Dropping the P-Bomb

Contraian Publication RecordThe blogosphere, or at least the climate contrarian part of it, has been up in arms over supposed misconduct and plagiarism on the part of climate scientists. First, there was a minor kerfuffle earlier this summer over NOAA’s citation of the surfacestation.org website instead of an online publication by Anthony Watts. That turned out to be just the latest in a series of accusations of misconduct from ClimateAudit.org.

But that was nothing compared to the furor over the Corrigendum to the Steig et al. paper, “Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year” (just published in Nature). Steig et al. were accused of failing to acknowledge the role of Hu McCulloch in identifying an error in the calculation of trend significance. The corrigendum thus was held to constitute an act of plagiarism.

Meanwhile, some of the same bloggers who have risen up in righteous indignation and made groundless accusations against Steig et al, have been strangely silent regarding a real act of plagiarism, namely EPA economist Alan Carlin’s wholesale appropriation without attribution of large swathes of Patrick Michaels’ World Climate Report.

And, of course, an examination of the accusations against Steig et al shows them to be completely baseless. In fact, Hu McCulloch has apparently already withdrawn his accusations, although at present we have yet to see any apologies or retractions from Steig et al’s accusers.

Now, this is not the first time that Steve Mcintyre of ClimateAudit.org has dropped the P-Bomb (nor is it a first for Hu McCulloch for that matter). As mentioned above, McIntyre claimed that the omission of Anthony Watts name from the NOAA “talking points” memo on relaibility of the U.S. surface temperature record might constitute plagiarism, even though the whole memo was an evaluation of the data found at SurfaceStaions.org, which was acknowledged as the source of the analyzed data (BigCityLib held McIntyre’s feet to the fire on that, for instance here and here). It’s not even clear that the NOAA was aware of the Watts report, published by the Heartland Institute. But when they were made aware of it, they did change the citation.

Of course, the salient point here is that McIntyre failed to distinguish between plagiarism and possible improper (or lack of) acknowledgment. Other thinly-veiled or casual accusations of plagiarism at ClimateAudit.org can be found in these posts:

That takes us a little more than halfway through the Google search for “plagiarism” at CA, but frankly, I haven’t the stomach to keep going.

All of which brings us to this latest nonsense. In a post entitled the Steig Corrigendum, McIntyre opined:

US. federal policy defines plagiarism as follows:

Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Here [link omitted] is a discussion of the topic from Penn State, where Michael Mann of Steig et al has an appointment.

In an entirely unrelated development, Steig et al have issued a corrigendum in which they reproduce (without attribution) results previously reported at Climate Audit by Hu McCulloch … see comments below and Hu McCulloch’s post here [referring to McCulloch’s CA post of Feb. 26, entitled “Steig 2009’s Non-Correction for Serial Correlation”].

McCulloch chimed in to state that he had emailed the authors about the matter on February 28 (two days after his post). McCulloch went on to repeat the plagiarism charge in a letter to Nature:

There is no submission date published with the Corrigendum, but if it this was after Feb. 28, I would submit that this Corrigendum constitutes plagiarism as you define it.

I therefore request that you retract the Steig et al. Corrigendum and replace it with my e-mail to them, copied below. The e-mail provides the URL to my Feb. 26 Climate Audit post, “Steig 2009’s Non-Correction for Serial Correlation.”

Of course, reaction from the contrarian echo chamber was swift, with the usual suspects chiming in, namely WattsUpWithThat and Roger Pielke Jr.

The title of the riposte at Things Break sums up the situation nicely, at least with regard to Roger Pielke Jr’s effort:

“Honset Broker” bemoans lack of decency and in the same breath accuses others of plagiarism.

Reasonable commentators pointed out that on the face of it the issue was not palgiarism at all, but at most a possible issue of lack of acknowledgment for notification of error. Here’s commenter “andrewt” at RP jr’s blog:

In venues where acknowledgements of people who point out errors are normally included, omission of such an acknowledgement would be impolite and unprofessional but not plagiarism.

