example between ‘wave’ and ‘particle’, that seem to appear in any attempt to go beyond the pragmatic level. Not to resolve these contradictions and ambiguities, but rather to reconcile us to them, he put forward a philosophy which he called ‘cornplementarity’.
    Einstein objected to this non-science, almost alone.
    Science is not pragmatism, the fear of facing such an attack on reason which Bohr took great delight in.

    So is ‘the opposite of a deep truth is also a deep truth’? Are ‘truth and clarity complementary’?

    • Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation is philosophical. Bohr and Einstein agree on the math of quantum mechanics, even on the hypothetical result of the EPR thought experiment. But why that result? The deeper truth is philosophical. Bell converted it to testable science in his Bell’s theorem. Physicists now believe the issue has been resolved in favor of Bohr.

      I think Bell made a mistake in calculating the probabilities. I pointed this out to Prof. Lee Smolin and showed how to properly calculate the probabilities, which proved Einstein was right. Smolin said he would be shocked if I am right. But he could not point out my error.

      • Set theory is the foundation of mathematics. I used set theory to represent the probabilities in Bell’s theorem. The sets are the permutations of photon’s spin projections in 3 rotational axes. The intersection of the sets represents Bell’s inequality. When you do vector addition, some permutations give unphysical results like a photon with +/- 3 spin. These must be excluded in the calculation of probability (P)

        Bell blindly followed the math of probability theory by including all the permutations. This is not pure math. This is physics. We have to make adjustments to be consistent with physical reality. Bell’s theorem states:
        If P > 1, then Einstein is right
        My corrected theorem states:
        If P = 1, then Einstein is right

        All experiments show P is approximately equal to 1. Physicists say all experiments proved Einstein is wrong. On the contrary, all experiments proved Einstein is right. As Alanis Morissette sang, isn’t it ironic?

        My insight is easy to see in set theory but not obvious in probability theory

      • The Copenhagen wave collapse is not scientific, rather ideology tacked on with verbiage. Bell very clearly points that out. Bell’s clarification of Bohm’s work, shows indeed Einstein was not against indeterminism (with statistics of which he was a master of), rather against non-local causation. Non-locality is now part of nature, even if the conflict with spacetime is very clear. Bell said the GRW idea is closer to a better theory.

        The science is definitely not (locally) decided even if Bohr declared so with contradictories.
        Lord Bertrand Russell declared physics was over 3 years before Planck upended that. Goedel upended Russell’s math-from-logic program. And Bohm jettisoned von Neuman’s math proof of no hidden QM variables.

        Bell’s probability calculations follow the standard model – if there is an error there it is in that model too (maybe that worried Smolin?). Bell’s Speakable and Unspeakable in QM looks at this from many potential angles especially rotating Stern-Gerlach setups.

        And Einstein himself said we know very little about causality actually. Neither Bell, Einstein, nor Bohm were too pleased with the quantum potential, yet all thanked de Broglie for putting the issue on the table for precise scientific investigation. And Schroedinger did not like “jumps”.
        It is not a math problem. See Hiley for the latest on that.

        Popper notes Bohr proposed then new gospel of irrationality at Solvay 1927. Which brings us back to the raging irrationality lurking in everywhere today in science.

        • Spin 3 photons are not in the Standard Model. But they are included in the permutations of spin projections. We should not be surprised that experiments violate Bell’s inequality. IMO the violation has nothing to do with non-locality. General relativity is a local theory that agrees with all experiments and observations. Light and gravity obey locality.

          Philosophers and scientists have many different opinions on the nature of reality. Bell’s theorem purports to prove or disprove locality and realism. I give the last word to Bell: I hope what the Bell’s theorem proved is our lack of imagination.

  21. Alan Sokal’s hoax essay, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity was published in the journal Social Text in 1996.

  22. Physics has its many problems as well. The dark energy and dark matter fiasco being the prime example.

  23. Regarding climate-science research papers, are there severe consequences for peer reviewers, who don’t toe the line?

  24. Irrespective of the field of science, reputed journals have their peers. Most of them work as “you scratch my back and I scratch your back”. Many a times the papers are published based on the name of the author and or institution. A nobel prize winner withdrew his paper after receiving Nobel Prize from the journal. When I was in IMD, Pune, librarian saw a paper in reputed journal and showed us the findings. In fact he did not know the the data was in inches prior to 1957 and in mm from 1957. This was brought to the notice of the author by IMD, he withdrew the paper. When I submitted a paper to IMD Journal, the reviewer said “use of radiation in pollution studies is unscientific” and suggested to reject it. I sent my detailed reply then the Editor [DG of IMD] accepted the paper for publication. When I submitted a work developed and implemented in Mozambique for crop early warning, the international journal sent to two peers for review. One accepted the paper for publication and the other said “it can also be fitted to linear curve” — in fact this is my comment on the peers article earlier in Agronomy journal of US –. The regional editor rejected the paper — though earlier around 10 papers were published in that journal. Then I sent a letter of nearly 100 pages on how the peers work. Later, the editor-in-chief got my letter reviewed by three regional editors and published in three parts. So, it is not confined to climate change but also several fields of science. There is another case, a girl submitted a paper [medial science] to a reputed journal, this paper went a high profile peer. He rejected the paper and revised it and got it published on his his + groups name. The girst brought to the notice of medical committee [wherein the peer was a deputy president] and the committee got the paper withdrawn and the peer was removed from the post. Like this we can show several cases.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  25. Oh my. But there are certain topics that go front of the line (they like “edgy” topics) and others that languish. I guess going to the front gives you a pass on integrity…

  26. Not surprised. But science has to grow up sometime, and “skepticism” is one of the things holding science back. How can I say this? Because skepticism contains the potent negative bias of “doubt.” Doesn’t anyone realize that science should never be biased?

    The actual active ingredients within skepticism which forward the thrust of discovery are “restraint” and “humility.” Why not simply use these last two elements, and dump the doubt?

    Science is accomplished by the desire for answers, the restraint from jumping to the easiest conclusion, and the humility to accept the answers provided by the evidence. True, “skepticism” sounds chic and sophisticated, but it’s toxic, especially when ego and subjective attitude get involved. Then, you get nasty things like the “Clovis First” dogma, unsupported dismissiveness (appeal to the stone), and self-indulgent ridicule with its heavy reliance on ad hominem.

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