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« Newsnight on shale | Main | What is the Science Media Centre for? »
Thursday
May222014

University challenge

The University of Queensland has been challenged to come clean over the Cook 97% consensus paper. Rud Istvan, in an open letter published at WUWT, notes that the University has claimed that the ethical approval they gave for the paper demanded that the identities of participants be kept confidential. However, as Istvan also notes, the names of the raters were published in the paper. So either the paper is unethical or, and perhaps more likely in my opinion, the ethical approval does not actually exist:

Either way, you and UQ both appear in a very bad light. It appears that UQ congratulates itself on gross ethical breaches (especially when basking in so much notoriety), while at the same time withholding anonymized primary data underlying a self admitted important research paper in contravention of UQ written research data policy. Either retract the admittedly unethical paper, or retract the grossly mistaken excuse and release the requested data to Tol.

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (41)

Hmm.....Certainly seems to be a somewhat twisted conundrum...ethically speaking.

A retraction of THAT paper, possibly above ALL others in the field will prove......embarrassing?


.

It will all just be ignored in my view.

Smile....keep up the charade...keep smiling and deny everything.

May 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Rock? Hard place?

May 22, 2014 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Rock? Hard place?

University of Queensland? A hard place?

Hush, but - Nyet Comrade!

May 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

And what will Istvan do when UQ simply ignores his letter, please ? Dead silence ...

I ask because this is the most obvious and likely response

May 23, 2014 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

@ianl8888

They are taking a hit and everyone knows it. Beyond this, well, they could've shut up to begin with. In fact, many of the fools in CAGW could've shut up many times about many things. But they haven't. And they keep getting call out. Which is good because little by little their credibility has suffered.

May 23, 2014 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

I am with ianl8888 on this. There is no oversight......no one to say this will not stand. Nowhere to lodge a complaint. Only about 500 people in the world know or care about this.

"It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll!"

May 23, 2014 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Ianl8888, my father, buried with full neck honors (you look up what that means) at Arlington National Cemetary, taught me something. Never start a fight, but always finish one on top. I did not start this, UQ did. You go figure end results, with the power of the Internet behind the horns or this increasingly public dilemma. Do not presume only 500 people will know or care.

Put it differently. Last time I personally took on a sovereign, it was the province of Ontario, Canada on a property law matter related to a long time communal vacation home. They lost. I set a precident for the entire province, which of course Quebec refused to honor. Do not dispair. Rise up and be counted! Spread the word.

May 23, 2014 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

This ought to be interesting news to Brandon Shollenberger.

May 23, 2014 at 2:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

They'll be close to hitting the emergency button now - arrange a clique of fellow passengers to cry to a lefty news rag about being 'bullied by deniers'. Standard procedure in Australia when scientivists caught with their pants down.

May 23, 2014 at 3:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

Good work.
I am sure that their initial response will be to ignore us but this will not go away. Time is on our side and this will become a constant thorn in their side.
Until they have dealt with it this will be a glaring example of their unethical conduct and should be raised at every opportunity whenever UQ is mentioned ANYWHERE.

May 23, 2014 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith L

They used to ignore. Now they struck out, ineffectually and got pwned.
The full debate skeptics have wanted is coming soon.
A real one, not the faux debates of prissy spoiled apparatchiks having vapors because a wicked den^alist is asking pointed questions.

May 23, 2014 at 3:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Dear University of Queensland your best option:-

Take this pineapple ..
Turn it sideways ...
Bend over ...
Now PUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

so deserved!!

May 23, 2014 at 4:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterColA

@Rud Ivstan

"Do not presume only 500 people will know or care"

1) Not in my post, someone else's phrase

2) My initial question is accurate. UQ don't care what you or I may think

I'm sorry if this upsets you, but it is realpolitik

May 23, 2014 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

"@Rud Ivstan
"Do not presume only 500 people will know or care"
1) Not in my post, someone else's phrase
2) My initial question is accurate. UQ don't care what you or I may think
I'm sorry if this upsets you, but it is realpolitik"

ianl8888, there is a new anti CAGW government in Australia and it may matter and lead to something uncomfortable for UQ. It may take time.

