Monthly Archives: March 2012

Wiley cover-up: Complete Wegman and Said “redo” hides plagiarism and errors

I had thought the saga of climate science critic Edward Wegman and the various allegations of misconduct in his recent work could not possibly get any more bizarre, especially in the wake of manifestly contradictory findings in two recently concluded investigations at George Mason University.

But in a shocking new development,  it turns out that two problematic overview articles by Wegman and his protege and congressional report co-author Yasmin Said in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics (WIREs CS), have been completely revised. Those revisions saw the  removal or rewriting of  massive swathes of copy-and-paste scholarship, as well as correction of many errors identified by myself and others. In each case, the comprehensive revisions came “at the request of the Editors-in-Chief and the Publisher”, following complaints to Wiley alleging wholesale plagiarism. But Wegman and Said also happen to be two of the three chief editors of WIREs CompStat, thus raising compelling concerns of conflict of interest, to say the least.

In fact, it is very clear that Wiley’s own process for handling misconduct cases was egregiously abused in favour of a face-saving “redo” manoeuvre. And this latest episode raises disturbing new questions about the role of the third WIREs CS editor-in-chief (and “hockey stick” congressional report co-author) David Scott, and indeed Wiley management itself, in enabling the serial misconduct of Wegman and Said.

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Tom Harris, Heartland and the 2007 Bali open letter to the U.N.

Tom Harris

There has been renewed scrutiny of climate contrarian PR specialist Tom Harris in the wake of a highly critical report on a controversial course Harris taught at Carleton University, most recently in 2011. Much of the current interest in Harris has naturally focused on his involvement with the Heartland Institute, itself very much in the news following the leak of detailed budget and fundraising plans (accompanied by a suspect two-page strategy memo).

Today I’ll take a close look at the beginning of the Harris-Heartland connection in 2007, based on Heartland’s publicly available 2007 tax declaration and December 2007 press releases, as well as the illuminating full recorded interview of Harris by Suzanne Goldberg of the Guardian. Taken together, these provide compelling evidence that Heartland funded Tom Harris’s Natural Resource Stewardship Project right around the time that Harris was organizing the Bali contrarian petition attacking climate science, part of a broader attempt by Heartland to disrupt the December 2007 UNFCCC conference.

National Post financial editor Terence Corcoran essentially provided Harris the sole (but very powerful) PR channel for the petition, while hiding Harris’s involvement, a fact that the Post has never publicly acknowledged to this day. Now that it turns out that the effort was likely funded by the Heartland Institute, the Post’s credibility has been compromised even further.

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Open Thread, March-April 2012

Some possible topics that have come up in other threads:

1) CASS has issued a critique of Tom Harris‘s Carleton University climate change course (press release and full report), detailing “142 erroneous and fully-quoted claims”. This was covered by the Guardian (Suzanne Goldenberg), Post Media (Mike de Souza) and CBC. [h/t Holly Stick]

2) The Virginia Supreme Court has shot down Ken Cuccinelli’s CID fishing expedition seeking a broad swathe of material from Michael Mann’s time at University of Virginia. [The NCSE account and analysis of this development is now online – h/t Snapple]. Presumably, the focus will now be on the American Tradition Institute’s abusive efforts to get their hands on all of Mann’s UVa emails (as I recall they already have been given those they were entitled to). [h/t Rattus Norvegicus]

3) James Annan weighs in on Peter Gleick (and adds more in comments, expressing doubts about Gleick’s story concerning the Climate Strategy document. ).[h/t Gryposaurus with some replies as well (but that thread is really, really long now).]

Or anything else that comes up …