Climate of the Past

In case you don’t read James Empty Blog I point you towards it for a recent post on a new paper submitted to “Climate of the Past”. Its a HS paper, and has provoked a flurry of comments – as James notes, more than all the other papers, which have none. A bit of a shame that. But still, this looks like it might possibly develope into an interesting discussion. What has been missing in previous exchanges (e.g. the recent Science one) is enough back-and-forth to get down into the details. It might depend on how far the CotP editors are prepared to allow the discussion to go.

What I forgot to mention the first time… this is one of the new open-access open-review type journals. So not only do we get to see the vicious infighting that ormally happens within the review process, there is more back-and-forth than there normally would be. For controversial areas like this, it looks to be useful.

I also wanted to say that its a shame that the two reviewers have chosen to be anonymous.

4 thoughts on “Climate of the Past”

  1. we get to see the vicious infighting that ormally happens within the review process

    FWIW, I have never sent or received reviews of this viciousness – and that includes various critical “comment on…” type papers and a few clear-cut rejections.

    (I did once get something along the lines of “this should never be published anywhere, ever” but even on that occasion the ref was more clearly playing the ball not the man, even though his criticisms were IMO off-base. The ms sailed into another journal and is one of my more frequently cited papers.)


  2. I once received: “I disagreed with almost everything in this paper, and it made my blood boil. But I’m feeling better now. Publish it”. It’s now my most cited paper ( for the right reasons I hope!).


  3. I think the BC paper is very poorly written (still have not forced myself to go through the whole thing). Also think that there are likely significant statistical flaws in the general type of work that Mann does (using new and unqualified methods in an obscure field that lacks people with strong math abilities to judge it, etc. etc.).

    The skeptics counter that Mannian papers are hard to read as well. I agree but for different reasons. The BC paper is just kind of a mess in layout and in what the paper is REALLY ABOUT versus what it says it’s about. Mannian stuff tends to be overly wordy and to use non-standard terms (puffs up a little). In addition, it does NOT reveal methods adequately. In addition, it is a bit textualist (sort of reads more like a story, then like a plain analysis). Well, Thompson does this. Can’t recall if Mann does. But a lot of y’all do.

    I think the style and clarity thing is PARTICULARLY important for skeptics as they (we?) are trying to correct poor practices that have been accepted, fix misconceptions which may even in some sense be “basic” in applied statistics sense. But the fact is they are out there. So when we move to fix, we should be completely clear ourselves. Not add more confusion. Two examnples of papers that I thought were brilliant at this type of clarity were the BC05/06 flavors paper (not the one here) and the Huybers comment on MM05 (GRL).

    To be honest, the style thing has slowed me down so much that I haven’t been able to read through and understand the issues of RE and splitting periods for verification/calibration when series are trending.

    Given, the very poor style of the paper, BC should be very happy about the over the top (#2 reviewer) comments on the paper. All that ad hominem and spite adn bluster (“you’ll harm this little new journal by publishing such stuff”) may just save the paper as the editors who will be bogged down by style also assume that there must be something in there if the review is so heatedly inappropriate in condemnation.

    REviewer #3 is much more professional.


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