Friday, March 26, 2010

Missing News: Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply

Update 2. Further views provided by Bob Carter and John McLean including comment on ABC "How we were censored"  at QUADRANT

Update 1 14.23pm 26/3/2010-see 4 Corners generic reply below
ABC MISSING HEADLINE: "American Geophysical Union at centre of censorship allegations"
ABC HAVE NOT YET REPORTED ON: claims of censorship and scientific malfeasance levied against the American Geophysical Union by a group of authors whose paper was rejected by editors of the AGU journal, Geophysical Research Letters. The claims, outlined in an article published by the authors through the Washington based Science and Public Policy Institute (available HERE), include:
• Collaboration to attack scientific papers that provide evidence militating against a dangerous human influence on climate, by a group of scientists whose attitudes have already been exposed by the CRU email (a.k.a. Climategate) affair, namely Grant Foster, James Annan, Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Jim Renwick, Jim Salinger, Gavin Schmidt and Kevin Trenberth.
• The clear intention of this group has been to try to damage the credibility of an independently refereed paper whose conclusions they disliked, rather than to create and participate in a constructive scientific discussion amongst equals.
• Inappropriate contact between one of the authors (Kevin Trenberth) and the former President of the AGU (Mike McPhaden), in a way that can be construed as interference in editorial process.
• Inappropriate tampering with AGU editorial management by requesting an alternative editor, which resulted in the replacement of the original editor by editor-2.
• Unprofessional publication of Foster et al.’s critique on the Internet, in AGU journal format, before it had been considered or accepted for publication by AGU.
• Questionable editorial inaction, in editor-2 not rejecting the Foster et al. critique on grounds of its prior publication and formatting, both in direct contravention of AGU guidelines.
• Failure to follow the AGU guidelines regarding nomination of potential reviewers, by Foster et al. proposing persons (a) with whom they have close professional relationships and (b) in anticipation that they will be biased.
• Error of editorial judgement in accepting for publication a critique of a paper that contains incorrect claims about the content of that paper and focuses on peripheral issues rather than on the paper's substantive scientific conclusions.
• Failure to apply editorial power impartially, but instead acting in support of the prevailing hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.
• Denial of a right of reply to those whose research was being criticized.

THE SUGGESTION: This story has all the ingredients of a Four Corners expose. Can ABC please engage the services of Chris Masters to investigate this further?
OUTCOME: Seems framing this as a suggestion results in much swifter treatment than if issued as a complaint, even if it is a generic!
Thank you for your email dated 25 March.
Your program suggestion has been passed on to one of our producers for consideration.  We may be in touch with you again if we feel we can take this matter further.
Thanks again for taking the time to write to us.
Program Assistant
Four Corners
ABC Television
COMMENT: I wonder if ABC editorial staff will recognise the newsworthiness of this piece, or will they run another chicken run story?

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