Thursday, August 12, 2010

Side stepping peer review

We read with some interest ABC Lateline's story of the 11/8/2010 titled Survey shows politicians still confused on climate and were interested in details of the survey. According to Lateline's MARGOT O'NEILL: Only 18 per cent of federal politicians responded. Of the entire survey group, 97 were Labor, 73 Liberal-National, 41 were Greens and the remaining 97 described themselves as non-aligned. 
If true there would be major issues with sampling bias and the results would have little bearing on the opinions of Federal politicians.
We contacted the author of the study Kelly Fielding of the University of Queensland's Institute for social science research for further details about the methodology and results only to be told the following:
"We are currently in the process of writing this research up for publication. In the meantime we plan to put a summary of the results on the Global Change Institute (UQ) Website - although we haven't yet done that. When that it is done I will email you the link."

To which we replied: It concerns me that you would release preliminary results to the media prior to their peer review and publication. Do you have any comment on the timing of your release given the research has not yet gone through the normal peer review process? It could be argued that the release of the preliminary results was designed to score a political point during the election.

I look forward to seeing the methodology and the results. It is a pity they are not available for scrutiny at the time of the media interest.

No wonder there is confusion among politicians when the people they rely on to provide scientific advice appear to be so confused about the scientific method and due process in releasing the results of academic research.

1 comment:

  1. I submit that Dr Kelly Fielding's research is compromised. Please note her research interests and links to the political org CSIRO.

    Her ability to be objective in her research is highly questionable.


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