The troubled institution of science

by Judith Curry

“Is the point of research to make other professional academics happy, or is it to learn more about the world?” —Noah Grand, sociology professor, UCLA

“Science, I had come to learn, is as political, competitive, and fierce a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths.” — Paul Kalanithi, neurosurgeon and writer (1977–2015)

Vox has conducted a very interesting study and has written a long, insightful article: The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 researchers.   Excerpts:

In the past several years, many scientists have become afflicted with a serious case of doubt — doubt in the very institution of science.

As reporters covering medicine, psychology, climate change, and other areas of research, we wanted to understand this epidemic of doubt. So we sent scientists a survey asking this simple question: If you could change one thing about how science works today, what would it be and why?

We heard back from 270 scientists all over the world, including graduate students, senior professors, laboratory heads, and Fields Medalists. They told us that, in a variety of ways, their careers are being hijacked by perverse incentives. The result is bad science.

The scientific process, in its ideal form, is elegant: Ask a question, set up an objective test, and get an answer. Repeat. 

But nowadays, our respondents told us, the process is riddled with conflict. Scientists say they’re forced to prioritize self-preservation over pursuing the best questions and uncovering meaningful truths.

Today, scientists’ success often isn’t measured by the quality of their questions or the rigor of their methods. It’s instead measured by how much grant money they win, the number of studies they publish, and how they spin their findings to appeal to the public.

“As long as things like publication quantity, and publishing flashy results in fancy journals are incentivized, and people who can do that are rewarded … they’ll be successful, and pass on their successful methods to others.”

Many scientists have had enough. They want to break this cycle of perverse incentives and rewards. They are going through a period of introspection, hopeful that the end result will yield stronger scientific institutions. In our survey and interviews, they offered a wide variety of ideas for improving the scientific process and bringing it closer to its ideal form.

Academia has a huge money problem

Their gripe isn’t just with the quantity, which, in many fields, is shrinking. It’s the way money is handed out that puts pressure on labs to publish a lot of papers, breeds conflicts of interest, and encourages scientists to overhype their work.

Grants also usually expire after three or so years, which pushes scientists away from long-term projects. Yet as John Pooley, a neurobiology postdoc at the University of Bristol, points out, the biggest discoveries usually take decades to uncover and are unlikely to occur under short-term funding schemes.

Some of our respondents said that this vicious competition for funds can influence their work. Funding “affects what we study, what we publish, the risks we (frequently don’t) take,” explains Gary Bennett a neuroscientist at Duke University. It “nudges us to emphasize safe, predictable (read: fundable) science.”

Finally, all of this grant writing is a huge time suck, taking resources away from the actual scientific work.

Too many studies are poorly designed. Blame bad incentives.

Scientists are ultimately judged by the research they publish. And the pressure to publish pushes scientists to come up with splashy results, of the sort that get them into prestigious journals. 

Some of this bias can creep into decisions that are made early on.  Many of our survey respondents noted that perverse incentives can also push scientists to cut corners in how they analyze their data.

“I have incredible amounts of stress that maybe once I finish analyzing the data, it will not look significant enough for me to defend,” writes Jess Kautz, a PhD student at the University of Arizona. “And if I get back mediocre results, there’s going to be incredible pressure to present it as a good result so they can get me out the door. At this moment, with all this in my mind, it is making me wonder whether I could give an intellectually honest assessment of my own work.”

Increasingly, meta-researchers (who conduct research on research) are realizing that scientists often do find little ways to hype up their own results — and they’re not always doing it consciously. 

“The current system has done too much to reward results,” says Joseph Hilgard, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “This causes a conflict of interest: The scientist is in charge of evaluating the hypothesis, but the scientist also desperately wants the hypothesis to be true.”

“I would make rewards based on the rigor of the research methods, rather than the outcome of the research,” writes Simine Vazire, a journal editor and a social psychology professor at UC Davis. “Grants, publications, jobs, awards, and even media coverage should be based more on how good the study design and methods were, rather than whether the result was significant or surprising.”

“We’ve gotten used to working away in private and then producing a sort of polished document in the form of a journal article,” Gowers said. “This tends to hide a lot of the thought process that went into making the discoveries. I’d like attitudes to change so people focus less on the race to be first to prove a particular theorem, or in science to make a particular discovery, and more on other ways of contributing to the furthering of the subject.”

“I think the one thing that would have the biggest impact is removing publication bias: judging papers by the quality of questions, quality of method, and soundness of analyses, but not on the results themselves,” writes Michael Inzlicht, a University of Toronto psychology and neuroscience professor.

JC note:  New Scientist just published a relevant article Evolutionary forces are causing a boom in bad science.

Peer review is broken

The process frequently fails to detect fraud or other problems with manuscripts, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider researchers aren’t paid or otherwise rewarded for the time they spend reviewing manuscripts.  That’s not to mention the problem of peer review bullying. 

“We need to recognize academic journals for what they are: shop windows for incomplete descriptions of research, that make semi-arbitrary editorial [judgments] about what to publish and often have harmful policies that restrict access to important post-publication critical appraisal of published research.” —Ben Goldacre, epidemiology researcher, physician, and author

“The current peer review process embraces a concept that a paper is final,” says Nosek. “The review process is [a form of] certification, and that a paper is done.” But science doesn’t work that way. Science is an evolving process, and truth is provisional. So, Nosek said, science must “move away from the embrace of definitiveness of publication.”

One possible model already exists in mathematics and physics, where there is a long tradition of “pre-printing” articles. Studies are posted on an open website called arXiv.org, often before being peer-reviewed and published in journals. There, the articles are sorted and commented on by a community of moderators, providing another chance to filter problems before they make it to peer review.

And even after an article is published, researchers think the peer review process shouldn’t stop. They want to see more “post-publication” peer review on the web, so that academics can critique and comment on articles after they’ve been published. Sites like PubPeer and F1000Research have already popped up to facilitate that kind of post-publication feedback.

The bottom line is that traditional peer review has never worked as well as we imagine it to — and it’s ripe for serious disruption.

Too much science is locked behind paywalls

Many of our respondents urged their peers to publish in open access journals (along the lines of PeerJ or PLOS Biology). But there’s an inherent tension here. Career advancement can often depend on publishing in the most prestigious journals, like Science or Nature, which still have paywalls.

There’s also the question of how best to finance a wholesale transition to open access. After all, journals can never be entirely free. Someone has to pay for the editorial staff, maintaining the website, and so on. Right now, open access journals typically charge fees to those submitting papers, putting the burden on scientists who are already struggling for funding.

As a model, Cambridge’s Tim Gowers has launched an online mathematics journal called Discrete Analysis. The nonprofit venture is owned and published by a team of scholars, it has no publisher middlemen, and access will be completely free for all.

Bohannon reported that millions of researchers around the world now use Sci-Hub, a site set up by Alexandra Elbakyan, a Russia-based neuroscientist, that illegally hosts more than 50 million academic papers. “As a devout pirate,” Elbakyan told us, “I think that copyright should be abolished.”

One respondent had an even more radical suggestion: that we abolish the existing peer-reviewed journal system altogether and simply publish everything online as soon as it’s done.

Rachel Harding, a genetic researcher at the University of Toronto, has set up a website called Lab Scribbles, where she publishes her lab notes on the structure of huntingtin proteins in real time, posting data as well as summaries of her breakthroughs and failures. The idea is to help share information with other researchers working on similar issues, so that labs can avoid needless overlap and learn from each other’s mistakes.

Not everyone might agree with approaches this radical; critics worry that too much sharing might encourage scientific free riding. Still, the common theme in our survey was transparency. Science is currently too opaque, research too difficult to share. That needs to change.

Life as a young academic is incredibly stressful

The core point underlying all these suggestions, however, was that universities and research labs need to do a better job of supporting the next generation of researchers. Indeed, that’s arguably just as important as addressing problems with the scientific process itself. Young scientists, after all, are by definition the future of science.

 “Many creative, hard-working, and/or underrepresented scientists are edged out of science because of these issues. Not every student or university will have all of these unfortunate experiences, but they’re pretty common. There are a lot of young, disillusioned scientists out there now who are expecting to leave research.”

JC note:  on this  topic, NYTimes has an article  So many research scientists, so few openings as professors.

JC reflections

This paper provides a remarkable synthesis of many problems with the institution of academic research, summarizing many topics that have been the subject of previous CE posts (sociology of science tag).

The institutions and processes of science are not writ in stone – they evolve with new insights and wisdoms, and also with the technologies of the times.  We are currently stuck with a late 20th century model for science, one that does not account for the current emphasis of academia on ‘flash’ publications in Nature/Science/PNAS, the politicization and associated biases in many research fields (notably climate science), and of course the internet.  The root of the problem in 21st century science is viewing successful science as a ‘result’, rather than as a process.

It’s long past time to break the perverse incentives that rule academic research.

These days, I have little to no influence in academia, but here is my advice anyways.  Stop judging your faculty hires and promotions based on the ‘flash’ criteria (e.g, Nature/Science publications and sexy press releases).  Instead, focus on the mathematical and scientific rigor of the faculty members research, along with their potential to identify new and interesting research problems, which may or may not have eventual practical applications or generate media interest.  Include in your reward system recognition for faculty members that make all of their research materials available online (published papers, data, code and notes that provide further information on research methods, rationale for experimental design, and ideas/methods that were tried and rejected).  Bonus points for writing an online essay (scientific american style) that places the paper/results in a broader context, explains it to the lay public, discusses uncertainties, and where this might lead in the future.

I am totally in favor of open access publishing.  There are many different models being tried – preprint archives with comments, post publication peer review, etc.  The main point is the the internet affords a much more rational way for communicating science research among peers, and the gatekeeping of the elite journals, along with press embargoes and firewalls, impedes and slows scientific progress.  How to facilitate this transition with the professional societies that publish journals is a key challenge.  I am hoping that the American Meteorological Society might be open to some of these ideas – they were an early adopter in online publishing.

I am particularly concerned about the plight of young scientists.  The stresses are horrendous, the rewards are much more difficult to discern – apart from the extreme difficulty and unlikelihood of landing a tenure track faculty position, the intellectual rewards of scientific research have been diminished by the perverse incentives of succeeding in academia.  Again, this is an area that I have little influence on these days.

I think that a key issue is to prepare graduate students for careers in the private sector, and to grow the private sector applications of their research area.  Some universities are doing a really good job at developing/promoting entrepreneurship at the undergraduate level (including Georgia Tech).  However little to nothing is done for graduate students – in fact, graduate students are typically discouraged/prevented from engaging with faculty member start-up companies.  I am thinking that professional societies could help with this, as well as the private sector companies (I have some ideas along these lines that I will flesh out in a future blog post).

We need to rethink how we approach graduate education and research, which will require changes to how all this is funded. We need 21st century approaches to this.  Its pretty clear what the problems are, I look forward to hearing about your ideas for solutions.

 

 

 

317 responses to “The troubled institution of science

  1. The entire post-war science setup is an exercise in bureaucratic standardization of something that cannot be standardized – insights about the world. We’ve seem to have forgotten that most discoveries and inventions came about not through any professional system of grants, publications, and peer review, but through putting men and women who were brilliant/eccentric in charge and letting them do their own thing.
    Since discovery is a highly stochastic process, the linear incentives for ‘more publication, more rewards’ are thoroughly destructive – I would destroy the entire grant-making system. If the government wants to fund science, it can go back to the old DARPA days of letting INDIVIDUALS choose to fund other INDIVIDUALS/teams, instead of grant-whoring on some fraudulent metrics.

  2. I’m thinking of an old-fashioned example, the guild, where you started out as an apprentice, became a journeyman, then a craftsman and a master craftsman. (Please overlook the gender-specific names.) To move up in the hierarchy you had to prove possession of certain essential skills.

    Dr. Curry, you set out a list of criteria you would look for in a paper. This list could be developed into an outline for grading papers so that no matter what field you’re working in, you can acquire grade points that define your level as a professional scientist.

    This leaves open the questions of who would do the grading, and how it would help you in your career to have attained any particular level.

  3. Perhaps scientists need to take the equivalent of a poverty vow? I know that sounds extreme, but it would stand to lend credibility where such might be lacking currently.

    I have been studying Henry Mintzberg’s two-factor theory recently. Particularly, I have enjoyed Clayton Christensen’s elucidation of hygiene factors (including money) as separate from “motivators”.

    It seems to me (from reading the above) that money is leading science astray. Without going to far astray with mystical terms, is science now overrun by disrespect for a sort of sacred integrity which typifies the best of the discipline?

    I realize “science” is a very broad categorization.

    It just seems from reading the above that perhaps the priorities of the field are not currently in the order which would best serve the quality of output.

    As money will never disappear (or, at least, not in the foreseeable future), should science reward achievement in some other way? Should receiving conspicuous amounts of money for scientific research be more of a stigma than it is currently?

    Please forgive me for grasping at straws. I do not fully understand the issues, but would like to help if I can.

    Thank you,

    Paul

    • Pauly

      It’s all very well for scientists to take a poverty vow but they are likely to have racked up tens of thousands in order to get their degree then need to live where the work is which are likely to be in expensive cities.

