The Scientific Circle Jerk

Good enough, right?

Good enough, right?

The alarmist line goes like this: peer-review is the process which separates ‘proper’ science from the incoherent rantings of deniers.

Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the gold standard by which climate science should be judged. Hence the alarmists’ obsession with it – almost like the inevitable ad hominem attacks on any sceptical author, this is an ad editionem on the publication.

‘Not peer-reviewed’ is the equivalent of the big oil cheque in the post – you are inferior to us and therefore we don’t need to consider you or your arguments any further. Except of course when that ‘not peer-reviewed’ literature happens to support the alarmist cause, since a sizeable chunk of the IPCC reports are built on press releases and news articles from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth etc. Who said anything about applying the rules consistently?

Anyway, it is clear that there are numerous opportunities for corruption of the peer-review process. How about a paper written by an AGW believer, and peer-reviewed by three more AGW believers? They are highly unlikely to call out a paper that might be scientifically bogus, but which advances an agenda on which all four agree.

When there is a status quo, which is in the interest of scientists to maintain for financial or business reasons (in climate, the massive funding of climate research which bolsters the consensus), how likely is it that anyone will put his head above the parapet, to get it shot at and blown off?

Well surprise (not), since that is exactly what happens, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

In a July 8, 2004, email, one scientist assured another that the hypothesis they shared would prevail “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” Exactly 10 years later, reported that Peter Chen, a researcher at Taiwan’s National Pingtung University of Education, had undertaken such a redefinition. “SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a ‘peer review and citation ring,’ ” noted RetractionWatch’s Ivan Oransky.

According to a statement from SAGE, “it was discovered that the author had created various aliases on SAGE Track, providing different email addresses to set up more than one account. Consequently, SAGE scrutinised further the co-authors of and reviewers selected for Peter Chen’s papers, [and] these names appeared to form part of a peer review ring. The investigation also revealed that on at least one occasion, the author Peter Chen reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he had created.”

And we all know who is responsible for that quote about redefining peer-review, don’t we? That’s right – Phil Jones of CRU at the University of East Anglia, he of Climategate fame.

Read the rest of the article here, and the original op-ed that prompted it here.

h/t Hockey Schtick


  1. This is a good explanation of the “peer review process”, how it should work, and what some alarmists, sorry I mean scientists, get up to for the sake of notoriety.

    • hmmm not sure why that was added to my previous comment – oh well here is the above mentioned link.

      • Excellent description of the processes of peer review! The names we get called in Australia by politicians & their advisers ensures that anomalies will never be debated!

  2. Of course they kling to the peer-reviewed papers and publication in a peer-reviewed journal, ref.: “peer-review is the process which separates ‘proper’ science from the incoherent rantings of deniers. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the gold standard by which climate science should be judged.”

    That is because the control the whole process, peer-reviewing each other papers and don’t let any evil denier paper get published – we know and have known for a long time.

  3. nice read, good. N

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