by Judith Curry
The recent dust-up between Eric Steig and O’Donnell et al. is an interesting case study as we ponder the issue of reconciliation. This dust-up is in regard to the analysis of temperatures on Antarctica:
This is being discussed on several blogs, and has even brought co-author Jeff Id temporarily out of blogospheric retirement:
This is the noisiest scientific dust-up/dispute I’ve seen in awhile: the science that is being disputed seems pretty straightforward, the dispute seems to be more personal than scientific, IMO. So, lets discuss here some of the following issues of relevance to reconciliation and open and honest scientific debate:
- What constitutes “fair play” and honorable behaviour in a scientific debate?
- What is the role of the blogosphere in illuminating and settling scientific disputes?
- If the main goal is honest scientific debate, is civility necessary or desirable?
I look forward to your recommendations on how to have prevented such a dust-up, or is this just a particularly bloody example of how the “game” is played? (exactly why are we playing such games?)
I haven’t followed this too closely, but my personal reaction to this is that the editor of the journal should pay close attention to potential conflicts when an individual scientist whose paper is being critiqued is asked to review that same paper. Would an open discussion journal (e.g. online, with reviews online as well) have helped or hindered this?
Your thoughts on how to prevent/mediate (or whatever) such disputes? Or should we just sit back and bring on the popcorn? My concern is that owing to the public scrutiny of the climate field, such public and vehement disputes that seem to be an attempt to discredit rather than merely disagree don’t do anyone any favors. Suggestions for how to move forward this particular research question?