      I am not sure why they should be expected to do this and doubt of many scientists are in the profession in order to become wealthy

      Tonyb

      • You are quite right! It is not fair to expect more of scientists than of other professionals. I suppose my suggestion would apply to all professionals.

        I guess that would make me anti-capitalist (and I certainly am not). But nevertheless, it is a conundrum of credibility.

        It seems to me that there is a vast gulf between the educated (in science) and the uneducated. I would count myself in the latter group, but I want to learn.

        Those who cannot judge scientific statements on the logic of expertise may be judging on other criteria (such as the old trope “follow the money”).

        As I said, it is an imbroglio. As the divide between rich and poor, so the divide between educated and uneducated.

        I suppose I am proposing a strategy of differentiation for scientists who wish to be at a sort of ethical vanguard. Their sacrifice would be double. At least.

        Thank you,

        Paul

    • Paul, Your desire to help is appreciated but the idea that taking a vow of poverty would help scientists achieve their goals is way off base.
      #1 – who would choose the occupation? Pretty much no one if a vow of poverty were required.
      #2 – It is illogical that someone living in poverty would be able to solve the world problem of poverty. It is a solvable problem.
      #3 – No one else’s lack of financial resources benefits me or any other. People who live in poverty are far more likely to burden society than uplift society. It is not through some taking little and suffering that humanity is uplifted. Humanity is uplifted when all thrive and are able to self-actualize and move toward fulfilling as much as possible of their personal potential.

      Jeanine Joy

  4. Curious George

    In 2016 Sci-Hub’s .io domain was taken offline after a complaint from Elsevier, according to Wikipedia, but there are other options,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub

    I think of Academia as a troubled institution (not only of science) ever since reading Kingsley’s Lucky Jim.

    • Curious George,

      Sci-hub still up and running. Sci-hub.cc. Elsevier is powerless.

      Cheers.

      • Re: sci-hub: you just have to install some software from Russia on your computer. What could possibly go wrong?

      • Jim D,

        Maybe you have a strange computer. I use Google, and Safari. The domain is Australian (Cocos – Keeling Islands believe).

        I wouldn’t install Unknown Russian software if I were you.

        Cheers.

      • I’ve already got Microsoft and Google in my computer. After them, the Russian mob doesn’t seem that corrupt.

      • I’ve already got Microsoft and Google in my computer. After them, the Russian mob doesn’t seem that corrupt.

        I realize it’s not very fashionable, but people really ought to be thanking Microsoft, they are very much part of the reason we have GHZ multiple core cpus, near real time 3d graphic rendering, TB hard drives, and on and on the list is long and impressive.
        Don’t believe me? Consider how the pc started and how they exceed the performance of million dollar supercomputers now, and where the rising stars of the computer industry are now.

      • Be very wary of the .cc domain. Not much monitoring there. Clue: I don’t think the sci-hub folks live in the Cocos Islands and their site is partially in Russian. Oddly the Turkish part of Cyprus also uses .cc.

      • JimD,

        What are you trying to say? That if the US has no legal control over something, it’s automatically suspect?

        Who do you think should control the Internet? The FBI? The CIA? Maybe The US President? You talk about freedom, but don’t seem to be impressed if others exercise it.

        Here’s a clue for you – 97% of the world’s population can be resentful of US bullying tactics (or not) as they wish. I’ve included a proportion of the US population, guessing that not all of them support bullying interference, either.

        Here’s another clue : the Cyrillic alphabet is used in several languages. Just like the Devanagari alphabet is used for Hindi, Sanskrit etc. Strangely, the Roman alphabet is used not only for English and French, but also for many American dialects – Texan, Californian, New York and so on.

        Just funnin’ ya, of course.

        Cheers.

      • MF, yes, as I said: what could possibly go wrong? You seem to have taken it the wrong way.

      • Jim D,

        You said you have to install some Russian software on your computer.

        Maybe foolish Warmists have to. I don’t. You make another foolish unsupported assertion.

        Then you tell me it seems I have taken your statement the wrong way. How should I take a statement saying a certain thing has to be done? You appear to be complaining that I responded to what you wrote, pointing out you were wrong.

        Typical foolish Warmist nonsense. Deny, divert, confuse.

        Cheers.

    • David Wojick

      Sci-Hub is a pirate, stealing papers from publishers. Is this what people want?

      • “Intellectual Property” is a cultural artifact (contra Ayn Rand). With the Internet, culture is changing. Different people have different ideas how that change should turn out.

        When rent-seeking institutions use their government connections for laws protecting “property” you don’t agree should be “property”, why should you go any farther honoring those laws than the government can enforce them?

      • David Wojick

        So you do not believe in property. Duly noted. See you in jail.

      • So you do not believe in property.

        That’s not what I said.

        Duly noted.

        Nope.

        You didn’t read what I said, you just created some straw man based on your own biases.

        See you in jail.

        I don’t know of any reason to supposed I’ll visit you there.

      • There are many questions being raised as to how much the United States has sacrificed in its trade deals, harming other products, just so it could protect intellectual property rights, which disproportionately benefit large transnational corporations:

        Summing up, it seems to me that the expansionist tendency of copyright into technological domains, far from representing a well-balanced response to the need to foster dynamic processes of innovation, blatantly serves powerful corporate interests aimed at preserving their market domiance for as long as possible by trying to exclude current and potential competitors.

        This results in unbalanced protection that sacrifices the dynamics of competitive innovation.

        In the longer terms…this might lead to an overall reduction in innovative output, as an even smaller group of “unchallenged” firms consolidate almost total control of the innovation market.

        — GUSTAVO GHINDINI, Intellectual Property and Competition Law: The Innovation Nexus

      • There are many questions being raised as to how much the United States has sacrificed in its trade deals, harming other products, just so it could protect intellectual property rights, which disproportionately benefit large transnational corporations:

        There are also question on how much US IP is stolen by foreign countries and corporations, the idea that the work I’ve done on the behalf of both customers and my employer should be given away or be free to steal is insulting, I’ve invested over 30 years in learning my unique skills, they have has intrinsic value.
        And it’s even more important for small enterprises, you must not realize we have entered the next industrial revolution, it’s actually a couple such waves hitting almost all at the same time.
        First is the commoditization and automation of manufacturing, between being able to rent a factory to build whatever to 3d printing which for low volume will do that.
        Second is virtual design tools, 3d mechanical, electronics, fmea, simulations, the ramification of thus is a hand full of talented people can design and bring significant technology to market in less time and money than ever before, and every bit is digital ip.
        As manufacturing becomes more automated, corporate value will be the ip.
        On the other hand, I published my climate code for the first time 3 or 4 years ago. Both IP, one scientific one commercial, they each need their own protection.

      • David Wojick

        This is the outlaws creed right? “…why should you go any farther honoring those laws than the government can enforce them?” Or are you advocating civil disobedience? Break laws you do not agree with? Go to jail to make a point? If your claim is that copyright is wrong may you rot there.

        By the way, all laws are cultural artifacts. So is science. That does not make them wrong.

      • What the Trans-Pacific Partnership gets wrong about intellectual
        http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/259991-what-the-trans-pacific-partnership-gets-wrong-about

        Chapters on environmental and labor standards are sure to get a lot of attention, but there is one chapter in particular that should be of concern to those concerned with innovation and freedom of expression: the chapter on intellectual property.

        In recent years, the intellectual property (IP) system has been twisted beyond its original intention. Instead of providing incentives for creators, it is now a tool of media conglomerates to shut down competition and capture monopoly profits almost indefinitely….

        The result of all this is actually the stifling of innovation, where a lack of clarity over long-dead rights holders has a chilling effect on creators afraid of inviting lawsuits, and the ability to build on previous discoveries remains limited.

        The IP chapter of TPP should be dismaying to would-be reformers, because instead of reining in the kudzu-like growth of America’s intellectual property system, the deal would export many of our worst laws to countries that can afford them even less than we can.

      • AK: “Intellectual Property” is a cultural artifact (contra Ayn Rand).

        So are “private property”, “public property”, and all other notions of “property”. They are culture-bound, and even within cultures they evolve over time. Ideas and experimental results are the result of individual and team work, so I think the individual and teams that produce the work have earned some “property” rights. The details can be debated (as with all other social and cultural constructs). If you make a chair from wood it’s yours, unless by contract you have been paid to make it for someone else; I think, by analogy with that and other earned property rights, scientists deserve some property rights for their intellectual products; and analogously for publishers (who enjoy property rights for their publications of old novels and music even “in the public domain”.) Without some property rights, that work product will not become public property, it will most likely disappear.

      • TPP: The New Gold Standard for Intellectual Property Protection in Trade Agreements?
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eastwest-center/tpp-the-new-gold-standard_b_9544428.html

        One area in which the TPP is particularly innovative concerns the protection of intellectual property rights, or IPRs.

        The history of the “marriage of convenience” between trade policies and IPR protection goes back many decades. IPRs are territorial by nature (i.e., the rights are awarded and enforced at national level), and attempts to promote harmonization and coordination across countries can be traced back to the 19th century….

        This led to the adoption of the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as an outcome of the Uruguay Round that led to the creation of the WTO in 1995.

        Since then, however, industry groups from innovation-led countries have continued to lobby for the inclusion of IPR chapters in trade agreements, focusing on preferential trade negotiations. The new generation of preferential trade agreements negotiated by the USA – starting with NAFTA – typically included “TRIPS plus” provisions. The EU also followed a similar track. Moreover, IPR provisions became standard in bilateral investment treaties entered by both the US and the EU with other nations.

        In negotiating the TPP, the US put emphasis on longer terms of copyright protection and regulatory changes that would effectively translate into longer patent terms and constrain the entry of generic drugs into TPP markets, as well as additional rules for biologic medicines (pharmaceutical products developed from living organisms) including minimum standards for data protection….

        The TPP (once ratified) offers a natural experiment for the implications of higher standards of IPR protection with respect to innovation and transfer of knowledge. Will the developing countries that are TPP members experience an increase in innovation activities and better access to foreign know-how vis-à-vis countries at similar stages of development that have weaker standards of protection? Or will the TPP simply “export” to other countries the flaws of the US IPR system with its emphasis on litigation (as illustrated by the growing role of non-practicing entities – i.e., entities that focus on licensing and litigation of IPRs rather than production and innovation) and loopholes that allow for strategic behavior to block the introduction of generic drugs. Only time will tell.

      • @David Wojick…

        This is the outlaws creed right? “…why should you go any farther honoring those laws than the government can enforce them?”

        It’s actually the anarchist’s “creed”. “Government” is just a fancy word for the biggest bandit.

        Or are you advocating civil disobedience? Break laws you do not agree with?

        Not advocating. The choice to do so or not is an individual’s right. The individuals who choose not to judge the actions of the “government” that claims ownership over them have no right to complain at being the victims of actions against that government.

        Go to jail to make a point? If your claim is that copyright is wrong may you rot there.

        You obviously have little skill at logic: if the government can’t enforce one of its “laws”, people won’t go to jail for breaking it.

        Conversely, if you can go to jail for breaking that law, then clearly the government can enforce it.

        If your claim is that copyright is wrong may you rot there.

        1000 years ago you’d have been laughed out of any tavern just for suggesting such an inanity as “copyrights”. Then came the printing press, and governments started setting up copyrights as an incentive to printing new material. Nothing natural about it. Just a temporary cultural insanity.

        1000 Hence? …

        By the way, all laws are cultural artifacts. So is science.

        Not the way “intellectual” property is.

        Physical property may have some innate mechanisms behind it, the way territory does in most vertebrates and many other life forms. “Intellectual property”? Not so much.

        That does not make them wrong.

        Doesn’t make them right either. Real humans reserve the right to judge such things for themselves. Sheeple get eaten, eventually.

        @matthewrmarler…

        “Intellectual Property” is a cultural artifact (contra Ayn Rand).

        So are “private property”, “public property”, and all other notions of “property”.

        Perhaps. But I doubt it. IMO there’s probably an innate neurological primitive behind “property” in the physical sense of tools/weapons. Just as there almost certainly is behind “territory” in most vertebrates.

        In (pre-agricultural) humans and our closest relatives territory seems to usually be held by a low-level group. But for weapons and other tools, only for humans, there appears to be the potential for individual ownership, including such ownership to vest in the creator until transferred.

        I’d guess there’s a sort of “property instinct” analogous to the “language instinct”, which sets the original parameter space, while culture defines the “parameters”.

        The details can be debated (as with all other social and cultural constructs).

        Precisely my point. And when culture changes, the debate over details can spread into the larger issue of debate over the “rights” of “governments” to interfere with individual liberties.

        If you make a chair from wood it’s yours, unless by contract you have been paid to make it for someone else; […]

        Because if I take the chair you don’t have it anymore.

        I think, by analogy with that and other earned property rights, scientists deserve some property rights for their intellectual products; and analogously for publishers (who enjoy property rights for their publications of old novels and music even “in the public domain”.)

        False analogy.

        Without some property rights, that work product will not become public property, it will most likely disappear.

        Well, that was the original justification rationalization behind copyrights and patents.