The Realclimate.org group (which includes lead author Eric Steig and co-author Michael Mann) has now responded in a forthright manner, and have dismissed the plagiarism charge in a cogent summary:

McCulloch accuses Steig et al. of appropriating his ‘finding’ that Steig et al. did not account for autocorrelation when calculating the significance of trends. While the published version of the paper didn’t include such a correction, it is obvious that the authors were aware of the need to do so, since in the text of the paper it is stated that this correction was made. The corrected calculations were done using well-known methods, the details of which are available in myriad statistics textbooks and journal articles. There can therefore be no claim on Dr. McCulloch’s part of any originality either for the idea of making such a correction, nor for the methods for doing so, all of which were discussed in the original paper. Had Dr. McCulloch been the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper, or had he written directly to Nature at any time prior to the submission of the Corrigendum, it would have been appropriate to acknowledge him and the authors would have been happy to do so. Lest there be any confusion about this, we note that, as discussed in the Corrigendum, the error has no impact on the main conclusions in the paper. [Emphasis added]

The group’s general comment about the contrarian blogs and their various accusations also bears repeating:

While commentary — even quite negative commentary — of papers on blogs is entirely reasonable (after all, we do it here occasionally), claims that a particular paper has been ‘discredited’ or ‘falsified’ that have not withstood (at minimum) the process of peer-review should be viewed with extreme skepticism. So should accusations of dishonesty or misconduct that have not already been conclusively and unequivocally substantiated.

Now it’s always possible, although unlikely, that Nature would have agreed that McCulloch should have been recognized in the Steig et al Corrigendum. But his absurd charge of plagiarism has surely poisoned the well to the point that it would be nigh impossible for Nature to find for him on the relatively minor acknowledgment issue. And, in fact, McCulloch did not ask Nature for acknowledment for advising Steig et al of an error (i.e. the failure to take into account the effect of autocorrelation on the significance of estimated trends). Rather, he only asked for a finding of plagiarism – and that finding simply can not be supported.

Anyway, it turns out that even the issue of acknowledgment is moot, because even before becoming aware of McCullough’s critique, Eric Steig had already recognized the autocorrelation adjustment error:

McCulloch’s email, which provided no details but pointed me to his post, was sent while I was in the field in Antarctica, and would have received notification that I was in gone, and not receiving email for the next month. McCulloch states very clearly in his letter that he didn’t think his work was important enough to warrant a letter to Nature, and he would have been well aware that I don’t read ClimateAudit. In any case, I had already recognized the error in our paper before I heard anything about McCulloch.

Furthermore, McCulloch himself has apparently agreed to withdraw the accusation:

For his part, McCulloch has acted very professionally and, in response to my letter to him explaining the actual sequence of events, has withdrawn his accusation.

It will be interesting to see when (or if) Steig et al’s various accusers proffer full and complete apologies.

[Update Aug. 14: Here is part of McCulloch’s statement at ClimateAudit:

Since Steig professes ignorance of my post and claims that he had not read it, I can only take him at his word. Accordingly, I wrote [Nature associate editor] White today thanking him for his prompt attention to the matter and withdrawing my complaint.

However, while ignorance may be an iron-clad defense against plagiarism, it is a rather dicey position academically speaking. Surely Steig and co-authors would at least read the vigorous and serious discussion of their paper on Climate Audit, the Air Vent, and other blogs, even if they do not deign to participate.

So the withdrawal seems decidedly half-hearted at this point. And McCulloch seems determined to discount Steig’s statement that he was aware of the problem before he had even “heard anything of McCulloch.” ]

Meanwhile treatment of another case of possible plagiarism over at WattsUpWithThat perhaps provides an instructive contrast. Careful readers will recall that I first raised the issue of plagiarism regarding the supposedly suppressed report from EPA economist Alan Carlin in my first post describing some of Carlin’s sources:

Maybe Carlin just pasted it all and hadn’t had time to go back and fix it (or even forgot that he hadn’t actually written it in the first place). But with the careful edits and slight rewordings already made in the opening section on van de Wal, the whole section definitely has a “plagiarism in progress” feel. It would be interesting to see the evolution of subsequent versions.