May 23, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

"............which of course Quebec refused to honor.............."

I rest my case!

May 23, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

This War has lasted 30 years or so. This last skirmish is evidence of the end game. It started out with incorrect physics of heat generation, well hidden so only real experts could find it, probably a genuine mistake. Carbon traders and renewables' corporations piled in funds to buy politicians who then funded a smokescreen of peer reviewed papers.

This worked until 1997 when data showed CO2 trailed T at the end of the last ice age. This begat scientific cheating to prove 'positive feedback' from present data. But simultaneously, Mother Nature decided to stop atmospheric heating!

More cheating kept the train on the tracks but real scientists started to break ranks, leading in AR5 to clear divergence between them and political stooges. No-one believes politicians, they could still believe scientists though.

The counter attack by the politicians, think of it as the Battle of the Bulge, was to employ Psychologists and Social Scientists to manufacture an artificial science 'consensus'. This last battle is about the validity of those data. I suspect they cheated; Game Over!

May 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

May 23, 2014 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Your search - "buried with full neck honors" - did not match any documents.

May 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

DaveA "Standard procedure in Australia when scientivists caught with their pants down."

Minor correction "Standard procedure worldwide when scientivists caught with their faces in the trough."

May 23, 2014 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Splitpin, all you have to understand is that ordinary medals are pinned to your chest.

Neck honours are the ones that go round your neck, such as the Congressional Medal of Honour.

May 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

<Arcana americana/> Did Rud Istvan take up his option of going to West Point? </Arcana americana>

May 23, 2014 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkeptical Chymist

Out of several ethical issues the one that finally tripped up Stephan Lewandowsky on the Fury paper was the failure to recognise that once you start focusing on a person and their thoughts then they become a research participant and should be treated with respect and their privacy respected.

For this study once people start focusing on a particular person and their performance as a rater then they also merit the same privacy and respect even if they have already been named or acknowledged for their role in producing the paper.

May 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

clivere:
In what way are these the same? If one assumes the raters are the authors - I know in this case they are not - their proficiencies and deficiencies as raters are very much at issue, in this type of study, and are legitimate areas of inquiry. On the other hand, if your approach degenerates into a Lewandowsky type of analysis then that is problematic in its own terms..

May 23, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

clivere,
Perhaps it would be worthwhile to review the entire universe of papers Lew has been involved with over the years and look for evidence of either a pattern of faux papers or a deterioration triggered by his emerging climate obsession.
My bet is he was a typical land shark academic, moving through the academic culture until his climate obsession began to dominate his thinking. But perhaps he has utilized contrived manipulations disguised as science his entire career?

May 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

It is perfectly valid to review if there are issues with how different raters performed. It is not valid from an ethical perspective to name a person with comments about their performance unless there are other ethical reasons at play such as conflict of interest. If other such reasons are in play and they may well be then these should be reviewed outside the public arena.

May 23, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Clivere, the authors were raters, and had clear pre-existing conflicts of interest via their participation in the public [internet] arena. Bias was already well established. That is what made the whole project a joke from the start. They were surveying themselves.

The only question I haven't seen properly aired yet is did any of them receive payment, including "expenses", for their ratings. Was funding allocated ostensibly to obtain any supposedly independent and technically competent raters?

May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Michael Hart - one of the things I have been researching re the Hoax and Fury papers is the difference between a perceived conflict of interest and an actual conflict of interest.

I think people who run websites who produce papers that directly attack their opponents have an actual conflict of interest. I suspect it would be argued that a group of people who contribute to that website is somewhere between perceived and actual depending on circumstances and motive. If one of those is involved as a paid newspaper columnist promoting the results of the paper in support of their views then this would be firmly in the actual conflict of interest category.

May 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Clivere et al:

The article says the university is 'withholding anonymized primary data'

So presumably the identities of the raters will be redacted, and there will be no issue of assigning particular rating patterns to particular people.

Or am I missing something?