        Both, AFAIK, grew out of an earlier system where the local warlord gave such exclusive rights to some crony. The idea of vesting them in the creator was intended to provide just that incentive.

        But there are several issues with scientific publication of research results:

        •       Much of that research has been paid for using public monies.

        •       The major benefit of the publication derives from being part of the institution of “science” which is also muchly paid for using public monies.

        •       Publishers are using control of preexisting institutions with high impact factors to attract the most eager research reports. The original “justification” for the subscription costs were to cover the actual costs of publication. Today it’s just about keeping the corporate valuations from shrinking.

        •       Researchers, even if their work wasn’t funded from public monies, have strong incentives to publish in “high-impact” journals, but those journals are (mostly) monopolized by rent-seekers who use their influence to prevent government-funded research from being required to be open-access.

        •       The entire body of scientific publication is being used as rationalization for policy and legal changes that impact me. Nobody has a right to attack my freedom on the basis of reports I’m prevented from seeing. Power maybe. But if the power’s lacking, there’s no right behind it.

      • Sci-Hub is a pirate, stealing papers from publishers. Is this what people want?

        Umm. Yeah, pretty much that is what we want.

        The whole science publishing thing started out when science was privately funded.

        Most science in many areas is publicly funded. The study results, like everything else associated with a government funded study should be public domain.

        Congress could make that very clear with a couple of sentences in the next round of grant authorizations. A requirement that government funded studies be available on a publicly accessible server would end the issue.

        It is mindless that we have to pay to see government funded studies we have already paid for.

      • David Wojick,

        The intellectual property (if any) presumably belongs to the authors, or more likely, their employers. The publisher charges the author to publish, and charges readers to read.

        Generally the copyright belongs with the employer, the taxpayers, in many cases. Publishers have every right to transfer multiple billions of taxpayers dollars into their corporate pockets.

        I’d do it myself. Who wouldn’t?

        If the Government or other employers don’t want anyone reading the research, don’t pay the publishing fees. Seems a big silly, doesn’t it?

        What’s wrong with making publicly funded research available to the public, if it can be done at no charge? Allowing access on the Internet might be a thought. Even a central repository, where entering a DOI could gain access.

        Like sci-hub, for example.

        Cheers.

      • PA said:

        It is mindless that we have to pay to see government funded studies we have already paid for.

        This is only common sense, and it is a point that both the right and left can agree on since it amounts to nothing more than a public subsidy for private enterprise. It is socialism for the affluent.

        For instance, here’s a program sponsored by the New York Public Library where both Noam Chomsky and Yanis Varoufakis condemn the practice of turning research paid for by the public into private profit.

      • AK Re: Intellectual Property. Are you saying that if I spend a couple of years developing computer code to create a program that will do something unique, as soon as I sell a copy of it, it belongs to anyone who can hack it?

      • @Daniel E Hofford…

        AK Re: Intellectual Property. Are you saying that if I spend a couple of years developing computer code to create a program that will do something unique, as soon as I sell a copy of it, it belongs to anyone who can hack it?

        IIRC there was a time this was true.

        But no, what I’m saying is that society as represented by legislative bodies, will decide how much of what kind of rights, and for how long, you’re entitled to.

        And as conditions change, the definitions of “intellectual property” have to change as well.

        For instance, if I surf to a web page and it downloads a javascript executable without my explicit permission, I will feel justified in decompiling it (if necessary) and reusing good bits (if any) regardless of what “intellectual property” rights anybody claims. If they don’t want me doing that, they need to set up their page so it doesn’t download without my agreeing to their terms.

        Similar principles apply to invasion of my rights. If your software product is being used, say, to hack into my machine, I’m entitled to use whatever means I can to protect myself. Your “intellectual property” claims are overridden by my right to protect myself.

      • See here for instance.

  5. The warnings of President Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, extrapolated to the entire world.

  6. “Evolutionary forces are causing a boom in bad science”

    a bad rap for Evolution. The Law of Evolution works, just like gravity. Problem is bad Environment, not bad Evolution.

  7. “These days, I have little to no influence in academia…”
    maybe that’ll change with the next Administration…

    • Danny Thomas

      Between this Vox work and the scientific ‘peer reviewed’ studies showing how scientific ‘peer reviewed’ studies are more often incorrect that correct I wondered who it is out there who does hold the influence? Is ‘the administration’ in that position, or to whom should we look? Dr. Curry, should you read this, I’d appreciate your insight in to an answer to that question.

      • Danny Thomas: the scientific ‘peer reviewed’ studies showing how scientific ‘peer reviewed’ studies are more often incorrect that correct

        That is not what has been shown. Ioannidis’ work has shown that as many as 40% of results published in the medical journals are non-reproducible.

      • Danny Thomas

        Hi Matt,
        Here’s one example of the error vs. reproducibility discussion. http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-peer-review4.htm

        There was a paper posted (by Jim2 IIRC) discussing errors also, but I can’t locate it just now. I think this is referenced here: “In 2011, the pharmaceutical company Bayer looked at 67 blockbuster drug discovery research findings published in prestigious journals, and found that three-fourths of them weren’t right.” (no detail as to % error vs. reproducibility.)

        Plus there is this: “A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 2,047 retractions of biomedical and life-sciences articles and found that just 21.3 percent stemmed from straightforward error, while 67.4 percent resulted from misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4 percent) and plagiarism (9.8 percent).” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/a-scientific-look-at-bad-science/399371/

        ‘Framing’ my words more carefully should have looked something like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invalid_science

        While reproducibility should be a mainstay outright error (post peer review) seems to be a higher order concern, IMO.

        Thanks Matt, for keeping me straight.

      • Danny Thomas | July 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm |

        Plus there is this: “A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 2,047 retractions of biomedical and life-sciences articles and found that just 21.3 percent stemmed from straightforward error, while 67.4 percent resulted from misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4 percent) and plagiarism (9.8 percent).” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/a-scientific-look-at-bad-science/399371/

        While reproducibility should be a mainstay outright error (post peer review) seems to be a higher order concern, IMO.

        So… 78.7% of retracted papers are due to crooked error, and 67.4 from misconduct. What is the 11.3% of retractions that are crooked error but not misconduct?

        It seems to be getting bad enough that an independent group should be funded to review all science papers of say the last 20 years for misconduct or serious error. They should start with recent papers first. This would allow disbarment of current offenders. A scientist on a government grant who commits misconduct is basically defrauding the taxpayers, there is no reason to allow recidivism.

  8. And farmers hope the frost leaves the ground at the right time for seeding, and that it rains at the right time for growing and the sun shines at the right time for ripening and harvesting and the prices be sufficient for getting ready for the next season.
    Why should the lives of scientists be easier than the lives of farmers?

  9. A coup in Turkey is all atwitter– Fixing the education system here probably means the Department of Education can be, “largely eliminated,” PDQ.

  10. “We heard back from 270 scientists all over the world….”

    Everybody knows, or should know, that response-requested polls are biased.

    They are useless. I’m surprised to see a scientist tout one.

    • Let me guess, you are voting for Hillary.

    • David Springer

      David Appell naively writes:

      “I’m surprised to see a scientist tout one.”

      You may want to consider modifying your mental model of scientists.

      It isn’t the golden age of science anymore. The practitioners are no longer people worthy of praise and trust. You may thank the libtards who took over academia 50 years ago. You’re a poster boy for what’s gone wrong.

    • Unless of course it is one supporting the Consensus, right David?

      • All response-requested polls are faulty, no matter what they say.

        This is pretty obvious…..

      • David Springer

        Tim asks Appell for a response about the quality of response polls (Tim’s question is thus a response poll with 1 respondent) and Appell answers by saying they’re all crap without exception. I must admit his response in and of itself adds a datum that supports the hypothesis. Hilarious.

    • From a statistical point of view, yes the numerical results of response based polls are mostly (?almost always) unreliable. However, if the respondents are given the freedom to put forward their own views/comments (as opposed to the ‘pigeon-holed’ questionnaire), the latter can provide fresh insights which might not otherwise come to light.
      My own view of polls is that in the interests of transparency, it should be mandatory for them to state clearly
      (a) when the poll was taken?
      (b) who commissioned the poll?
      (c) the exact wording of the questions (were they biased in any way?)
      (d) the number of questionnaires distributed
      (e) the rate of responders & non responders
      (f) a summary of the locations, & relevant characteristics (e.g.demographics & political views) of the responders (were these truly representative of the target population?)
      (g) confidence intervals quantifying the uncertainties around the results/conclusions claimed.
      At the very least this information should be available on a website which should be cited every time the poll is cited or reported. Perhaps what is needed is a central register of such polls.

    • David Wojick

      I agree with Appell. This is not a poll, just a collective list of well known complaints. Nor are any solutions offered, so it is worthless.

      • If AGW science is proven to have been ‘in effect’ a hoax and a conspiracy, evidence having good standing according to the new SCOTUS.
        Should the people of the world be allowed ‘claw-back’? Let’s take a world poll, starting with the coal miners around the world. On the web…

      • David Wojick,

        Don’t you have to acknowledge there’s a problem first, before looking for solutions?

      • This is not a poll, just a collective list of well known complaints. Nor are any solutions offered, so it is worthless.

        Not a particularly thoughtful comment, so it is worthless.

      • Glenn Stehle: Don’t you have to acknowledge there’s a problem first, before looking for solutions?

        If there are only 270 reponses, does that constitute evidence of a problem? I don’t think so. What’s interesting, maybe, is that the complaints have a lot in common with complaints and criticisms voiced elsewhere.

    • Danny Thomas

      David,

      You sound skeptical! So would you be willing to propose alternative methodology?

    • David, the real question is whether you think the problems the article identifies are serious?

    • DA:

      Everybody knows, or should know, that response-requested polls are biased.

      They are useless. I’m surprised to see a scientist tout one.

      It wasn’t a poll, it was a survey. As such, it produced quite useful information, based upon the expressed opinions of the survey respondents.

    • David Appell: Everybody knows, or should know, that response-requested polls are biased.

      Just so.

      Given a chance to vote, what would a majority of scientists vote for? Something a lot like what we have, I expect, it having been mostly created by scientists, or by government in response to recommendations from scientists. They might vote for “free” or “affordable” journals, but then the journals would disappear, except possibly for those few that are paid for my society membership fees..

  11. “Is the point of research to make other professional academics happy, or is it to learn more about the world?”

    The above reminds me of William B. Bean who measured the rate of growth of his fingernails and published the results in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    Nail Growth. A twenty-year study. (1963)
    Nail Growth. Twenty-five years’ observation. (1968)
    Nail Growth: 30 years of observation. (1974)
    Nail Growth. Thirty-five years of observation. (1980)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Bean+WB%5BAuthor%5D++AND+%22nail+growth%22

    Summarized here …
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/seriouslyscience/2015/04/13/this-professor-measured-his-fingernail-growth-for-35-years-the-results-will-amaze-you/#.V4lROo-cFhE

  12. I’d like to second the comment about the warnings in Eisenhower’s farewell address. They apply, in particular, to climate ‘science.’

  13. About the only thing we know for sure — despite how much has been spent and no matter how much we continue to spend — is that when it comes to the forecasting the weather in Europe, all we can say is that the Winter of 2016/17 may be interesting.

  14. David Springer

    Too many thinkers and too few builders. In other words there are far more academics than the market will bear. This produces both perverse goals and intense competition for the limited resources.

  15. Here in the UK Ed Miliband’s Department of Energy & Climate Change Abolished in peaceful democratic Brexit revolution !

    https://nollyprott.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/chris-grayling-was-once-the-most-hated-tory-in-uk-politics/

    Keep clicking previous for more climate fraudster killers !

    PS. don’t die laughing !

  16. “..the biggest discoveries usually take decades to uncover and are unlikely to occur under short-term funding schemes.”

    A recipe for never seeing wood for trees.

    • In climate science, the big discovery — CO2’s warming potential — *did* come decades ago. About 12 of them, in fact.

      • And after all that time, scientists are no closer to demonstrating the catastrophic effects of CO2 emissions using empirical data than they were 40 years ago.

        This failure, however, certainly isn’t for lack of trying.

      • catweazle666

        Indeed Apple.

        And we’re still waiting for the proof…

      • What do you mean by “catastrophic?” It isn’t a scientific term, it’s one of values…..

      • Note the word “potentially.”

        And try looking at the latest IPCC report, not the one from almost a decade ago.

      • David Appell,

        IPCC –

        “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

        Are you saying this settled science is longer applicable?

        When did the IPCC change its mind, and why?

        Cheers

      • David Appell said:

        And try looking at the latest IPCC report, not the one from almost a decade ago.

        Why?

        I made my point, and demonstrated that you don’t have the foggiest notion about what you’re babbling on about.

      • David said: “In climate science, the big discovery — CO2’s warming potential —”

        It has become a gross impediment to making big discoveries about the climate. When coupled with the fallacy that natural variability is internal, its stature was raised to the prime candidate for 20th warming, at the expense of rational theories for the greater temperature changes through the Holocene.

    • Perfect place to use problems with medical science to falsely attack climate science so as to get the research funding cut and the jobs terminated – forcing it to be: SHORT TERM. Perverse, huh?

      • Haven’t you heard? ‘The science is settled’ so it doesn’t need any more funding.