Note that although the evidence was compelling, I hadn’t yet come to a definitive conclusion as to whether the plagiarism was deliberate or not. That all changed when I discovered several more unattributed swathes, mainly from Patrick Michaels’ World Climate Report, all lightly edited so as to appear to be Carlin’s original work.

Meanwhile Anthony Watts had released the completed version of Carlin’s report. I pointed out to a Watts reader that he seeemed “unclear on the concept of plagiarism”. Watts deleted the comment but only after a moderator named Evan had replied, as I noted in a comment at Deep Climate:

Deep Climate (20:31:16) :

[snip, policy – if you want to accuse people of plagaism, put your name to it, 24 hour timeout for deepclimate]


Deep Climate (20:50:45) :

[REPLY – It was an internal report, not for publication, and, besides, it was fully footnoted. He neither claimed nor implied that he did any of the original research, himself. ~ Evan]

You are sadly mistaken. None of the World Climate Report material that Carlin cut and pasted was attributed or footnoted. In fact, Carlin carefully removed all references to World Climate Report, as I explained in my first post.

On June 30, Watts posted his policy on plagiarism (on the Carlin thread, but well down):

wattsupwiththat (10:41:46) :

NOTE to Phil. and All posters on WUWT

If you wish to accuse people of things like plagiarism, then you need to put your name on it.

That goes for everybody. I don’t mind opinions under handles. But, if you are going to make an accusation like plagarism, that requires stepping up. Otherwise, such posts will be deleted. – Anthony

24 hour timeout for Phil.

Thanks to Michael Searcy who posted a few hours later, Watts’s objection was removed, and the hypocrisy of the “policy” neatly skewered :

Anthony, I have to say I find your policy stand regarding anonymous plagiarism accusations a bit disingenuous. After all, this is the same blog that took a considerable amount of pride in facilitating communications with an anonymous source within the EPA who was accusing the agency of suppression. …

Regarding Deep Climate, he accurately points out that sections of Carlin’s report are lifted almost word-for-word from contrarian blog postings without attribution, with the pronouns in Carlin’s report indicating his personal ownership of the work. The evidence is openly there for anyone to examine. Whether or not DC associates his name with the discovery is immaterial, as you concluded with your anonymous EPA source. How those actions reflect on Carlin is for the reader to decide.

But that did not deter WattsUp readers. One actually claimed that Carlin was not a plagiarist because he “does not claim that it is his original ideas”. Another raised the preposterous possibility that Michaels got his material from Carlin at one of the EPA seminars Carlin organized:

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, when presenting one of these seminars, Michaels or some of his colleagues were in attendance. It’s possible that the web article was based on Carlin’s or his co-author’s own work, i.e. it simply could have been a derivative of presentation material obtained from one of Carlin’s seminars and posted anonymously with his permission.

And through it all there was naught but stony silence from Anthony Watts.

[Update August 14: Here is the graph at the top, enlarged]

Contraian Publication Record

I’ll leave the last word on contrarian blogs, and their predilection for accusations of misconduct, to the indefatigable “Phil.” (here dealing with a commenter’s accusations of fraud at a WattsUpWithThat guest post by Roger Pielke Sr):

[A]ccusations of fraud and plagiarism on here are treated differently depending on who is being accused.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


23 responses to “Dropping the P-Bomb

  1. Gavin's Pussycat

    Surely Steig and co-authors would at least read the vigorous and serious discussion of their paper on Climate Audit, the Air Vent, and other blogs,

    Vigorous? Sure… serious? Hmmm…
    Someone should enlighten Dr McCulloch on the kinds of things actively publishing scientists tend to waste their time on 😉

    [DC: Heck, I didn’t even read the WattsUp discussions about my blog until well after the fact. And I still can’t find the time to wade through it all.

    And there was soooo much verbiage on the Steig et al paper. What are scientists supposed to do – assign less favoured students to wade through it all to find if there’s anything of interest at all? That would be abusive.

    Anyway, I’m stunned that McCulloch still won’t admit that plagiarism is not, and never was, an issue. Not even close.

    As for McIntyre and the rest, if they spent their time working at climate science instead of slinging mud, maybe they could up their pitiful peer-reviewed climate science publication record. Hmmm … I think I’m getting a GraphJam idea.]

