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Climate change emails between scientists reveal flaws in peer review

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Fred Pearce
London Guardian
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Scientists sometimes like to portray what they do as divorced from the everyday jealousies, rivalries and tribalism of human relationships. What makes science special is that data and results that can be replicated are what matters and the scientific truth will out in the end.

But a close reading of the emails hacked from the University of East Anglia in November exposes the real process of everyday science in lurid detail.

Many of the emails reveal strenuous efforts by the mainstream climate scientists to do what outside observers would regard as censoring their critics. And the correspondence raises awkward questions about the effectiveness of peer review – the supposed gold standard of scientific merit – and the operation of the UN’s top climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The scientists involved disagree. They say they were engaged not in suppressing dissent but in upholding scientific standards by keeping bad science out of peer-reviewed journals. Either way, when passing judgment on papers that directly attack their own work, they were mired in conflicts of interest that would not be allowed in most professions.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 5:34 am





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