      • JCH,

        The IPCC stated that predicting future climate states is not possible. Not possible.

        That means it can’t be done.

        Is that settled science, or nonsense? Do you think more research would cause the IPCC to reverse its position?

        If the IPCC was wrong before, how would you know if their reversal in thinking was any more factual? The world wonders!

        Cheers.

      • If you knew what the phucqq you’re talking about what you say might matter, but you clearly don’t.

      • JCH,

        if you are responding to me, a mere declarations that someone is wrong, accompanied by disguised obscenity, carries with it the implication that it is uttered by a foolish Warmist.

        Such foolish Warmists have no facts, and assume their bullying attempts to deny, divert and confuse, will somehow create fact from fantasy.

        Good luck with that approach. You’ll need it.

        Cheers.

    • Flynn: the IPCC is certainly right.

      In what way do you think that means we shouldn’t act on climate change?

      Can you foresee your wealth in 20 years? If not, why do you save for retirement?

      • David Appell,

        If future climate states cannot be predicted for better or worse, and climate is the average of unpredictable weather, what should be done, and by whom?

        Foolish Warmists want to reduce CO2, and wipe human life from the Face of the Earth in the long run.

        Foolish Warmist want to stop the use of coal, and send humanity back to the Stone Age – no steel, concrete, and vastly reduced amounts of cheap electricity.

        Foolish Warmists claim the seas will boil, will drown cities, drought, flood, disease and mighty storms will be our lot if we don’t immediately obey the lunatic preaching a of the foolish Warmists!

        What have I got wrong?

        Cheers.

      • David Appell,

        You asked an irrelevant question about my wealth in 20 years. I use my best judgement, make assumptions, and act on them. As new information comes to light, I might make fresh assumptions.

        My assumptions made 20 years ago seem to have worked out fine. So far, so good. I’m amazed that I’ve avoided many of the disasters which have befallen others. That’s what blind luck can do for you.

        Cheers.

      • “If future climate states cannot be predicted for better or worse….”

        Can you predict when your house will (inevitably, at some point), burn down?

        If not, why buy fire insurance?

        If you doctor cannot tell you the exact month when your smoking will cause fatal lung cancer, will you keep smoking?

        There may be tipping points and sudden changes in the future, changes like the Younger Dryas or PETM. No one knows.

        But we do know that CO2’s forcing is increasing by about 0.2 W/m2/decade. That is huge, historically speaking, geologically speaking. Climate is now changing 30 times faster than when the planet left the last glacial period 25k years ago.

        That’s not good. If there are no sudden, nonlinear events, that’s a lot of warming in a few decades, over a century, over a couple of centuries.

        And you think that’s all just fine.

      • But we do know that CO2’s forcing is increasing by about 0.2 W/m2/decade. That is huge, historically speaking, geologically speaking.

        But not daily.
        Clouds can easily be 40W/m2, asphalt about 20W/m2, average decrease in atm entropy from max to min temp is about 9,000kJ/kg, but deserts can drop half the 30,000kJ/kg in a night, while tropics drop only about 8,000kJ/kg out of the daily max almost 80,000kJ/kg.
        I frequently get afternoon clouds, that disappear by night. And night time cooling that is regulated by dew point.
        0.2W/m2 /decade isn’t but a few minutes at early evening cooling rates, prior to dew point slowing cooling.

      • David Appell,

        I don’t have fire insurance. Your mind reading abilities need improvement.

        If a doctor makes a pediction of any sort, I’ll do whatever I decide. I tend to stay away from doctors and hospitals where possible. I’m still alive and healthy, as far as I know.

        The third biggest cause of death in the US is maybe due to avoidable medical mistakes.

        Your specious nonsense about wattages, and by implication, temperature increases is completely without foundation. Heat cannot be “stored” from year to year. You must be living in an alternate reality, where Greek ruins are hotter than the wall of the cafe next door, because they have been absorbing watts for thousands of extra years. Foolish Warmist logic.

        The Earth has cooled for four and a half billion years. No accumulation of sunlight. No energy balance. Just cooling, slow but unstoppable.

        What’s your next pointless and irrelevant attempt at a gotcha?

        Cheers.

      • No fire insurance. So if your house burns down you’re sunk, out a few hundred thousand dollars.

        Not smart.

      • “The Earth has cooled for four and a half billion years. No accumulation of sunlight. No energy balance. Just cooling, slow but unstoppable.”

        This is exactly the kind of very dumb comment I’ve been referring to.

        You’re reliable, if nothing else.

      • David Springer

        Why is it inevitable that a house will burn down, Appell? Aside from the obvious case of those constructed of non-flammable masonry even a wooden structure is far more likely to rot away slowly than burn quickly. You’re a phucking m0r0n.

      • catweazle666

        “Can you foresee your wealth in 20 years? If not, why do you save for retirement?”

        What a foolish comment.

        The vast majority of the working population can indeed foresee their wealth for the next 20 years – barring accidents or lottery wins, that is.

        And that is exactly why they save for retirement, because they can foresee that if they don’t, they will end up with a drastically reduced standard of living.

    • Why? Really, you have to ask why you should consult the latest AR, and not one from a decade ago or longer?

      Because new knowledge informs the scientific conclusions. What do you think science is about, anyway?

      • “Because new knowledge informs the scientific conclusions. What do you think science is about, anyway?”

        David:
        You are talking to someone who thinks that merely by sending a letter to the Nobel committee saying….

        “CO2 is not a GHG and is not causing GW, which is not happening anyway”.

        Then he should be rewarded with a Nobel laureate for science.

        It is THAT kind of “because I say so”, wear it like a badge idiocy and ignorance that you are appealing to.

      • David Springer

        “Because I say so” is called a “just so story”. It’s pretty common in soft sciences like climate and evolution where the ideological practitioners demand that unobserved, unproven phenomena are taken as fact. They get shrill and resort to name calling when the just-so story is questioned. I spend more time than I should teasing ideologues with quasi-religious beliefs like Appell with questions they can’t answer.

      • “I spend more time than I should teasing ideologues with quasi-religious beliefs like Appell with questions they can’t answer”

        Ah, of course – the fallacy of because we do not know everything about Climate Change then the whole science falls apart.

        There a questions a plenty in science that cannot be answered definitively. It does not mean that what we do know (and observe) is wrong.

        Quite different from the denial as practised by Flynn.
        To which I answer “If you say so”.

      • David Springer

        Mr. Banton,

        The state of global warming science hasn’t seen significant improvement since the 19th Century. I shhit you not.

        Critical to what if anything we should do to address this concern is something called “climate sensitivity” which is how much warming would a doubling of CO2 actually cause.

        See here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98EO00206/epdf

        Earth and Space Science News – A publication of the American Geophysical Union

        According to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the possible range of climate sensitivity to doubling of atmospheric CO2 is from 1.5 to 4.5°C, and the probable date of CO2 doubling should be between the years 2050 and 2100 [Houghton et. al., 1994], or 150-200 years after the date of Arrhenius’ calculations. As we can see, Arrhenius’ latest estimates of climate sensitivity to changes in atmospheric CO2 as well as the timing of these changes are not only close to the range of present estimates, but they practically coincide with them.

        That was comparing the sensitivity in the first IPCC report (1994) with Arrhenius’ calculations circa 1850. Arrhenius is credited with discovery of the greenhouse gas effect. In 150 years climate science had not improved on his calculations.

        One might think that surely in the 22 years since the 1994 IPCC report and the untold billions invested into global warming science that the sensitivity estimate would have been improved.

        Unfortunately, no. The 2014 IPCC report has sensitivity still in the range of 1.5C – 4.5C.

        So the best science can tell us is that CO2 emissions might be benign or catastrophic.

        I’m not asking for a subtle detail, sir. I’m asking the fundamental question at the heart of the matter. How much warming will aCO2 cause? The answer is maybe a little or maybe a lot.

        Hard to believe, isn’t it? I love it so!

        Write that down.

      • David Springer

        Mr. Banton,

        The state of global warming science hasn’t seen significant improvement since the 19th Century. I shhit you not.

        Critical to what if anything we should do to address this concern is something called “climate sensitivity” which is how much warming would a doubling of CO2 actually cause.

        See here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98EO00206/epdf

        Earth and Space Science News – A publication of the American Geophysical Union

        According to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the possible range of climate sensitivity to doubling of atmospheric CO2 is from 1.5 to 4.5°C, and the probable date of CO2 doubling should be between the years 2050 and 2100 [Houghton et. al., 1994], or 150-200 years after the date of Arrhenius’ calculations. As we can see, Arrhenius’ latest estimates of climate sensitivity to changes in atmospheric CO2 as well as the timing of these changes are not only close to the range of present estimates, but they practically coincide with them.

        That was comparing the sensitivity in the first IPCC report (1994) with Arrhenius’ calculations circa 1850. Arrhenius is credited with discovery of the greenhouse gas effect. In 150 years climate science had not improved on his calculations.

        One might think that surely in the 22 years since the 1994 IPCC report and the untold billions invested into global warming science that the sensitivity estimate would have been improved.

        Unfortunately, no. The 2014 IPCC report has sensitivity still in the range of 1.5C – 4.5C.

        So the best science can tell us is that CO2 emissions might be benign or catastrophic.

        I’m not asking for a subtle detail, sir. I’m asking the fundamental question at the heart of the matter. How much warming will aCO2 cause? The answer is maybe a little or maybe a lot.

        Hard to believe, isn’t it? I love it so!

        Write that down.

      • David Springer

        Correction. Arrhenius made his sensitivity calculations circa 1900 not 1850 which makes climate science moribund for over a century but not a lot more. I was thinking of John Tyndall who first discovered the infrared absorptive properties of CO2 circa 1850. My apology for the mistake but it doesn’t alter the point I was making at all.

      • While the official range of ECS is 1.5-4.5 C per doubling, that is mainly for the benefit of the “skeptics” who don’t like too much certainty in science just by their nature, but when you poll the experts, it is in the 3 C range, plus or minus very little, and this is also what the policies focus in on when they relate emission limits to climate stabilization.

      • Danny Thomas

        “but when you poll the experts,” Um. Isn’t that effectively what the IPCC does?

      • Their pool of opinion is rather broader than the ones who actually are experienced in these studies. There is a lot of convergence to values nearer 3 C as experience, e.g. by relevant publication numbers, is used to narrow down the pool. We see this in other polls such as the one by Verheggen, or interviews of the experts, such as one posted here a couple of months ago.

      • Danny Thomas

        Are you suggesting the IPCC should be ignored, or that some of their work is subject to ‘skepticism’? If so, is this the only area?

      • No, the IPCC are just being too politically compromising to some of their delegates. Their statements are crafted by international committees and countries with interests complain if they are too precise. There are better scientific ways of coming up with consensus that would ignore the political pressure to obfuscate the science.

      • Danny Thomas

        Okay. So now you’ve suggested the IPCC is ‘politically’ influenced?

        Ya know, I’ve heard that somewhere before and others have railed against that possibility.

      • It’s not an ideal mechanism when Saudi Arabia can influence the statement for policymakers even though they don’t have any scientists studying sensitivity. Scientists, like Lacis, have complained about how “mealy-mouthed” IPCC statements become because of their process.

      • Danny Thomas

        Part 1) Confirmation of political influence.
        Part 2) This influence (according to you) is unidirectional.
        Interesting.

        Can you, with 100% confidence, state that the influence is soley on direction within this: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/?
        Then the follow up would be requesting evidence.

      • I am saying that the expert scientific consensus is more precise than the IPCC one, and I gave a reason which comes down to wordsmithing by international committees that have some politics going on. For “skeptics” the IPCC is your friend. Appreciate it.

      • Danny Thomas

        Hmm. Now it seems you’ve gone and suggested that the IPCC is lower on the totem pole when it comes to their work product being ‘precise’.

        The IPCC is the friend of skeptics due to what, exactly? That their work is influenced politically and therefore should be evaluated with a skeptical eye? Might be something to that.

      • The IPCC report is more blurry on sensitivity than the expert scientists would have it. They haven’t dismissed the science, but they have blurred it.

      • Danny Thomas

        I’m not a math major so asking for some assistance.

        If one takes something which lacks precision, then summarizes same, does this normally improve the original?

        IPCC AR5 –> SPM = ?

      • A committee of expert scientists who worked on this stuff themselves, when averaged, would have more precision centered on 3 C than this international wordsmithing committee who took other less expert inputs. It is very understandable in these terms.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim,
        I get how you’re attempting to frame the issue. The problem is ‘selectivity’ (could be termed cherry picking). Either the IPCC is subject to political influence as we’ve agreed, or it’s not. If, within the IDK how many pages of the entirety of the IPCC reports, one area is subject to that influence how can it be said that the rest is not especially after indications of problems with ‘precision’ up front.

        By way of this comment of yours you’re implying that those who compiled the sensitivity sections were not ‘expert’ in the realm. When skeptics do the same much arm waving ensues.