  2. How come RPjr is not on your graph? Pleez update!!!

  3. Steve Reynolds

    RC: “Had Dr. McCulloch been the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper, … it would have been appropriate to acknowledge him…”

    I’m not trying to accuse anyone of anything here, but is there any info about who this mystery person is that was ‘the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error’? He did not seem to be acknowledged anywhere.

    [DC: Of course, I have no idea who that “first person” was. However, it’s entirely possible that that person did not wish to be acknowledged.]

  4. ChetK:
    Regarding the Contrarian Publication Record graph

    RP jr is harder to research. He actually has a few peer-reviewed science papers, although they are swamped by the poli sci/policy stuff. But certainly one could argue that he belongs on the list.

    This first version was very quick and dirty (that’s why it says “estimated”). If there’s interest, I will update and try to incorporate suggestions.

  5. Steve Reynolds

    DC: However, it’s entirely possible that that person did not wish to be acknowledged.

    Again, not trying to accuse, but how do we know that first person (possibly one of the co-authors that McCulloch emailed) did not get his info from McCulloch’s post at CA?
    That possibility did not seem to be denied in the RC post.

    [DC: Sigh … there are endless possibilities. It could have been completely independent of McCulloch. It could be the “first person” got it from McCulloch, but didn’t mention it. Or that he or she got it indirectly from McCulloch, but didn’t realize that’s where it came from.

    But, of course, I take Steig at his word that he did not know of McCulloch at the time he decided a correction was necessary.

    Now that I’ve answered all your questions, please answer these. Do you agree or disagree that the plagiarism charge was unfounded, even if McCulloch had been the first to advise Steig of the error (which he wasn’t)? And doesn’t McCulloch owe Steig an apology for what was a patently false accusation?]

  6. “Had Dr. McCulloch been the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper,…”

    So who was the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper? Dr. McCulloch apparently sent an email to all six authors comprising Steig et al.

    Are Steig et al. claiming that none of them read the email (nor heard of Dr. McCulloch’s post at Climate Audit) before they themselves realized the error?

    [DC: Steig has been very clear that he had not even heard of McCulloch before he realized the error. If McCulloch still feels he wasn’t given appropriate acknowledgment, then he should take that up with Steig or with Nature. But McCulloch might be well advised to first unequivocally withdraw, and apologize for, his initial accusation of plagiarism, which was clearly specious from the start.

    By the way, McCulloch’s wild speculation that all climate scientists (except perhaps Steig) are avid readers of Climate Audit is utterly ridiculous. As RC said, it’s a fringe blog, at least from a scientific point of view.]

  7. “By the way, McCulloch’s wild speculation that all climate scientists (except perhaps Steig) are avid readers of Climate Audit is utterly ridiculous. As RC said, it’s a fringe blog, at least from a scientific point of view”

    In your view, is there any prominent blog which (1) takes the skeptical (or “contrarian”) view; and (2) is not a “fringe blog”?

    What blogs should folks like Steig read if they wish to see criticism and/or hostile criticism of their work?

    [DC: Such a blog should be (a) written by climate scientists and (b) focus on peer-reviewed science. And any substantive criticism discussed should also be submitted as an article, comment or letter as the case may be.

    So, for instance, Roy Spencer’s blog might have qualified, except that he seems to have a lot of posts about work that he can’t get published in the scientific press. He further undermined his credibility through such stunts as higher-order polynomial fitting on the UAH temperature series. See here for more on this.]

  8. Steve Reynolds

    DC: Do you agree or disagree that the plagiarism charge was unfounded, even if McCulloch had been the first to advise Steig of the error (which he wasn’t)?

    Since I’m not an academic, I am probably not aware of the subtle distinctions of what constitutes plagiarism there. McCulloch used this definition in his letter to Nature: According to your [Nature] Editorial Policies, “Plagiarism is when an author attempts to pass off someone else’s work as his or her own.”

    By that definition, if Steig used McCulloch’s calculation, then a failure to acknowledge McCulloch would seem to me to be a probably minor form of plagiarism.

    Interestingly, Steig’s revised calculation is apparently different (and possibly incorrect) from McCulloch’s: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6857

    The case is even less clear with this new info, but acknowledgement would still seem the proper conduct.

