Lewandowsky cheer squad slapped down by journal

Cook 'n' Lew

Cook ‘n’ Lew

Lewandowsky’s cheer squad in the moonbat media have been breathlessly proclaiming that his ‘academic’ paper Recursive Fury was withdrawn from the journal Frontiers as a result of ‘bullying by contrarians’.

Lew even published a roundup of all the hyperbole to save me the bother (thanks, by the way), the prime example being Über-cheerleader Dana Nuccitelli from Un-Sk Ps-Sc, who writes in an article entitled ‘Contrarians bully journal into retracting a climate psychology paper’:

Frontiers may very well be worse off having lost the confidence of the academic community than if they had called the bluffs of the contrarians threatening frivolous lawsuits.

Fortunately, several journals and organizations have stood up against this type of contrarian bullying. The journal Environmental Research Letters easily withstood the campaign against our consensus paper, and the Australian Psychological Society has been very supportive of Lewandowsky and his team, as has the Association for Psychological Science.

These groups offer a good example for journals to follow when subjected to organized bullying from contrarians trying to censor sound but inconvenient research.

This, together with all the other manufactured outrage from Lew’s hangers-on, has forced the Journal to respond, and it’s a massive slap-down for the Lewsters:

There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

As we published in our retraction statement, a small number of complaints were received during the weeks following publication. Some of those complaints were well argued and cogent and, as a responsible publisher, our policy is to take such issues seriously. Frontiers conducted a careful and objective investigation of these complaints. Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats. The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process.

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics. Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology. The actions taken by Frontiers sought to ensure the right balance of respect for the rights of all.

One of Frontiers’ founding principles is that of authors’ rights. We take this opportunity to reassure our editors, authors and supporters that Frontiers will continue to publish – and stand by – valid research. But we also must uphold the rights and privacy of the subjects included in a study or paper.

Ouch. It also raises significant queries regarding the level of ethical approval for Recursive Fury if, as the statement claims, it ‘fails to uphold the rights and privacy of the subjects.’ Sounds like a fairly major ethical blunder to me.

I’m betting the journal had wished they’d never got entangled with the likes of Lewandowsky.


  1. thingadonta says:

    Spot the difference.

    “…the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”

    If she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood, and therefore, a witch!.

    The latter one doesn’t hide the data or methodology.

  2. Actually, it’s even worse than you thought, Simon!

    Nuccitelli’s second para was lifted/recycled from an article published in the November 2013 issue of the APS’ Observer. Along with much of Nuccitelli’s Guardian piece, it was in the same article written by the then newly formed dynamic duo of Lewandowsky and Mann – in which they had planted all the “seeds” of the “intimidation and bullying publishers” meme that blossomed circa March 20/21. For details, please see:

    Frontears of mediocrity: Lewandowsky & Mann on the march

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