      • Yes, I am saying select the ones who know best based on publications in the field, and don’t contaminate it with the opinions of those who don’t. This is the reason that when you sort the sensitivities by expertise, they are much more clustered among the more expert who also go for GHG attributions greater than 100% more often. The SPM statements should be much more certain than they are, and now the skeptics keep wondering why it hasn’t progressed beyond 1.5-4.5 C and “very likely more than half”, and use that as an argument against action in itself even though the low ends had only a 5% probability by the IPCC definition. Either way the focus should be on the midpoints, which are in agreement with the expert mid-points.

      • Danny Thomas

        Okay. I see. Use the mid points and place much less value on the extremes. Frankly, I agree. Makes me a lukewarmer.

      • …and they do when talking about emission policies for temperature limits, so I don’t fault them on that part.

      • 3C? Actual forcing sensitivity to solar is less than 0.02F, most places are about 0.005F

      • I don’t know where you get that from. Taking the 11-year cycle, the transient sensitivity to forcing is equivalent to 2 C per doubling of CO2.

      • I get it from measurements.
        https://micro6500blog.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/measuring-surface-climate-sensitivity/
        I’ve done a quick look at daily solar in Whr’s / the average daily rising temp, and it was less that 0.02F, and then also over a year based on the day to day change due to changing length of day. Both point to about the same CS.

      • What about the 11-year forcing cycle that has temperature changes of 0.1-0.2 C for a forcing change of 0.2 W/m2?

      • What about the 11-year forcing cycle that has temperature changes of 0.1-0.2 C for a forcing change of 0.2 W/m2

        I don’t know anything about it. But if you found it in one of the published temperature series, I am suspect to begin with.

      • Yes, of course you are.

      • Yes, of course you are.

        Yes, because it’s polluted with made up data.
        Do you have issue with my process and methods? What I produce is based strictly on the measurements.
        I don’t cherry pick, my only filter is to collect a full year of samples for that year to be included, average how much the temperature goes up during the day, and divide that by the solar forcing based on lat, and the latest tsi number, and the other way i measure how much temps change from day to day, and divide that by how much the solar forcing changes by day.
        Arm waving isn’t criticism, be specific, go read my code, look at the volumes of data I produce to back what I say up.
        But remember I do everything different because I wanted to see how quickly temps dropped at night compared to the prior days warming. A change in temperature does not address attribution, but I’m in the process of proving radiative cooling far exceeds the amount required to cool the planet, and that the reason this might not be obvious is cooling is self regulated. I can already show its not changed enough to alter temps, and that regional changes can explain most of the warming.

      • catweazle666

        “While the official range of ECS is 1.5-4.5 C per doubling, that is mainly for the benefit of the “skeptics” who don’t like too much certainty in science just by their nature, but when you poll the experts, it is in the 3 C range, plus or minus very little, and this is also what the policies focus in on when they relate emission limits to climate stabilization.”

        More twaddle, Jimbo?

        If you actually bothered keeping up with the science, you would have noticed that the ECS estimate is dropping by the year, and some authorities believe it to be less than unity.

        As for the concept that the Warmists would pander to the sceptics, you get dafter with every post!

      • Thanks for your input.

      • Jim D said:

        …but when you poll the experts, it is in the 3 C range.

        There’s that “concensus” polemic again.

        Updated climate sensitivity estimates
        https://judithcurry.com/2016/04/25/updated-climate-sensitivity-estimates/

        ECS estimates are somewhat more sensitive to the period and the particular OHC dataset used, and the lack of OHC measurements prior to the 1950s makes dependence on model-based OHC estimates for the base period difficult to avoid.

        Based on the latest version of the HadCRUT4 dataset, an early base period and longer than decadal final period, the ECS best estimates fall in the range 1.65–1.75°C depending on the final period and OHC dataset used. For two base period – final period combinations not meeting these criteria, the ECS best estimates are around 1.85°C, but these are likely less reliable. There are some grounds for thinking that the final period OHC increases used may be slightly overestimated, at least in some cases.

        The uncertainty in ECS estimates remains very large.

      • Okay. So now you’ve suggested the IPCC is ‘politically’ influenced?

        Ya know, I’ve heard that somewhere before and others have railed against that possibility.

        The IPCC includes countries that produce a lot of oil and gas and coal. They keep the science less alarming.

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,

        So you too are on the bandwagon that the IPCC is influenced politically.

        Then I must request evidence that all of the influence is soley that “They keep the science less alarming.” Within this: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/ are you stating that the ‘political influence’ is only towards being less alarming? Request for evidence as a follow up.

        That two of the most ‘climate concerned’ here willfully agree that the IPCC is politically influenced is a bit surprising but here we have it.

        At least there is comfort in the ‘belief’ that your answers are honest. That is appreciated.

      • JCH said:

        The IPCC includes countries that produce a lot of oil and gas and coal. They keep the science less alarming.

        Well at least we agree on one thing: that the IPCC’s “science” is nothing but a political football.

      • Danny Thomas

        Glenn,
        ‘nothing but’ may be a bit strong, but the admission of the political influence is an area of agreement. Wonder how this fits in with ‘the troubled institution of science’ when the ‘greatest minds’ are admittedly said to be ‘influence-able’ when reporting on the greatest issue facing mankind.

        Makes one skeptical of their work product wouldn’t you say?

      • Mitigation, Sustainability, Redistribution… according to the UN anyway.

      • Among countries, the big winners and the energy producers both benefit from the less-alarm message, so among countries there really are no political champions of alarm.

      • Danny Thomas,

        Mark me up as being skeptical of both the ideal of an apodictic science and man’s institutions.

        I could never buy into Thomas Jefferson’s “naive empiricism,” nor Paul Samuelson’s “scientific management.”

        John Adams was more to my liking:

        Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all His laws. Our passions, ambitions, avarice, love and resentment, etc., possess so much metaphysical subtlety and so much overpowering eloquence that they insinuate themselves into the understanding and the conscience and convert both to their party….

        Power must be opposed to power, force to force, strength to strength, interest to interest, as well as reason to reason, eloquence to eloquence, and passion to passion.

      • The wordsmithing of the SPMs was well reported at the time and is nothing new. If you want the science, look at the WG1 report itself. That was written by the scientists with rather less interference.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim,

        I wasn’t referring to SPM (until a later post), I was referring to the IPCC reports which include links to the WG’s.

        Is the sensitivity discussed in the WG’s at 3.0? “That was written by the scientists with rather less interference.” Less interference still includes interference.

      • The WG reports refer to individual papers, some more credible than others.

      • Danny Thomas

        Yes. “The WG reports refer to individual papers, some more credible than others.”

        So we have varying levels of credibility of the papers used to comprise the WG reports. Does this not then confirm that the IPCC and it’s reports deserve to be viewed thru a skeptical eye?

      • Exactly, and it is too much to untangle unless you are an actual expert, so leave it to them to judge the science behind those papers. This is not something armchair amateurs can do.

      • Danny Thomas

        And yet here WE are!

      • Yes, it is all opinions here. Some trust the experts, some start off by distrusting the whole field of science usually with a correlation to their politics.

      • Danny Thomas

        JimD,
        “Some trust the experts, some start off by distrusting the whole field of science usually with a correlation to their politics.”

        And some…………trust the experts and distrust the overseer whom we’ve agreed are subject to political influence and dealing with some scientific work with a credibility issue.

        Not sure why you have to attempt to ‘frame’ the discussion to such extremes. Frankly, underneath all the bluster, I see more middle ground than you’ve given credit.

        So again, here WE are.

      • Ultimately, my view is that it is the science that matters. Whether the IPCC framed it the way the expert scientists would have is debatable to me. It doesn’t look like it based on the polls of the experts themselves: just much too blurred, making these unrealistically wide uncertainty ranges a big target for skeptics. Give them an inch of uncertainty and they take a mile.

      • Exactly, and it is too much to untangle unless you are an actual expert, so leave it to them to judge the science behind those papers. This is not something armchair amateurs can do.

        Maybe for you, I’ve spent my adult life solving these sorts of problems.

      • Robust Findings:

        Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a most likely value of about 3°C, based upon multiple observational and modelling constraints. It is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. {8.6, 9.6, Box 10.2}

        The transient climate response is better constrained than the equilibrium climate sensitivity. It is very likely larger than 1°C and very unlikely greater than 3°C. {10.5}

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,

        But now Jim has brought that the credibility of ‘some’ scientific papers on which the summaries are produced. So if the papers have questionable credibility and the summarizers (IPCC) are subject to political influence, how is one to consider the produced results?

        I propose they should be looked at skeptically.

      • Are you skeptical of Professor Curry? You should be.

      • Jim D said:

        Exactly, and it is too much to untangle unless you are an actual expert, so leave it to them to judge the science behind those papers. This is not something armchair amateurs can do.

        Oh, I get it now!

        We just set up a panel of “experts” — I’m sure in your mind Michael Mann, James Hansen and Naiomi Oreskes would do just fine — and presto! Problem solved!

        Why didn’t I think of that?

      • It could be an international panel and maybe 100 experts. Oreskes would not qualify. There might even be a few skeptics. Have the debates, put up numbers for sensitivities and attribution, take the average and spread and see where the chips fall.

      • Jim D said:

        It could be an international panel and maybe 100 experts… There might even be a few skeptics. Have the debates, put up numbers for sensitivities and attribution, take the average and spread and see where the chips fall.

        Science by committee.

        What could possibly go wrong?

      • Bring together people who would know most about the subject at hand. That’s the way expert committees work in all areas of decisionmaking. What’s your (constructive) alternative?

      • Jim D said:

        What’s your (constructive) alternative?

        My alternative? Give the scientific process time to work, instead of short-circuiting it.

      • David Springer

        Calm down Jim D and JCH and face the facts.

        The 1.5C – 4.5C ECS range (3.0C +-1.5C) is the range of results from computer climate models. The best we have.

        You boys think those are politically influenced? How? Can you back up that assertion with facts? I shan’t hold my breath waiting for you to do so.

        Let’s get back to some more facts. The physicists tell us that with a dry atmosphere and uniform surface a doubling of CO2 would result in a 1.1C temperature increase. There is very little disagreement in that if we discount unqualified cranks like Mike Flynn.

        Anything more than is the result of positive feedbacks foremost among them is water vapor feedback and clouds formed therefrom. Cloud feedback is believed to be positive but there is no physical evidence of it. Indeed a strong argument can be made that cloud feedback is negative and explains the temperature ceiling reached when the earth enters an interglacial period once every 100,000 years or so.

        Cloud feedback is not well modeled because the grid squares used in ocean-atmosphere coupled climate models are much larger than individual convective cells. So instead of being modeled, cloud feedback is estimated. Estimating an effect is called parameterization. It’s not a good thing. It’s an educated guess at best. No model to my knowledge uses a negative water vapor feedback parameter because all of them project ECS of at least 1.5C or about 25% more warming than can be accounted for by a CO2 doubling alone.

        Global warming science is moribund. It hasn’t improved in over a century. Local and regional short-term weather forecasting has improved and that deserves further funding. Global warming science funding by taxpayers should be halted as it has been a gigantic waste of money for many decades.

      • Glenn, while I think there are some that are slow on the uptake that the record temperatures are related to record CO2 levels, most of the public have realized the connection by now, and understand how emission rates affect temperature, so we can ignore the few slow people who still, unbelieveably, want to wait and see and proceed to policies with guidance from the scientific experts. If you wait for those last people to be convinced, it will be too late. It is already difficult enough to stabilize the climate from what we know so far.

      • JimD says:

        Jim D | July 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm |
        It could be an international panel and maybe 100 experts. Oreskes would not qualify. There might even be a few skeptics. Have the debates, put up numbers for sensitivities and attribution, take the average and spread and see where the chips fall.

        ——–

        How many examples of why this doesn’t work would you like? Start with ulcers and stress. The earth-centric solar system. The earth being flat.

      • Jim D said:

        If you wait for those last people to be convinced, it will be too late.

        Too late for what, Jim?

        Even if you clear the CSE hurdle — a rather remote prospect at this moment — you still have other hurdles to clear:

        2) What will be the consequences of AGW? Will they be positive or negative? Can they be quantified?

        3) What will be the cost of mitigating AGW?

        4) Is it even humanly possible to mitigate AGW, physically and politically?

        5) Do the costs of mitigating AGW outweigh the consequences?

        6) Instead of mitigating or attempting to mitigate AGW, would it be better to control the damage?

      • Mitigation turns out to be the best economically. Taking into account the SCC at $40 per tonne and the WG3 mitigation costs of 0.06% GDP, it turns out mitigating is 10% the cost of just letting it all happen making it a no-brainer to just mitigate. This is the analogy of keeping bailing out the boat (adaptation) or just plugging the hole once and for all (mitigation).

      • Jim D said:

        Mitigation turns out to be the best economically.

        Well you’ve just got all the answers, or at least you believe you do.

        So I’ll ask you the same question I did JCH: Does your hubris, arrogance and self-righteous know no bounds?

      • I’ve got the numbers because I have looked into these things in the past. So, given the relative cost as I showed, would that put you on the mitigation side now? It just makes more sense from the economics perspective.

      • Danny Thomas

        JimD,
        May we share in your research?