    [DC: “Minor plagiarism?” Is this like hockey, with major and minor penalties?

    As I’ve maintained from the beginning (well before the RC post on this matter), correction of an error is not “passing off someone else’s work” and can not rise to a finding of plagiarism. Or as Steig himself put it in his response to Nature:

    To suggest that correcting an error in my own work, using standard methods, constitutes plagiarism is specious.

    Quite so.]

  9. People, when re-reading their own work, often find errors themselves. I doubt anyone gets far in any serious endeavour, especially in science, without being relentlessly self critical.

    Some commenters here seem to think that someone must have told Steig about the error.

    But for any error, let alone one of a simple nature like we are talking about, isn’t it very likely that the author himself would have noticed the error, independently?

    [DC: It’s possible. And we should probably be careful to avoid parsing the various statements so as to read in more than there is. But the RC group did say:

    “Had Dr. McCulloch been the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper … it would have been appropriate to acknowledge him and the authors would have been happy to do so.”

    This could reasonably be construed as implying someone else was the “first person” to make the authors aware of the error. But, as you point out, that is not clearly and explicitly stated.

    Anyway, for me, the bottom line is that critics who wish to be acknowledged should go through the normal channels, and then blog about whatever they’ve submitted. And, of course, they should avoid making clearly false accusations.]

  10. Steve Reynolds

    Plagiarism or not, don’t you agree that if recognition of the error was initiated through whatever path by McCulloch’s work, that Steig should have given McCulloch some credit?

    Or is ignoring common courtesy justified in trying to keep what you consider a ‘fringe website’ on the fringe?

    [DC: It’s a decidedly gray area if he wasn’t the first to inform Steig. And we don’t know for sure that it is even the case that the chain began with McCulloch’s post.

    However, let’s say for the sake of argument, that Steig has now realized after the fact that “recognition of the error” was initiated by McCulloch (purely as a hypothetical exercise, since we don’t even know that it is the case that the chain of realization started with McCulloch). I would say it would be unbelievably magnanimous for Steig to extend that recognition at this point.

    And, also, don’t forget McCulloch has levelled at least one other accusation of plagiarism at climate scientists. I’ll say it again, if McCulloch wants to be recognized, he should unequivocally withdraw, and apologize for, all accusations of fraud and plagiarism and start over. If the contrarians want professional recognition, they need to start acting professionally.

    And I also note you still don’t recognize that this was clearly not a case of plagiarism.]

  11. Steve Reynolds

    Since we are being hypothetical here, let’s also assume McCulloch never made the plagiarism charge. Now do you agree that Steig should have given McCulloch some credit?

    DC: And I also note you still don’t recognize that this was clearly not a case of plagiarism.

    My position is that nothing is clear; we don’t have all the facts.

    [DC: I still think acknowledgment of McCulloch is a gray area. It’s a slippery slope when acknowledgments are expected for interactions outside the normal professional modes of scientific discourse.

    The situation is much clearer with regard to the plagiarism charge, of course. Whether you want to recognize it or not, McCulloch’s accusation was clearly false on its face.

    So on the one hand, we (perhaps) have a possible, hypothetical breach of professional courtesy, but it’s far from clear, even under the alleged circumstances. And on the other, we have, without a doubt, an egregiously unprofessional accusation of plagiarism, which by the way, is part of a long pattern of such attacks emanating from the same source. It’s time to put this in perspective once and for all, isn’t it?]

  12. Shoot, when I saw the “P” word I thought you were going to write about population and climate, thats what I call the “P” word

  13. Pingback: The insincerest form of denial | Climate Vine

  14. Steve Reynolds

    I don’t consider email as ‘interactions outside the normal professional modes of scientific discourse’.

    [DC: Publishing on a contrarian blog that is full of vituperation towards climate scientists, and then following up afterwards with an email, is outside the “normal mode” in my opinion. What McIntyre or Watts and their guests do is not science; it’s layman commentary – and long on rhetoric and short on relevant analysis at that.]

