How does Prof Jones revelation affect AGW in particular and the peer review process generally?


](Phil Jones survives MPs' grilling over climate emails | Fred Pearce | The Guardian)

So none of his work has actually been properly checked. He could have faked the whole lot. Nobody bothered to check. My mind boggles. No wonder Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit gets so much stick for doing precisely that. I wonder how many other AGW papers had their basic facts and data checked by peer reviewers?

So has Prof Jones just instantly discredited a whole lot of AGW, possibly a whole lot of science too? What does this mean for AGW? What about the peer review process as a whole? After all, peer review is supposed to mean that the science has passed muster with other scientists, and is held as being a higher standard. Yet how can we, the public, respect that when we’re told that it wasn’t really checked at all?

I think this is bad news for science all round, at least in the short term. I hope it will lead to a considerable tightening of the peer review process. What do you think?

I think it will be trumpeted to the skies by people hoping to degrade public acceptance of AGW, under a pretense of concern for scientific rigor.


The denial crowd is simply pulling a political tactic of throwing as much shit as they can, and hoping that some of it sticks.

And the only reason it’s working is because they did something faulty (if not out and out fraudulent)

Everyone is so ensconced in sensationalism of one thought or other and both sides are equally at fault. You’ll never hear the AGW proponents admit that.
Btw, I’m not on the denial side. I’m a fence sitter and this doesn’t help the case of AGW.

I have refereed over 80 papers for the Physical Review journals (Physical Review Letters, Physical Review B, and Physical Review E). I have also published about 30 papers in these and other physics journals.

In no case have I ever asked or been asked for raw data or computer codes. (As a referee, I have sometimes asked that authors explain their methodology a little better in the manuscript…or have asked them for some clarifications about aspects of the methodology that are unclear to me. And, I am quite sure that Prof. Jones has probably been requested to do that too by referees.)

Refereeing of papers is not meant to guarantee their correctness. Rather, it is meant to determine whether the paper is of sufficient merit to warrant being published so it can be read by other scientists who can then check it, extend it, or compare to it, as scientists have in regards to Jones’s work.

So, basically, I think this is much ado about nothing as most of the other responders so far have noted.

I think the article is giving a pretty misleading of what the peer-review processes supposed to do. Reviewers aren’t supposed to try and reconstruct the researchers work from just the raw materials. I do computer modeling with tens of thousands of lines of code and many terabytes of raw data, no reviewer is going to spend the months or years it would take to go through all that, even at a cursory level, and check all my work.

The Peer Review process is to make sure that the paper is interesting enough to warrent publishing, that the methodology makes sense on a conceptual level, and that there aren’t any obvious unadressed issues. The assumption is that I’m competant enough to do the nuts and bolts calculations I’m claiming that I’ve done.

Of course, sometimes researchers do screw up the nitty-gritty details, but that usually comes out when someone else publishes a paper where they’ve used similar methodology but come out with different results.


Prof Jones did something faulty or out and out fraudulent? What now?

Can I have a cite for this? Or did you just buy the shitty argument hook line and sinker, without any knowledge about what peer review actually is?

That helps clear things up a bit about the peer review process. I myself have never/never wanted to, have any published material. It interferes with my ability to hide from the government…

Is there anything stopping AGW deniers from asking to see the raw data? If not, then the complaint has no merit. If the deniers really had doubts, they would prove it by debunking the data. Pretending to be startled that no one else has reviewed it is not a refutation, it’s just a theatric. The fact that they are forced to resort to the theatric rather than actual, hard core critical analysis and refutation of data which is freely available to them is a virtual confession that they know they CAN’T refute the data. If they could they would. If they haven’t, it’s because they can’t. This theatrical tactic is just so much smoke. It’s a tactic I’ve also seen from creationists.

How can a referee determine if a paper is of sufficient merit without fact-checking the paper?

I’m not so sure. Does it not throw out the defence of something having been peer reviewed? Surely it makes the the fact that a paper has been peer-reviewed meaningless? I could write the most utter rubbish and as long as some of my peers say, “That looks interesting”, it will be published.

Further, a key metric of academic success is publication. As a non-academic I find publication without correctness very troubling.

Yes. Did you read the linked article? As it reports:

And Prof Jones himself has refused to release his data to scientists he sees as hostile.

I listened to an interview with another so-called controversial scientist, one Dr. Mann, and I got a good laugh out of his rebuttals. Refused to provide his data? No need, it’s already public domain. Refused to provide his code? No problem, it’s his intellectual property and always has been. He’s not obliged to give it to anyone. He did so in an act of good faith, but the anti-science crowd has nuthin’.

I thought the anti-science crowd was just trying to attack the results of climate study for the sake of their ideology, but learning that they just make stuff up at the administrative level too was eye-opening. It’s not just that the witch didn’t cause a plague to wipe out Farmer Jedidiah’s cows, it’s that the cows aren’t even dead.

I call bullshit on this, but if that’s really the case, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Your paid scientists working for the energy and auto industries will be able to expose the massive conspiracy colluded on by hundreds of thousands of scientists all over the world, and after that they can debunk evolution.

And then they can prove that tobacco smoke is good for you. After all, the linkage between the two is already there.

It’s not like Jones singlehandedly invented the idea of AGW. There have been numerous other sicentists who have actually done the same kind of work he claimed to have done. That’s probably what made it easy for him to fake his reports - other people had already gotten the kind of evidence he was looking for.

To put it in perspective, suppose Jones had been studying gravity and submitted reports on his findings. Then he admitted he had never performed any of the epxeriments he had claimed he made. Would this somehow call into question whether or not gravity existed?

Sorry, but it’s entirely true. He sent such emails. (See his admission about sending awful emails in that article).

Where were his reports shown to be faked?

I don’t hold nasty e-mails against Jones, they were sent after he was harrassed with 40 FOIA requests in two days for information that CRU could not legally divulge in any case. I wouldn’t be polite either.

Can you show evidence that Jones “faked his reports”? No?

It’s my understanding that while his work is currently being investigated by Muir Russell, former vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Jones insists he did nothing wrong.

So please refrain from using language that is inflammatory and incorrect.

Thank you

Yeah, time to rethink that empirical approach nonsense.

Is the modeling and data available for review?