      • Sure, I gave you two of the numbers. The only other ones you need are that mitigation by 2100 should save 3000 GtCO2 of emission and global GDP is $80 trillion. From the SCC you get $120 trillion in cost through 2100, which you can annualize over 80-85 years as 0.5% GDP compared to the annualized 0.06% GDP for mitigation from WG3.

      • catweazle666

        “I’ve got the numbers because I have looked into these things in the past.”

        Heh!

        You’re funny!

  17. Somewhat related to the ongoing discussion about climate orthodoxy: the case of Cecilia Payne versus Norris Russell

    https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201501/physicshistory.cfm

    • thx for the link

    • Great link and a good reminder.

      • willard (@nevaudit) wrote:
        “Let’s start by cutting as much funding as possible….. That’s the only path to GROWWWTH.”

        You think cutting basic research is the way to growth?

        Tell me, who invented the laser, now used throughout the economy? The integrated chip, prominent everywhere? The quantum mechanics it relies on? Information theory? The Internet? The Web? GPS?

        I’ll tell you who: these all came from smart people who were funded to do basic research.

        That is the best pro-growth formula there is — fund smart people to do good research, and then utilize what they come up with.

        It’s worked for 400 years. It will work for at least another 400 years.

      • David Springer

        Why 400? Why not 4000 or 4,000,000? You’re an imbecile.

      • Dear DavidA,

        You’re conflating growth and GRRROWTH, you’re asking too much rhetorical questions for your own good, and you really should dust up your science history books.

        Please read harder.

        Thank you for your concerns.

      • David, where may I buy a made in China, Long Poll Laser Light Pruning Shear?

  18. > It’s long past time to break the perverse incentives that rule academic research.

    Agreed.

    Let’s start by cutting as much funding as possible.

    We need a Red team.
    In fact, we only need a Red team.
    Funding a Red team ought to be enough.

    That’s the only path to GROWWWTH.

    Thank you.

  19. The best honest research is accomplished by old, retired, people who don’t need to do research to make a living.

  20. A very good post. One problem I suspect is the oversupply of scientists. Given that academia is a growth industry that gets incredible government subsidies in the form of guaranteed student loans, perhaps we are simply producing too many people who think they are highly educated and should get good research jobs. The whole grant getting system is largely a way to increase academic employment beyond what perhaps real enrollments would justify and it also increases the need for hoards of graduate students to work for low wages. Shrinking the academic enterprise would perhaps be a good thing, even though heresy in establishment quarters. There are many other productive activities for young people (like a job) other than higher education.

    • Given the anti-evolution, pro-GMO, anti-AGW, anti-nuclear, pro-pollution, anti-fluoride beliefs in the US…. we clearly need many *more* scientists and people trained to think scientifically.

    • Given the anti-evolution, pro-GMO, anti-AGW, anti-nuclear, pro-pollution, anti-fluoride beliefs in the US…. we clearly need many *more* scientists and people trained to think scientifically.

      PS: As usually happens on this site, someone (JC?) eventually cuts off my comments from being published. Why is that?

      • Well obviously Dr. Curry is no match for you, what with your comments backed up by such scrupulous factual knowledge and impecably sound logic.

        So what is she to do, other than censor you?

      • Technically, you’re not supposed to go over 50/1000. If you do, and somebody brings it to her attention, she’s likely to put you into m0deration. (Per what, IIRC, she’s said a number of times.) As I understand it, if she considers your contribution to have merit, it’ll show up next time the reviews the m0deration queue.

        In addition, I’m absolutely certain that WP has some sort of heuristic for dumping people comments into m0deration. I know I’ve had a comment go into m0deration, but still visible to me, then the very next one will go right through.

        Part of it seems to be the number of links, and overall length, but not all. There are also certain “tr1gger words” that seem to contribution. I’m also guessing it depends on how many comments you’ve posted recently. As for what else, I dunno.

        I’ve also had comments simply vanish, but when I try to resubmit them it blocks me saying it’s a dup.

        I’ve also had comments simply vanish, without even being saved for the dup tri1gger. That is, I could submit the same exact comment in response to the same exact previous comment five or six times, and it would simply vanish five or six times.

      • I’ve had that problem here too, David. Comments sometimes appear right away and sometimes take hours to appear. There was one that seemed to disappear forever. Not sure why.

      • Both Davids seem to get caught in moderation/spam an unusual amount, not sure what is going on.

      • AK, I agree with you about WP. Anytime anyone on WP decides you are spam, you are are labeled spam everywhere.

        It’s the worst platform on the Internet, and there’s no way of avoiding it.

      • davideisenstadt

        Because they lack merit, are repetitive, contentious and without value.
        there…answered the tough question.
        Now, what are you going to do?
        Threaten to call the police?
        Comment less, make your comments better,and they won’t get cut off.

      • curryja wrote:
        “Both Davids seem to get caught in moderation/spam an unusual amount, not sure what is going on.”

        I think it’s because when someone — anyone on a WordPress platform — tags a commenter as spam, whether he is or not — he goes into the spam folder of all WordPress blog owners.

        WordPress has no recourse for someone who someone tagged as spam. One can’t even delete their WordPress ID. It’s a trap with no way out.

  21. From the NS article: ‘They suggest that their model shows that bad science can be explained as a result of the evolutionary selective pressures that are acting on scientists.’

    And not just bad science. The evolutionary pressures are not only those arising within a stressed academic system, but those breaking through from wider society. Scientists are embedded in society like anyone else, and via emotive memes of fear and anxiety, hope and salvation etc. whole scientific domains can be hi-jacked by the cultural narratives fostering such memes. At that point we don’t just have bad science, we have an emergent cultural story in the driving seat, and yet backed by all the authority of ‘science’. Such is the case regarding the certainty of imminent (decades) climate calamity. Whatever is happening regarding ACO2 impact on the actual physical climate system and whether this turns out to be good, bad, or indifferent, that certainty is not a product of science, it is just a cultural story.
    https://judithcurry.com/2013/11/01/cagw-memeplex/

    • andywest2012 said:

      At that point we don’t just have bad science, we have an emergent cultural story in the driving seat, and yet backed by all the authority of ‘science’. Such is the case regarding the certainty of imminent (decades) climate calamity.

      The same can be said about the Pan-Slavism and scientific socialism of Bolshevism:

      Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars
      http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8283.html

      Socialism was supposed to be scientific, and science ideologically correct, and Stalin ostensibly embodied the perfect symbiosis between power and knowledge.

      And the Pan-Germanism of Nazism.

      German science and black racism—roots of the Nazi Holocaust
      http://www.fasebj.org/content/22/2/332.full

    • Curious George

      I like the idea that “bad science can be explained …”. An old East German joke: Comrade Mittag, the Secretary for Economy, sits on the stairs of the Central Committee building, crying. Comrade Honecker, the Secretary General of the Party, walks by.
      – Comrade Mittag! People know you, and should they see you cry, they would think that our economy is in trouble. By the way, why are you crying?
      – I cry because I can not understand how our economy works.
      – Come with me, I’ll explain it to you.
      – Please don’t. I can explain it myself.

  22. Medical science is especially distorted to serve commercial ends, and there’s ample documentation for this. But it’s worse than people know. I’ve studied vaccine science for some time, and I can tell you that pretty much everything we BELIEVE about vaccines is wrong: vaccines didn’t “save us” and vaccines can indeed cause very serious harms, and these are probably much more common than we believe. We often hear how those who are opposed to vaccines are anti-science, but in my experience, those who have serious reservations about vaccines have done the most research into the actual science of vaccine safety and efficacy.

    It’s a very corrupt science, yet the public perception of vaccine science is that it’s very pure and honest. Strange. Passing strange. How can it be that medical science is generally accepted as subject to corruption, but vaccine science, with it’s future potential of billions of dollars in blockbuster vaccines (there are nearly 300 vaccines in the pipeline) is somehow “immune” to all this? I daresay you wouldn’t believe how bad it is until you actually start digging into it. Vaccinepapers.org is a good place to start.

    • “How can it be that medical science is generally accepted as subject to corruption, but vaccine science, with it’s future potential of billions of dollars in blockbuster vaccines (there are nearly 300 vaccines in the pipeline) is somehow “immune” to all this?”

      Because most don’t see it as “corruption.”

      Andrew Wakefield, though — that’s a whole different ballgame. His work was retracted and he lost his UK medical license — yet he came to the US and still says the same crap, and a few gullible people fall for it.

      Wakefield is responsible for many deaths. It would be nice if someday he were held to account for them, but alas, I’m an atheist and don’t believe in godly or karmic justice.

      • Yes, it’s odd that we don’t think of vaccine science as “corrupt” in any way. We generally treat it with almost religious reverence.

        Andrew Wakefield is a good example, but not for the reason you think. I believe most of the accusations against him are untrue: his real crime was that out of honest concern, he recommended that children receive the measles vaccine as a single dose, and not from the MMR. He believed the MMR was associated with autism and with a specific bowel disorder. I began to touch on this in another thread under my real name, Don Dalton, but didn’t pursue this because of a technical glitch using my old browser. This was probably a good thing because it’s a very, very long story.

        For starters, one might read http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/12/smoke-and-mirrors-dr-richard-horton-and-the-wakefield-affair.html. This explains that the “paid by lawyers” is actually true, but the relevant authorities knew about it beforehand and it falls under the heading of “disclosed conflict of interest.” Such a conflict hardly rises to the level of “fraud.”

        The Wakefield affair is one of the best examples of how vaccine science has been distorted but getting through the bias (“Wakefield is a liar”) that’s so deeply impressed upon us is a major hurdle. And no, he didn’t cause the death of untold millions from measles, although at the moment I can’t find the relevant British statistics that show this.

        There are easier ways to get at the distortion of vaccine science. The story of aluminum adjuvant, for example, is explained in detail at vaccinepapers.org. To make a long story short, aluminum adjuvant (injected) isn’t eliminated from the body in the same manner as ingested aluminum, and it very likely persists in tissues including the brain, where it’s neurotoxic. Furthermore, animal studies show us that it impairs behavior at doses similar to what children receive. These facts are denied by the mainstream vaccine authorities because aluminum adjuvant is the only game in town for eliciting the proper immune response in non-live virus vaccines, such as Gardasil.

  23. Maybe scientists who are in it for the science could call themselves “natural philosophers” again.

    As to questions of how natural philosophers might support themselves, Sir Isaac Newton worked as a Master of the Royal Mint for much of his adult life. Actually worked. Ruthless, he didn’t just ask for a place at the table. He built a new table, of his own design, sat at it, and reformed the country’s monetary system.

    Somebody has already asked why scientists deserve any better consideration than farmers. In the scientists’ own view, they seem to consider the world owes them a living, and anybody who doesn’t agree should get a good whipping!

    Neither curiosity nor luck can be compelled, of awarded. Education confers neither.

    The problem of Government funding is easily overcome. All requests must be approved and at least initialled by one person. Intelligent, but lazy, cynical, and capricious. Luck as much as anything will determine who gets funded, and funding shoukd be evenly distributed amongst competing fields.

    A dream, I know.

    However, I actually implemented a similar system at one time. It seemed to work at least as well as the one it supplanted, howls and complaints from the suddenly dispossessed notwithstanding. Cheaper, and seemingly equal in output, or even better. Blind luck at work, I suppose.

    I think everyone wants to avoid the examples of the French Revolution, the Cambodian killing fields, and the Chinese cultural revolution. Pretending “it won’t happen again” doesn’t seem the optimal strategy.

    Cheers.

  24. One respondent had an even more radical suggestion: that we abolish the existing peer-reviewed journal system altogether and simply publish everything online as soon as it’s done.

    Between peeing in a lot of breakfast cereal, having a real job to do, and not being very good writing papers, I just went with a publish it myself plan.
    https://micro6500blog.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/evidence-against-warming-from-carbon-dioxide/

    https://micro6500blog.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/measuring-surface-climate-sensitivity/

  25. Trump’s Expected VP: Governor Who Defied Obama’s Climate Agenda
    http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?hpf=1&a_id=145673&utm_source=DailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=2016-07-15&utm_content=&utm_campaign=feature_2

    Republican Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate cheered the U.S. energy industry and dismayed green advocates, with both sides citing Pence’s support for coal mining and defiance of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda.

    Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has called climate change a hoax and promised to gut U.S. environmental regulations in order to help the ailing oil and coal sectors. A Trump-Pence ticket will quash any expectation that the New York businessman might soften that stance heading into the Nov. 8 election….

    In June 2015, Pence wrote to Obama saying that Indiana, America’s eighth largest coal-producing state, would not comply with the Clean Power Plan regulating power plant emissions, calling it “ill-advised.”

    In 2014, Pence alarmed local environmental groups by overturning an energy efficiency program enacted by his Republican predecessor, Mitch Daniels, saying it was too expensive for the state’s manufacturers. The Indiana Public Utility Commission had estimated the program would create more than 18,600 jobs.

    “The choice of Pence shows Trump has little interest in appealing to anyone outside of his extremist base and Big Polluters,” said Clay Schroers, a director at the League of Conservation Voters environmental group.

    Trump has long signaled his support of traditional energy production – part of his broader appeal to blue-collar American voters.