May 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerry C

Terry C - my understanding is that up to now the data that would differentiate between the performance of raters has been withheld even in an anonymized state. I regard that as an issue.

May 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

why are we even talking at this level ? ..the loons have moved the debate line so far to the left
In the real world : Lew and all broke so many ethical rules that they should be in jail ..it is clearly he who is projecting his own mental health isssues onto the rest of the world... I worry for him

May 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

clivere:
I agree with your comment:
"It is perfectly valid to review if there are issues with how different raters performed. It is not valid from an ethical perspective to name a person with comments about their performance unless there are other ethical reasons at play such as conflict of interest. If other such reasons are in play and they may well be then these should be reviewed outside the public arena."

But I sadly still don't get how that stage can be reached from anonymised data.

May 23, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerry C

I think people who run websites who produce papers that directly attack their opponents have an actual conflict of interest.
------------------------------------------
clivere, what codswallop. The premises buried in this statement are:

- people who run websites are a special category (as opposed to those who are members of political parties, advocacy groups etc, or just have opinions);

- that people who run websites must have identifiable "opponents";

- that scientific or other disagreement is inherently a conflict of interest.

People, welcome to the latest concern troll.

May 23, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

"clivere, what codswallop."

johanna, don't sugar coat it like that, give to him straight.

May 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Rud -

Once again and with continuing due respect you're wrong.

That becomes clear when we simply add up the number of authors (9), the number of acknowledged volunteers (12) and the number of advisers (2) that are listed in the paper. The grand total is 23. However, the consensus project website says,

"The study involved 24 scientists and science enthusiasts in rating the 4000 abstracts that stated a position on climate change."

So in the best case you're missing a name. But it gets worse.

It turns out that not all of the listed names participated in rating papers. To wit, in the acknowledgement section it says that some of the people collected the email addresses of scientists. That's confirmed by other sources including the hacked/leaked forum. So your number isn't off, it's way off.

Without dwelling on a topic that has been well hashed elsewhere I can assure you that about 17 of the raters have been identified. The others remain anonymous per their request.

May 23, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDGH

johanna, don't sugar coat it like that, give to him straight.
-------------------------------------------------
geronimo, you're right.

Chandra, you were recently banned for trolling. But here you are again, under another name.

May 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I am not Chandra. Andrew knows who I am.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concern+troll

concern troll

A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of "concern," to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don't really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.

A concern troll on a progressive blog might write, "I don't think it's wise to say things like that because you might get in trouble with the government." Or, "This controversy is making your side look disorganized."

by thevineyard April 27, 2007

concern troll

In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with "concerns". The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you're an ally. Concern trolls who use fake identities are sometimes known as sockpuppets.

In the 2006 election, an aide to Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) was caught concern trolling the opposition on local blogs. While pretending to support Bass's opponent, Paul Hodes, the aide argued that Hodes couldn't win because Bass was an unbeatable candidate. Hodes won the election.

by Weishaupt October 24, 2007

I have posted here on various topics over many years. I do not intentionally try to troll. My thoughts and concerns associated with this post have been covered by this thread at Lucias where I made several posts.

http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/fury-if-you-can-harm-you-need-consent/

I am interested in how conflict of interest is recognised and dealt with in part due to a post by Barry Wood here.

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2014/5/18/the-iqs-at-uq.html

There is reference to "perceived conflict of interest" and I am trying to figure what would transform this into an actual conflict of interest as per UWA guidelines here. I think that conflict of interest is also an issue with the 97% paper and so am looking at that paper from a similar perspective.

http://www.governance.uwa.edu.au/procedures/policies/policies-and-procedures?method=document&id=UP12%2F32

2 Conflict of Interest

2.1 A conflict of interest can be:
Actual, where a conflict actually exists,
Perceived, when a conflict is only believed to exist, and
Potential, when a conflict is a future possibility

May 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

clivere, you have not addressed any of the points in my post, something which we have seen all too many times before.

Why is a blogger subject to standards that differ from those applied to anyone else?

What do you mean by "opponents"?

In what universe is disagreement inherently a "conflict of interest"?

