Sunday, June 10, 2012


date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 14:01:23 -0400
from: Vernon Meentemeyer <>
subject: Re: Draft CR editorial
to: Bob Davis <>

Hello all: I am Vern Meentemeyer, a former regional editor for CR. In a few
words, I want to say that I agree with Bob. The process has worked and just
because some people disagree with the conclusions of the Soons and Baliunas
paper is not sufficient reason for a long explanation, or more rules and
restrictions placed on the editors. Let's use caution and avoid overreaction.

Bob Davis wrote:

> 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.
> Regards,
> Bob Davis
> >Folks,
> >
> >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.
> >
> >Regards
> >
> >Hans
> >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
> >manuscripts.
> >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
> e-mail:
> phone: (434) 924-0579
> fax: (434) 982-2137
> ------------------------

Vernon Meentemeyer
Department of Geography
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-2502, USA
Tel (+1)(706)542 2856
Fax (+1)(706)542 2388

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