Sunday, May 13, 2012


date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 11:33:34 -0400
from: Bob Davis <>
subject: Re: Draft CR editorial

Dear Hans:

It has yet to be demonstrated to me that there is any problem. A paper has
been published that some people disagree with...the authors have responded.
Isn't this the nature of the same scientific process that has worked just
fine for centuries? Many papers have been published with which I have
disagreed, but I never viewed the "process" to be flawed. Honest
scientists have differences of opinion. That is clearly the case here.
You should know that I know the parties on BOTH sides of this particular
issue and am not taking sides.

I cannot agree with your editorial since, in my view, there is no problem
with the peer-review process. Otto Kinne has already written what I feel
is the appropriate, and the only necessary, response. You can send that to
the Congressional staffer. There is no need for any additional response on
our part, and to do so seriously undermines the integrity of this journal
in the science community.


Bob Davis

>if there shall be an editorial in the next issue of Climate Research, this
>editorial must be completed until Monday noon time. It would be about 1
>page, not more than two. Not much time, but I think we should try it. This
>editorial would also be sent to this person from the US senate who was
>inquiring about the reivew process at CR. I have prepared a draft now, and
>I ask you to read it and come up with constructive comments.
>For me it is important that we admit that the result of the review process
>of Soon & Baliunas was insufficient, without "damaging" the reponsible
>editor. We should have been more vigilant after we had seen that actually
>two critical comments were written on the first Soon paper.
>On the other hand I want to avoid the perception that we would police
>controversial articles. Quite the contrary, we should be proud of having
>such articles, but it should be made explicit that the material IS
>controversial and that other quarters look at the evidence differently.
>One way of doing so would be to invite comments to be published together
>with the original article.
>Obviously, English is not my native language. I am sure that some helpful
>people at Inter-Research will help me to straigthen nout to clumsy
>formulations - but I would appreciate aour help also in this respect.
>Editor-in-Chief, Climate Research
>Hans von Storch; Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS Research Centre,
>Geesthacht, Germany
>ph: + 49 4152 87 1831, mobile +49 171 212 2046 fx +49 4152 87 2832
>presently: Kaspervej 2, 4673 Roedvig, Denmark, ph 0045 5650 6760
>Draft editorial
>Until now, Climate Research had a rather liberal procedure of processing
>submitted manuscripts. A group of several editors operated independently.
>Manuscripts dealing with ���basic and applied research devoted to all
>aspects of climate - present, past and future; effects of human societies
>and organisms on climate; effects of climate on the ecosphere.��� were and
>are welcome. Before publication they were subjected to a formal
>peer-review: ���Manuscripts are critically evaluated by at least 3
>reviewers. The editor decides on acceptance or rejection. Acceptable
>manuscripts are usually returned to the author for consideration of
>comments and criticism.��� (
> This approach worked
>out mostly fine, with a broad range of interesting and good articles. In
>fact, CR has managed to become a leading journal in interdisciplinary
>climate research.
>However, in recent months the procedure did function less well. In
>particular one article, by Soon and Baliunas (CR 23: 89-110), has caused
>considerable discussion. In fact, it was not the first article by these
>authors, which was perceived by different readers as methodically
>questionable (CR 18:259-275; CR 22:185-186/177-188; CR24:91-92/ 93-94).
>Also the recent article draw severe critique, which was made public by a
>thorough analysis of the results in the Transaction of the AGU, EOS (vol
>84, No. 27, 256). I find this critique well-taken. The major conclusion of
>Soon and Baliunas paper ���Across the world, many records reveal that the
>20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic
>period of the last millennium.��� can not be concluded from the evidence
>presented in that paper. The statement itself may be true, but the
>methodology used to arrive at this conclusion was flawed.
>On the other hand, the review process at CR was formally in order. Four
>different reviewers were involved. Thus, the editorial board of CR had to
>admit that the formal review rules are not sufficient to guarantee the
>required quality control of the review process. In particular, when
>controversial manuscripts have to be processed, the responsibility should
>not be placed on a single editor. Therefore the editorial board and the
>publisher have decided to change the routine. In particular the office of
>an Editor-in-Chief has been created, who shall supervise the quality of
>the review process and help individual editors with controversial
>I have been asked to take on the responsibility as Editor-in-Chief of
>Climate Research and I have accepted per 1. August 2003. An immediate
>consequence is that authors are requested to send manuscripts to the
>Editor-in-Chief; requests of authors to have their manuscript processed by
>a specific editor are welcome, but are not necessarily fulfilled.
>Only na��ve people think that climate science has only to do with facts and
>truth. In fact climate science is to some extent a social process, with
>many extra-scientific influences. Climate science is definitely in a
>postnormal stage, and we have to make sure that publications are not just
>reconfirming preconceived concepts, or concepts we have gotten to be used
>of. Ludwig���s Fleck remarkable analysis ���Genesis and Development of a
>Scientific Fact ��� describes this syndrome, which eventually leads to a
>dogmatization and stand-still of science. Thus, we need a certain level of
>liberalism. Articles must be allowed to present additional to its hard,
>and reproducible facts a certain amount of creative speculation. However,
>papers must be explicit where facts end and where fantasy begins.
>Hans von Storch, 24 July 2003

Robert E. Davis
Associate Professor and
Chair, Faculty Senate

Dept. of Environmental Sciences
P.O. Box 400123
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4123

phone: (434) 924-0579
fax: (434) 982-2137

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