    ‘…part of a long pattern of such attacks emanating from the same source’ can of course also be viewed as part of a long pattern of people associated with RC attempting to deny credit to that source. Besides the well publicized cases, that seems to extend to censoring perfectly reasonable comments, and often treating that source as ‘he who must not be named’.

    [DC: As far as I’m aware, the record clearly shows a “long pattern” of speculative accusations and other assertions from ClimateAudit, with concomitant unprofessional behaviour. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that too.]

  15. “DC: Steig has been very clear that he had not even heard of McCulloch before he realized the error.”

    Yes, but he hasn’t stated how or when he realized the error. If he realized the error because one of his co-authors mentioned the error after getting Hu McCulloch’s email, Eric Steig might very well “not even heard of McCulloch” but still have been depending on McCulloch for realizing the error.

    Similarly, if someone in Antarctica mentioned the paper and the error (after reading or hearing of Hu McCulloch’s post) and Eric Steig then realized, “Oops, we goofed…” he would “not even have heard of McCulloch” but still would have been relying on McCulloch for realizing the error.

    That’s why I asked, “So who was the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper?”

    Note that I asked this same question at Real Climate. They did not post my question/comments.

    [DC: This amounts to an accusation based on a hypothetical sequence of events that Steig may, repeat may, have denied acknowledgment on a technicality to an individual who happens to be tied to a source of a pattern of vicious attacks on Steig and his colleagues, and who also subsequently showed his true colours by launching a false accusation of plagiarism.

    So let’s get this straight once and for all: You and your fellow CA commenters continue to excuse utterly false and reprehensible accusations of plagiarism from McIntyre, McCulloch and others, while continuing to attack Steig for what may be, at the very most, a lack of saint-like professional courtesy.

    You’ve had your say. We vehemently disagree and it’s time for you to move on.]

  16. The plagiarism accusation is inapt (is that a word) agreed. Acknowledgement is the issue. I find it likely (in a Bayesian “I would bet on it”, not in a j’accuse sense) that the Stieg Corrigendum knowledge of the mistake came from McC (perhaps through a co-author, perhaps Gavin, etc.).

    Note it’s possible to agree with your comment on plagiarism being the wrong term while still thinking the crew likely did McC a bit of a dirty. And it’s possible to beleive this even if Steig did not directly do it himself.

    It would be fascinating to know when the error was noticed, how, by whom, what discussions were had, etc. In a Bayesian sense, it seems unlikely (given that Gavin noted errors brought to light from CA, thus was reading it) that no one in the group was unaware of McC’s post. Perhaps they even were brought awarareness of it, but didn’t bother going to look at the skeptic posts, but still heard that it was getting fricassed a little.

    It’s also curious why the correction took so long to be published. It is a very simple calculation issue. The kind of thing Tammy notes easily. It’s one thing to dawdle on first publication…much worse to dawdle in publishing and correcting your mistakes that are in peer literature. And self publication was always an option as well. for speed. This is not uncommon for corrections.

    [DC: My point isn’t that plagiarism was the “wrong term”, but rather that the accusation was a very serious one of misconduct, but was blatantly false.

    And I have no doubt that, according to usual norms, Steig had no obligation to acknowledge McCulloch. And, even if the full circumstances pursuade one that McCulloch should have been acknowledged, the omission was at most a lapse of courtesy. There was no professional misconduct.

    As to the length of time for a Corrigendum, lead author Steig apparently spends a lot of time in the field. There are also likely longish publishing lead times and other systematic delays.]

  17. I’m actually curious why [edit: Tamino] didn’t note it…or mention approvingly McC’s posts from last February. If the issue is really to do better work and math…whichever way it cuts….rather than politics…it seems that this would have been right up his alley. You’re actually one of the few on the skeptic side (Atmoz another) that I would trust to exhibit interest in a calculation mistake whichever way it cut or who had done it.

    [DC: There’s a signal to noise ratio problem at ClimateAudit. And a lot of the noise is not just wrong or confusing information, but quite frankly includes a lot offensive invective. It’s agreed on all sides that McCulloch’s critique raised a valid point, but that’s one post out of dozens just on Steig et al. A lot of people have decided not to read CA, simply on principle or lack of time or a myriad other reasons.