Definitely a concern troll.

May 24, 2014 at 5:01 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Taking out of order.

What do you mean by "opponents"?

This is based on a statement by Steve McIntyre in this post.

http://climateaudit.org/2014/04/07/the-ethics-application-for-lewandowskys-fury/#more-19124

"making no mention of his ongoing engagement with bloggers, his intent to revisit their reaction to his earlier deception or his plans to telediagnose psychopathological disorders among named opponents:"

I quite like the use of opponents here as a characterisation because it is neutral and descriptive which is why I have used it.

In what universe is disagreement inherently a "conflict of interest"?

The definition of conflict of interest is fairly universal so for convenience I will carry on using the UWA version as reference.

http://www.governance.uwa.edu.au/procedures/policies/policies-and-procedures?method=document&id=UP12%2F32

2 Conflict of Interest

2.1 A conflict of interest can be:
Actual, where a conflict actually exists,
Perceived, when a conflict is only believed to exist, and
Potential, when a conflict is a future possibility.

2.2 A conflict of interest is when there is, or appears to be, a conflict between performance as an employee of the University and private or personal interests. The test is whether an independent observer may reasonably question the factors affecting decisions or actions of an employee, and not whether they have in fact affected the decision or action.

4 Management of Disclosures

4.1 Management of any actual or perceived conflict disclosed by any employee (including within a Declaration of Annual Interests) is the responsibility of the supervisor or manager notified of the conflict, and will include consideration of whether it is appropriate for the employee to resume any discussions or activities that involve the conflict.

Why is a blogger subject to standards that differ from those applied to anyone else?

A blog may be a conflict of interest. Ref the UWA response to Barry Woods provided here

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2014/5/18/the-iqs-at-uq.html

" However, one issue raised was of a perceived conflict of interest in relation to the identity of proprietors and significant contributors to blogs. A recommendation has been made to Prof Lewandowsky to identify these individuals with a footnote at the start of each research publication."

I have issues with the UWA view and recommendation. In my opinion the Fury paper slimes a group of people (Climate Skeptics) by fallicious association, it slimes people (opponents) directly exposing them to unreasonable ridicule and it proposes that people should avoid direct engagement with the climate skeptic community. For me these have pushed the conflict of interest from perceived to actual because they are predudicial concerning opponents and provide advantage to the researchers outside interests.

May 24, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

It appears that, due to John Cook’s public silence in this matter for approximately the last month, the UQ could have told John Cook to shut up (gagged him). If that is the case, it may mean UQ simply does not trust John Cook. If the UQ is smart they should probably tell Nuccitelli to shut up too.


John


{the above comment was also posted at JoNova’s place}

May 24, 2014 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

clivere, gee, you remind me of some of your predecessors. Spooky, huh?

The issue about conflict of interest re Lewandowsky was nothing to do with his status as a blogger. That is a red herring with fluorescent properties.

Oh, and I don't think that Steve McIntyre made the statement you cited, although it may have been made by a commenter on his blog.


Trying to send us down rabbit-holes which have nothing to do with topic - we have seen these tactics here before.

Concern troll.

May 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna, I think I've gotten what you are driving at. There is something wrong with Lew blogging and using his commenters as study subjects without warning, if this is what he did. But conflict of interest? Doesn't sound like he was at all conflicted.

Cannot Clivere simply be a bit confused without descending to trolldom? He hasn't insulted anyone, has he?

May 24, 2014 at 8:30 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

My thought on why revealing the data for this paper might be considered an ethics issue is because the raters might be shown to be poor at their task. However if the rater IDs are anonymous (or anonymised if that's an issue) then although a rater might be privately embarrassed by their contribution being trashed, they would not be publicly shamed. However to refuse to release the data on the grounds the contributors might be embarrassed at being found wrong gives a carte blanche for any researcher to hide their data in case someone finds something wrong with it.

The ethics issue on Lew’s papers was not that he collected data about named people, it was that he applied characteristics to them. He also baited people on issues around the first paper and then used the reactions as fodder for the second.

May 24, 2014 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

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