"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bob Carter et al - Peer Review Corruption!


The UK's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is conducting an inquiry into the peer review process and with submissions now appearing here. Our own Bob Carter and his co-authors have submitted a scathing review of the peer review process they encountered in publishing their paper. The journal's process of choosing reviewers who would "know what to do" with  the paper , was disclosed in some of the Climategate emails.
 On the subject of reviewers one email [2] quotes the journal’s instructions to authors
3) Suggested Reviewers to Include
Please list the names of 5 experts who are knowledgeable in your area and could give an unbiased review of your work. Please do not list colleagues who are close associates, collaborators, or family members. (this requires name, email, and institution).
[12] but it also says
Agree with Kevin that Tom Karl has too much to do. Tom Wigley is semi retired and like Mike Wallace may not be responsive to requests from JGR. We have Ben Santer in common ! Dave Thompson is a good suggestion. I'd go for one of Tom Peterson or Dave Easterling. To get a spread, I'd go with 3 US, One Australian and one in Europe. So Neville Nicholls and David Parker. All of them know the sorts of things to say - about our comment and the awful original, without any prompting. (emphasis added)
[13] Contrary to the journal’s request for reviewers who "could give an unbiased review of your work", these potential reviewers are being considered precisely because they will "know the sorts of things to say".
One reviewer is more concerned about the politics than the technical merit of the paper!
17] Reviewer 3 says in part:
The real mystery here, of course, is how the McLean et al. paper ever made it into JGR. How that happened, I have no idea. I can't see it ever getting published through J Climate. The analyses in McLean et al. are among the worst I have seen in the climate literature. The paper is also a poorly guised attack on the integrity of the climate community, and I guess that is why Foster et al. have taken the energy to contradict its findings.

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