    He outlined plans in May to sweep away environmental regulations ushered in by Obama, scrap the Paris Climate Accord, and revive the Keystone XL pipeline proposal – moves that would reverse years of gains by the green movement.

    Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in contrast, has promised more stringent regulation of the energy sector, efforts to boost renewable fuels use, and a commitment to join other nations to combat global climate change.

    • :…Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has called climate change a hoax….”

      And that makes him an idiot — just what so many people are worried about.

      And, he used to blame it all on the Chinese, also idiotic:

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/03/hillary-clinton/yes-donald-trump-did-call-climate-change-chinese-h/

      • (If this is one of your comments that got put into moderation, it was probably a specific word you used. Try replacing the “o” with a zero. That usually works for me.)

        [“]…Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has called climate change a hoax….”

        And that makes him an idiot — just what so many people are worried about.

        Nope.

        The most important thing to realize is that when you’re using a problem as a stalking horse for an ideological agenda, it helps if it’s a real problem.

        So the question of whether the “global warming” scam is a “hoax” or not has nothing to do with whether the science is valid.

        As for the “science”…

    • Why aren’t conservatives environmentalists?

      Don’t the words conservative and conservationist come from the same root?

      What could be more conservative than protecting the environment in which you live?

      Instead, today’s fake conservatives are all in for corporate power, environmental destruction, and feeding the mouth of greed.

      When did that happen?

      • Conservation is growing moso bamboo on sloping country which would otherwise be fire-prone regrowth scrub full of lantana and wild tobacco and privet.

        Environmentalism is…well, South Australian windpower. It’s waste, regional impoverishment balanced by Federal pork barrelling…and lots of that “corporate greed” you mention.

    • Brian G Valentine

      David, take a break, there is a difference between “protecting the environment” and “hostage to junk science.”

      Thank God the Green Movement wasn’t around a thousand years ago, we would all be wearing animal skins with a mean expected life of about 22 years

    • Brian, how are you in any way qualified to say what is “junk science?”

      I haven’t seen you write anything here that is the slightest bit scientific…..

    • Brian G Valentine

      “Brian, how are you in any way qualified to say what is “junk science?” ”

      I was born with the ability and you were not.

    • “I was born with the ability and you were not.”

      Brian, I meant that specifically, and you gave a flippant reply.

      What, specifically, are your qualifications for judging science?

    • Brian G Valentine

      I earned a PhD of engineering science from RPI, a bachelor of science from Siena College, I am paid by the Government to judge it, I am paid by the University of Maryland to teach it.

      For better of for worse David that is the way it is.

    • Ref the Keystone pipeline, cancelling it was a gain for energy insecurity and a reward for the Venezuelan regime. The Venezuelan oil blend shipped to the USA is nearly identical to the oil blend the Canadians would have shipped via Keystone XL. Both oils are 8 degrees API, both have to be blended to about 17-19 API to be marketable. Therefore, the long term effect would be to have the Canadian crude displace Venezuelan crude from the USA market,mwhich arrives by tanker. The Venezuelan crude would have to be sent to India and China at a higher cost.

      The USA would benefit because the oil imports would come from Canada rather than a state controlled by narcogenerals allied with Cuba, Iran, Belarus, Russia, etc.

    • David
      Corporate power and environmental destruction and feeding the mouth of greed. No imagination? Nothing nuanced? An overused adolescent kind of charge?

      I heard the same drivel 50 years ago. Except then the corporate culture had some of those elements. Times have changed. Institutions have been reformed. Laws have embraced environmental ideals. And yet neo-environmental ostriches have nothing more to add than trite , rote charges.

      You make it so easy for any thinking person to dismiss you. At a minimum bring something new to the debate.

    • David Springer

      David Appell (@davidappell) | July 16, 2016 at 12:27 am |

      Why aren’t conservatives environmentalists?

      Don’t the words conservative and conservationist come from the same root?

      Lunatic and lunatum come from the same base word too. What lame point are you trying to make?

    • David Appell said:

      Brian, how are you in any way qualified to say what is “junk science?”

      David, we already know that folks like you, Steven Mosher, JCH, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton have set themselves up to be arbiters of the “one true science.”

      So with that in mind, why don’t you regale us something we didn’t already know?

  26. If you want graduate students to succeed, construct their own three legged stool: Pay them a living wage for teaching undergraduates. Do not hire graduate students as the labor arm of the mentor’s research projects. Teach graduate students the mentor’s techniques and/or advance methodologies yet structure the graduate student’s research as an off-shoot of the mentor’s research not the core project itself. Establish research institutes that are privately funded where a candidate is rewarded for long term efforts on a particularly knotty problem that will require years to sort out. The leadership of the institute acquire the funding from private sources and then assembles a team to work on the project. The skill of the leadership is to accept those grants that allow long term research projects as well as those requiring immediate solutions. Remove the young investigator from the pressure to teach and write grants; rather, work on team project.

    • Research institutes funded by whom?

      Why should the wealthy get to decide the direction of research in a field?

      • “Why should the wealthy get to decide the direction of research in a field?”

        Why not, if they’re paying for it?
        It could hardly be worse than letting fickle political whim decide, and would likely be better. Why? Because the smart ones will realise that basic research pays off in the long run and invest some in that. That’s how all other private funding works – higher risk, higher reward; those who produce better than average returns relative to risk get more to play with. Why should science be any different?
        As per the survey, the current distorted evaluation system is being gamed, as all government rules inevitably are – tax, subsidies, contracts, all of it. The trick is to ensure the simplest rules are in place, and not distort them because “it’s the right/moral thing to do” – that leads to stupid things like companies leasing instead of buying simply because they can get the same benefit for the same expenses and pay less tax. That’s a subsidy to lease companies and distorts the market.

      • David Appell

        Research institutes does the science by contract that companies either do not have the facilities for or wish to invest in those types of facilities. A large such institute, Battelle Memorial Institute is one such large research facility doing applied science and technology organized as a charitable trust. Others, not as massive are in the bioscience arena which requires specific technology and personnel to study and advance a particular portion of science.

        Then there are the large research endeavors such as the former Bell Laboratory involving a mix of basic and applied science.

        To believe that the highest professional achievement is an academic appointment is becoming less a reality for most graduates of science programs. I am in agreement with Judith Curry that academia will have to change in many ways as the current publish or perish grind is producing some very distorted science.

      • kneel63 said:

        As per the survey, the current distorted evaluation system is being gamed….

        [T]hat leads to stupid things like companies leasing instead of buying simply because they can get the same benefit for the same expenses and pay less tax. That’s a subsidy to lease companies and distorts the market.

        kneel, kneel. But didn’t you know that the motives of politicians are always pure, other-serving, and always to promote “the public interest”?

    • David Appell,

      You wrote –

      “Why should the wealthy get to decide the direction of research in a field?”

      Maybe because the poor people haven’t got any spare cash. Some poor people manage as scientists, anyway.

      Gregor Mendel wasn’t wealthy, but managed to do a bit of research in the field of genetics. Mendelian inheritance may ring a bell.

      Unlike foolish Warmists who spend vast amounts of other people’s money to achieve precisely nothing. Who has heard of the Hansen-Schmidt-Mann effect? Or maybe the Trenberth Travesty stirs the imagination?

      And still CO2 heats nothing at all, even planets.

      Cheers.

  27. Brian G Valentine

    Just as with athletic activities, people can either contribute to science or they can not.

    Professional athletics filters itself, science does not, but it used to

    • In what way do you think science once “filtered” itself?

      • Brian G Valentine

        It was not supported, and junk was disregarded, and the repeatable derived from firm deduction stood the test of time and provided the foundation for more.

      • It was not supported??

        How do you think Einstein and Born and Bohr and Heisenberg and Pauli and Dirac were able to do their work?

      • Brian G Valentine

        None of these were “paid” to “produce” a damned thing.

        They did it only because they had the compulsion and the ability to do it and nothing else.

      • Brian: Who do you think paid the salaries of Einstein and Born and Bohr and Heisenberg and Pauli and Dirac and Feynman and Oppenheimer?

      • davideisenstadt

        On this very thread you pondered why your posts are disappeared.
        What staggering degree of lack of self-awareness.
        You are truly a troll.
        Why dont you go and read a biography of Einsten and learn what job he was holding down during the year or so that made his career.
        People like you should refrain from writing the names Einstein Bohr and Feynman.
        Now, if you want to name drop…why dont you read what Freeman Dyson, one of the few physicists who ever lived who was a peer of Einstein, and come back and report to us what he thinks of your meme?
        We all know why you won’t.

      • Curious George

        Einstein’s salary was paid by the Swiss Patent Office.

  28. Brian G Valentine

    If man made global warming had a scientific basis, there would be no serious discussion.

    The fact that it doesn’t results only in anger and vituperation to support it.

    • Have you taken any time to read about the evidence for manmade warming?

      If so, what — specificallv — have you read?

      • Have you taken any time to read about the evidence for manmade warming?

        I prefer getting the station data and looking at it directly.

    • Brian G Valentine

      Of course I have David and it is wholly unscientific. It begins with circular reasoning and it ends with nothing.

      The definition of “climate sensitivity to doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere” begins with a parameter defined by two unknowns. It gets worse from there. It is rubbish and there is no salvage to any of it.

    • What — specifically — have you read, Brian?

    • David Appell,

      Just a minor quibble, but when you refer to man made warming, are you referring to heating resulting from the application of heat of sufficient quantity and type to cause a rise in a temperature measuring instrument, or are you referring to a non existent property of CO2 which causes objects to rise in temperature merely by virtue of being exposed to the action of CO2?

      The first is reasonable, the second appears to reside only on the febrile imaginings of foolish (rather than rational) Warmists. No falsifiable hypothesis relating to CO2 planet heating properties can be found. Cargo Cult Science at best.

      Cheers.

      • Mike Flynn wrote:
        “Just a minor quibble, but when you refer to man made warming, are you referring to heating resulting from the application of heat of sufficient quantity and type to cause a rise in a temperature measuring instrument, or are you referring to a non existent property of CO2 which causes objects to rise in temperature merely by virtue of being exposed to the action of CO2?”

        Just as dumb as always, aren’t you Mike?

        You clearly have zero interest in trying to understand the science.

        But at least you’re consistent.

      • David Appell,

        Are you essaying a foolish Warmist attempt to deny, divert and confuse, or are you really unable to comprehend long sentences?

        Which part did you not understand?

        I can write more slowly, if it will help.

        Cheers.

    • Brian, how do you think Einstein and Born and Bohr and Heisenberg and Pauli and Dirac were able to do their work?

      You’re avoiding questions. Tsk tsk.

  29. A valuable tenet in science is academic freedom. This is earned with tenure, and it means that the university pays you to do science, but you have freedom in the topic. They can’t fire you for getting inconvenient results or for researching things just for curiosity that don’t profit anyone. There is a lot more freedom in scientific academia than this article would have you believe. This is how science progresses, and it is not in danger as long as there are large numbers of tenured jobs at universities to push independent research forwards.

    • Brian G Valentine

      Unless the topic is global warming. I think Judith would tell you that “academic freedom” has a boundary that other people will define for you whether you like it or not.

      It’s not a real pretty thing, I’ve dealt with it myself

      • It turns out you can’t be sacked, and you can write what you like. This is what academic freedom means. It is extremely hard to fire someone who is tenured unless they have done something criminal or academically fraudulent. The article missed this whole aspect. There is freedom of thought among academics.

      • The key issue is tenured faculty members, versus the much larger population of untenured scientists employed by universities

      • Tenured faculty can also guide their students in ways of thinking about things, and if it makes scientific sense, it sticks with them. The point is that there is a lot of freedom. Look at Lindzen and Spencer, for example. They can say anything they want.

      • Judith, aren’t you tenured?

      • David Springer

        As a tenured professor you can’t get sacked, true. At least not easily and without liability.

        But you can have your salary reduced and frozen, your keys to the lab taken away, your authority revoked, your classes cancelled, and so forth. I’m not sure how many of those have befallen Curry. At least one that I know of – her authority as chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences was taken away. I strongly suspect her salary was reduced at the same time commensurate with the demotion. Her Georgia Tech web page indicates she hasn’t taught a class since 2007 so it appears her students were taken away too. 2007 is the year she became an outspoken critic of global warming science.

        Now ask yourself how likely it is that a scientist would have made it to the position of department chair at a major research university before being discovered as a pseudo-scientific fraud.

        Curry’s a portrait in courage, a bastion of scientific integrity, and I’m honored to know her.

      • David Springer,

        You’re absolutely right. In general, there’s bastardry, and there’s academic bastardry, which lifts bastardry to a far higher level.

        I’ve seen senior academics, world class, reduced to tears. Academic freedom? The freedom for the consensus to bully, persecute, ignore, undermine, and generally act like world-class bastards.

        Salutations to Dr Curry, if she has been subjected to this sort of treatment, and can still maintain her equilibrium.

        Cheers.

      • David Springer and Mike Flynn,

        As the historian Jacques Barzun observed, “the human intellect is imperialist.”

        Nothing — not Modernism, nor the Enlightenemt, nor Marxism, nor the Victorian strategies of W.E.B. Du Bois, nor the apostles of scientific management like Paul Samuelson — has done anything to cure scientists of this trait.

