Climate scientists not cowed by relentless climate change deniers

Nice article in physicstoday.

Other stuff

* Wiley coverup: The great Wegman and Said “redo” to hide plagiarism and errors – the Wegman stuff keeps rumbling on. Wegman reminds me of the TSA guy here – what he says isn’t believeable, but he has powerful organisations propping him up, because having him admit error would be embarrassing.
* Hansen Wins – Wabbett sez the US is going to require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. That would be a good result, but the wrong way to do it. The right way is a carbon tax, not an arbitrary limit.

Wegman plagiarism again

Retraction Watch have an article up about the Wegman plagiarism stuff (also covered by Eli).

GMU aren’t making the full report public, though, doubtless to protect the guilty (which I think largely means the shoddiness of the report). There is an oddity in what they have released:

As sanction, Professor Wegman has been asked to apologize to the journal involved, while retracting the article; and I am placing an official letter of reprimand in his file

How can Wegman retract the article? It was retracted by the editors some time ago, on the grounds of plagiarism.

Don’t forget, though, that Wegman plagiarised, but there is worse.

Refs

* GMU still paralyzed; Wegman, Rapp still paranoid – DSB
* GMU contradictory decisions on Wegman: Plagiarism in CSDA, but not in 2006 congressional report

Wegman paper pulled for plagiarism

[May 26th: Pulled to the top to update with the Nature editorial which, as well as noting the paper being pulled, also notes the mysteriously dilatory George Mason University investigation.

June 3rd: And pulled again, since Science have a piece on the actual retraction, and again note the GMU lack-of-progress.]

Well, this is exciting: Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism says USA today:

Evidence of plagiarism and complaints about the peer-review process have led a statistics journal to retract a federally funded study that condemned scientific support for global warming… The journal publisher’s legal team “has decided to retract the study,” said CSDA journal editor Stanley Azen of the University of Southern California, following complaints of plagiarism. A November review by three plagiarism experts of the 2006 congressional report for USA TODAY also concluded that portions contained text from Wikipedia and textbooks. The journal study, co-authored by Wegman student Yasmin Said, detailed part of the congressional report’s analysis.

Deep Climate has more.

[Update: it looks like even more folk are mysteriously finding that the dog has eaten their homework. USA today has a follow-up which contains, amongst other stuff, an attempt to probe the mysteriously quick acceptance – just a few days – of Wegman’s paper.By bizarre co-incidence the journal editor, Stanley Azen, was a friend of Wegman. Azen said:

Dog-ate-homework-268x300

Dear Ed: I personally reviewed your very interesting (and unique) manuscript. I think the paper is very interesting, and I could not identify any errors. So, I am pleased to inform you and your colleagues that your paper “Social Networks of Author-Coauthor Relationships” has been accepted…

Which fits the facts perfectly: its from his buddy, of course it can go in. That was spiffy when he was doing dark deeds in darkness. Now this has all blown up Azen has rather modified his story:

Azen says he must have overseen an earlier, more extensive review of the paper involving outside reviewers. But he says he has no records of this earlier review, because his records were destroyed in an office move. “I would never have done just a personal review,” he says.

Oh yeah: there must have been a review. But, err, he has no records of it. Err. Nor can he remember who did the review. And office moves don’t destroy email.

[Update: seeing some comments elsewhere, I should say that the problem with Wegmans work (and that includes the Wegman report itself, as well as this paper) isn’t just plagiarism: it is that the analysis is junk too. It is not just chance that Wegman could only get this published in a journal with his buddy as editor. But in this world of ours plagiarism is a sharp line that is easy to see. Getting people to see that the analysis is junk too is harder. See Deep Climate for more details, as usual.]

[Another update: Moyhu (similar to DC) has an example of how Wegman copied-without-understanding from M&M, pretended to redo their analysis, but actually simply repeated their errors.]

Refs

* USA today: Our view: America, pick your climate choices
* Wired
* Making it recursive
* Copy and paste – Nature 473, 419-420 (26 May 2011) doi:10.1038/473419b
* Eli
* A (not quite) grand unified theory of plagiarism, as applied to the Wegman case
* Wegman Report: Not just plagiarism, misrepresentation
* Another Wegman plagiarism – Andrew Gelman

Wegman plagiarised, but there is worse

Well yes, as is slowly becoming obvious. Deltoid reports USA today (or you can also look at the full Mashey). In the curious world of academe (which I presume Wegman aspires to) plagiarism is a no-no far more serious that just getting the wrong answer; and has the virtue of being fairly easy to spot.

But whilst plagiarism is bad (possibly even fatal) for your academic reputation, it doesn’t directly say anything about science, or the validity of conclusions. It is evidence that the author has been sloppy and – in this case – bolsters the argument that the author didn’t really understand what he was doing, or was deliberately misleading.

And that is the important bit: that the Wegman report’s slavish copying of M&M lead them to incorrectly evaluate MBH. For that you need to plough through the detail at Deep Climate (as briefly ref’d by me).

To quote DC directly:

Wegman et al took the M&M critique of MBH at face value, and deliberately excluded all substantive discussion of scientific literature answering M&M (especially Wahl and Ammann).

Wegman et al completely misunderstood the M&M simulation methodology, and claimed that M&M had demonstrated that the MBH short-centered PCA would mine for “hockey sticks”, even from low-order, low-correlation AR1(.2) red noise. But in fact the displayed figure (4.4) was taken from the top 1% of simulated PC1s generated from high-correlation, high-persistence ARFIMA-based noise, as archived by M&M. (And I also show that simulations based on AR1(.2) noise would have shown much less evidence of bias from “short-centered” PCA, even if one focuses only on PC1).

The point about what you can get done for is interesting, though, and worth a little musing. It is (obviously) unacceptable to zap researchers for just getting the wrong answer; that would be too big a constraint on academic freedom (sliding gracefully over the question of whether that applies to reports to Congress). But in the normal course of things, Wegman’s report would be a paper, and it would have been subject to peer review. And quite likely it would have failed, for the plagiarism. It might well have failed for the science, too, for the problems that DC found. But if had it passed, it would then have been open to a reply in the literature, which it isn’t really now. Having decided that you can’t zap them for the wrong answer, you’re then left not being able to zap them for deliberately getting the wrong answer, and tenaciously clinging to the wrong answer despite the evidence; this seems regrettable.

Refs

* Eli (and Eli scents blood)
* JEB
* In Salon – but note how slow this story is. The MSM is clearly very nervous of it.

Wegman again

It seems shame to root thorugh the trash, but people do, and JM points out the following weird ref in t’ Wegman report:

Valentine, Tom (1987) “Magnetics may hold key to ozone layer problems,” Magnets,
2(1) 18-26.

The odd thing is that is doesn’t appear to be a ref for anything. What is it doing there? And what is this odd paper? Or is Wegman one of those people that wear magnetic bangles to cure rheumatism?

* Is this the same Tom V?
* Of course, you should read Deep Climate