    So Tamino likely didn’t know about it. Would he have written about it if he had? Probably not.

    You said “skeptic”, but you meant, I’m guessing, AGW consensus side. Anyway … If you read the discussion threads on Mann et al 2008 at CA, you’ll have noticed that I pointed out, or agreed with, some things that could have been done differently, even though my admitted primary motivation was to provide a voice of from the “other side”.

    I’m also not a UAH vs RSS purist, and think Christy and Spencer may well have had a possible valid point about the “step” in RSS, although I haven’t studied that in detail.

    The fact is, though, that I am not a trained scientist, let alone an active climate scientist. So a) what I think is a valid criticism may or may not be in fact valid, but b) I do have a little less personal investment in all this. ]


  18. Also if an acknowledgement is warrented, it doesn’t become unwarrented because of harsh or silly or just casual blog articles. I would acknwoledge someone even if they were murder. They are really independant issues. Note that Tim Lambert deserved acknowledgemng s for things he found. Same with [edit: Tamino] etc.

    [DC: Please don’t call him that. a) Nobody knows who you are talking about and b) It’s not nice.

    As I’ve made very clear, the acknowledgment of McC was at best in the gray zone, i.e. discretionary. Under those circumstances, yes, the history matters.

    Tim Lambert – do you mean with regard to mistakes he found in McKitrick paper, IIRC? I’m not sure what happened there – was there an official correction without acknowledgment?]

  19. Had some (even gentler) questions/comments in the RC queue. They have been dissappeared now, with other recent comments showing.

    [DC: I’m going to allow this – but for future reference, I’d prefer not to discuss here comments or comment policy at RC, except to say I think their policies make more sense than Watts or CA, IMHO.]

  20. “That’s why I asked, ‘So who was the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper?'”

    “This amounts to an accusation…”

    Nonsense. Asking who was the first person to make Steig et al. aware of the error in the paper isn’t an accusation at all. It’s a question. There’s no implication of any wrongdoing.

    [DC: I was responding to your suggestion that one of Steig’s co-authors told Steig, after reading McCulloch’s post. So now you’re saying that you think even if one of them did apprise Steig, neither of them did anything wrong. I’m sure you’re right, but if that’s what you really think then why did you ask the question?

    I’ll also take your comment to mean that you understand the accusation of plagiarism from McCulloch and McIntyre against Steig was wholly without foundation. It would have been better if you had admitted that explicitly (which you still haven’t).]

    But what WAS wrong was for Real Climate not to publish my question…or even acknowledge that they’d refused to publish it. That *was* dishonest. (And it certainly wasn’t the first time Real Climate has been dishonest in that way and others.)

    [DC:It takes a lot of effort to reply to your nonsense. If I were getting hundreds of comments, I’m not sure I would bother. I vehemently disagree with your contention that RC snipping your comment was “dishonest”. If you make further wild accusations, I will probably snip them myself. Enough is enough.]

  21. Hi, Just found your blog.
    Couldn’t find a general comments page – to post new topic suggestions. Is there one or an email address that I missed.


    [DC: Ask and you shall receive. There is now a new Reader Suggestions page in the top menu of links. Thanks for your interest.]

  22. Tammy has never objected to that name and it was said friendly. If he tells me he doesn’t like that, I’ll stop. But no offense meant.

    I already agreed that the issue of an acknowledgement is one of courtesy and that plagiarism is different. How did you not grok that?

    Well…you may not think an acknowledgment would be warrented (in the hypothetical), but I know more about publishing in the peer reviewed lit than you do (both from doing it and reading about it). And RC disagreed with you also.

    [DC: Whatever hypothetical situation is held by RC (including Steig) to warrant an acknowledgment is fine with me.

    Most would not consider using a woman’s nick name friendly. But, coming from you, maybe it is … TCO, you’re one of a kind – I’ll give you that. And always interesting … even if some comments are clearly for my private enjoyment and or bafflement.]

  23. I agree with you on the signal to noise issue as well. that is why it is damning that McI does not publish and that his little cheering section hoi pollois yuck yuck and think the guy is doing something memorable with the plethora of half baked posts and abondoned ideas.