        To believe that scientists could somehow form some sort of all-knowing, self-sacrificing prieslhood — in the mold of the Roman Catholic Church — has to be one of the greatest follies of the Modern age.

  30. Who’d have thunk it eh? Science, like much else, is unavoidably bent towards desires of the funder. A fact successfully hidden by flying the prestigious banner “science”.
    Tenure? Only those who pass the entrance bias test get to then say whatever they like without fear.

    • “Who’d have thunk it eh? Science, like much else, is unavoidably bent towards desires of the funder.”

      So I assume you too bend your results towards what your funder desires.

      Or are you the only honest man on Earth?

      • David Springer

        “So I assume you too bend your results towards what your funder desires.”

        Only when I wanted to keep the funding. In private enterprise “funding” means keeping your job.

    • David Appell,

      There are at least two of us. Some people believe it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees, so to speak.

      Cheers.

    • Mike, so you’re honest, but no one else is. Right?

      How is that magical podium doing for you?

    • David Appell,

      If you’re going to make a straw man, at the very least you need some straw.

      Cheers.

  31. Brian G Valentine

    It took about 50 years to get “eugenics” off the map and I expect the same for AGW,

    Meanwhile everybody suffers needlessly

    • Brian, do you think carbon dioxide doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, or do you think this planet doesn’t emit any?

    • Brian G Valentine,

      Maybe longer. The British Phrenological Society didn’t officially wind up until about 1966, from memory.

      I believe astrology and economics still have followers. Astrology doesn’t seem to do much harm.

      Cheers.

    • Brian G Valentine

      “Brian, do you think carbon dioxide doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, or do you think this planet doesn’t emit any?”

      Can somebody answer David’s question for him? I have to go to bed

      Good night

    • Brian, again — what, specifically, have you read about the evidence for AGW?

      • David Springer

        Evidently enough to know it’s all circumstantial evidence. You’ve either not reached that point yet or if you have you’re in denial. Maybe it’ll happen in your case but likely not. Pseudo-religious cults like global warming science rely on the unwavering uncritical devotion of people just like you. P.T. Barnum was right.

  32. Geoff Sherrington

    There seems to be a concentration here of observations about academia, fewer about non-academic research. But the main matter that arose from reading here is ‘purpose’.
    I shall illustrate this from my own experience, not to promote myself but because it was rather diverse.
    My first science job was as a lab assistant supporting the team work of others older, wiser and more qualified. The purpose of this work was to help the team.
    Then, I moved to employment in industry, in a lab researching the optimum fertilizer applications for farmers with various crops and soils and climate. Here, the purpose of my work was split, part to manage the thousands of analyses per day, part to advance by research what was then known about ‘soil testing’ (in its shorthand expression).
    Next was to borrow many $ and set up a lab of my own, with some colleagues. The main purpose here was to make money in an expanding field, but the science sub-purpose was to develop more methods in soil testing and analytical chemistry.
    Then I was offered a position in the minerals industry, as a chief geochemist. Here the purpose was clear. It was to discover new ore deposits that could be mined for a profit. I did this type of work for the next 20 years and through success, managed to work in a wealthy environment with little restriction on what I did, finally, one level below the Board in a resources company I had helped grow to several thousand people.
    There were very few formal scientific publications from any of us. We had a large load to report to various governments, mostly results with some interpretation. It was a competitive environment and we did not disclose useful new work too soon.
    Therefore, we had little problem with the peer review process, except that with seniority we were asked to review more papers by others, which we did, as a window to the competing science world.
    We had strong links with academia and (in Australia) with the government research body, the CSIRO. This was rather valuable because we were able to draw upon a wide source of evolving science.
    However, we tended not to fund research that did not have a clear purpose and tough go/nogo review points. That was the workable way to keep quality high.
    I am seeking to stress here that it is a mistake, mostly, for a graduate to start research without a clear view of its purpose and what that purpose means to the individual.
    Institutions that are preferentially funded ‘for a good cause’ are not doing proper science. There should be a separate funding arrangement for places doing mostly original research as opposed to doing factory science. There are rather different measures of success in each.
    Finally, new graduates should know that being good at science is not a trait of all. Just as some golfers have an inherent ability to be champs, so it is with scientists. This trait can’t be quantified, it can be emergent and one is rather lucky if ones main colleagues have it. If you realise that you do not have it, quit earlier than later. Judge this by whether you are able to achieve the clear purpose of your work and do not be afraid to jump from golf to tennis or whatever.
    After ‘purpose’ comes accountability, another chapter.

  33. David Springer

    Dear David Appell,

    I note you’ve exceeded the over-posting threshold again. In this thread-jacking alone you’ve made 50 of 150 total responses. I sent a note to Curry who otherwise doesn’t really keep close track of these things. You’ll be in moderation shortly after dawn if history repeats itself. Hopefully your time-out will last longer this time if not made permanent under what appears to be a de-facto three strikes and you’re out rule.

  34. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    I wish I could say this was shocking to read. Just depressingly obvious.

  35. There is an anti-fracking bias in research that motivates researchers to find reasons why fracking is bad instead of carrying out objective scientific inquiry.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2780742

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Worse, there is a destructive mood afoot whereby younger people with ideas hold back on them because they are so new or complicated that it would not be possible to regulate them.
      The inference is that regulation is an integral part of acceptance. A normal step like applying for a patent, for example.
      Free marketeers would dispute the need for inclusion of the grey cardigan brigade. As all should.

  36. The problems with the institutions of science arise from a basic misunderstanding or willful ignorance in regards to human nature. If the solution to this problem continues to be rejected by science, there is not going to be any improvement.

    Andrew

  37. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    JC comment: It’s long past time to break the perverse incentives that rule academic research.

  38. David Wojick

    Regarding the perversion of science by government funding, I have a proposed framework on quantifying this: http://www.cato.org/publications/working-paper/government-buying-science-or-support-framework-analysis-federal-funding

    Saying it and proving it are two very different things.

  39. These problems have been written of frequently for at least the last 40 years, the epoch during which I have been a regular reader of Science Magazine. The system persists because no one has proposed a replacement that a majority agree would be an improvement. All of the proposed solutions have problems of their own, as highlighted by a lot of the foregoing comments.

    It is useful note that the “process” of science is justified because, of all the ways of trying to know how everything works, this is the process that produces the best results in the long run. In applied research, the judgment of success depends on products that work; in pure research the judgment of success depends on ideas and experimental results that lead to additional reproducible and shareable new ideas and experiments.

    Of the proposed remedies that I have read, those I think most likely to produce good results in the long run are: (a) complete publication, i.e. sharing, of all collected data (e.g. the Protein Data Bank), possibly after a delay of perhaps a year after the data record is “locked” by the researcher; (b) complete publication, i.e. sharing, of all computer code; (c) complete publication, sharing again, of intermediate results of calculations supporting the published papers, i.e. a complete public “data audit trail”. All solutions are partial and temporary, but for the time being the storage space (server hard drives and personally owned DVDs) is plentiful and cheap.

    I expect that the wholesale pirating of all published papers is likely to be neutral in the long run; as journals are driven out of business, the ability to produce the peer-reviewed archive will be reduced. That will make tenure and grant-funding decisions harder and ess reliable than they are now. There ain’t no such thing as a free paper.

    As a statistician, I wish that the deleterious and demoralizing effects of the random variation in all phenomena and data collection procedures were more deeply and broadly appreciated (cf reviews by Ioannidis and others of the past decades), but that might be hoping for too much from human nature. Skepticism, demands for reproducibility, and patience in accumulating sufficient evidence are hard enough to grasp and to teach and to practice.

    • Curious George

      Thank you for a thoughtful contribution. The Internet may be a replacement for traditional journals. The cost of publication is extremely low. The peer review may be replaced by a review of posted papers, after the posting, not before. Reviews must be posted as well. Users should be able to create their own score by assigning a trustworthiness to individual reviewers or groups of reviewers, e.g. the Hockey Team members.

      • Danny Thomas

        Great ideas. After the fact posting allowing a review of the reviewers. Seems this would lead to a more transparent and responsibility oriented result.

  40. David Wojick

    If anyone is actually interested in the paywall issue, there is a lot happening. First, most major journals now offer what is called the gold open access (OA) option, where the author pays for the article and there is no paywall. But this looks to a lot of people like vanity press, nor do authors want to pay for what they can get for free, which is published.

    Then there is the green open access option where the publisher removes the paywall after an embargo period, which typically is 12 months. The US Government is just starting to do this for all articles that flow from federal funding, under the US Public Access Program. I cover this in a (gasp) paywalled newsletter. See my http://insidepublicaccess.com/. Mind you NIH, which spends half of the $60 billion a year federal basic research budget, has been doing green OA for a long time.

    Some people seem to want journal articles to be free to the authors and to the public but that is not possible, because publishing a journal costs money so someone has to pay. Bitching about paywalls per se is therefore pointless, foolish even, unless you want to force authors to pay for publication, or to see an end to journals. To will the end is to will the means.

    • Bitching about paywalls per se is therefore pointless, foolish even, unless you want to force authors to pay for publication…

      Your attitide, IMO, is very “last century” and confuses monopolistic publishing with appropriate ownership of research. Admittedly, paywalling is a deeply entrenched enemy but, ultimately, it will lose this war.

      That said, I don’t see what would be so troubling about including “open access” funds in all grant requests (until such time as the culture and technology extinguish the anachronistic paywall format). Grantees typically promote their anticipated publications when seeking grants and the cost of open access is comparatively small potatoes.

      • opluso,

        If the authors own their intellectual property, and an academic publisher has charged the authors for the privilege of allowing publication, then the authors can allow anyone they wish access to their intellectual property., one would think.

        They could for example, make their academic publication login details available to anyone who desired to read the research. To sci-hub, for example.

        Publications could always retract the article, and refund the publication fee, if the authors exercised their intellectual property rights. Academic publications do not pay for peer reviewers, and refuse to accept any research which does not appear capable of generating profits.

        Thousands of retractions occur each year, for reasons ranging from plagiarism, to data falsification. Nonsense computer generated papers, replete with sciencey words, have been accepted by prestigious journals, and supposedly peer reviewed, prior to publication. Obviously, an important factor in acceptance for publication is the ability to pay an appropriate fee.

        In the case of predatory or vanity journals, the only consideration for publication seems to be the ability to pay for publication. Steven Mosher may be able to provide further information.

        All good fun, unless you take it seriously!

        Cheers.

  41. My perspective, is that it doesn’t matter how much research funds are made available, when natural variability of weather and climate is assumed to be largely internal, they will be guaranteed to always arrive at the wrong conclusion.

  42. Dr. Curry, after reading you comments, there are tears in my eyes.

  43. I think this thread is a load of crap.

  44. “We heard back from 270 scientists all over the world…”

    Next.

  45. The better argument against intellectual property rights of scientific papers is the idea that is the research is paid for by government, then the results belong to the public, as the public has paid for it. The authors certainty have copyright, but being required to make their papers (and all the data and all the code etc – although these are justified by the requirements of good science) available free to the public via the internet is no more a violation of their rights than are public libraries.

  46. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #232 | Watts Up With That?

  47. Dr. Curry wrote:
    “The root of the problem in 21st century science is viewing successful science as a ‘result’, rather than as a process.”

    I very rarely post on here but I read the site extensively. I believe that in addition to the problems mentioned in the post and the Vox article that one big issue is how science is TAUGHT in the primary and secondary levels. It is taught as a finalized, fact memorizing ‘result’. Is it any wonder then that after teaching so many millions of people this way growing up that it is public perception? This is a difficult issue to work on, because in order to learn the basics of the various subjects one does have to memorize quite a bit in primary and secondary school–but I believe that the emphasis should be changed here as well as in institutions of higher learning.

    Dr. Curry wrote:
    “I am particularly concerned about the plight of young scientists. The stresses are horrendous, the rewards are much more difficult to discern – apart from the extreme difficulty and unlikelihood of landing a tenure track faculty position, the intellectual rewards of scientific research have been diminished by the perverse incentives of succeeding in academia.”

    This I can vouch for as a young academic. It is horrendous, and very depressing, even though I consider myself lucky to have a good P.I. for a boss and enjoy working for him (and with him) very much.

  48. The best science is amateur science. Amateur not amateurish. This is science done for its own sake, the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge sake. Science is not technology. Technology is done for practical applications, science is not.

    The best scientists are amateur scientists. Scientists who are truly interested in science, not in making lots of money or advancing his/her career or being popular. Look at history. Einstein was a patent clerk. Darwin a gentleman scientist. Lavoisier a financier. Joule a brewer. Newton a farmer-landowner. Ben Franklin a publisher. Faraday a bookbinder. Dalton a school teacher. This breed of scientists has disappeared. Understandably scientists today must make a living but that has almost nothing to do with being a scientist.

    Science is more like art and music. Good art has nothing to do on whether the artist sells his/her products. Good music has nothing to do with being a rock star. A lot of rock stars make bad music.

  49. Pingback: “The Troubled Institution of Science” – An Outsider's Sojourn II

  50. Pingback: Alarm over the public loss of trust in science | Climate Etc.