Friday, January 17, 2014


For the festivities of our choice, Ms. Rabett recently gifted Eli with a book, Schottenfreude, German words for the human condition, by Ben Schott, where the author provides examples of the dexterity of the German language.

Of course, the prototype that has made it into other languages is Schadenfreude, happiness at the misfortune of some others, the rejoicing by certain parties at a boat getting stuck coming to mind, but Schott has others like Ruinenpornographie, which he defines as the morbid fascination with photographs of contemporary urban decay.  Eli will re-purpose it to fit the demise of Pattern Recognition In Physics, a two issue journal that was set up by and a bunch of buds who, let Eli be polite, don't quite fit into the 97%.  This was an important step for the denialists, because it opened the gate to the scientific literature.  While there are nuisance journals that are not followed by the citation services like World of Science or Scopus, and the occasional outlier that sneaks in because a bud of the editors has something weird to say, this was the real thing, published by the house that published the EGU journals.

After two issues that set new records for wrong Copernicus Publications has terminated the journal
Copernicus Publications started publishing the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics (PRP) in March 2013. The journal idea was brought to Copernicus' attention and was taken rather critically in the beginning, since the designated Editors-in-Chief were mentioned in the context of the debates of climate skeptics. However, the initiators asserted that the aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines rather than to focus on climate-research-related topics.
Even Eli, trusting bunny that he is, would have been, shall he say, skeptical of that one given the all star team of editors.
Recently, a special issue was compiled entitled "Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts". Besides papers dealing with the observed patterns in the heliosphere, the special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project” (Pattern Recogn. Phys., 1, 205–206, 2013).
They were too greedy and obvious.  For the long haul they should have started quietly, but no.
Copernicus Publications published the work and other special issue papers to provide the spectrum of the related papers to the scientists for their individual judgment. Following best practice in scholarly publishing, published articles cannot be removed afterwards.

In addition, the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our  publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors.
Well, maybe nepotistic is not quite the right word, after all these guys are not family, or maybe they are, in which case incestuous would be better, but these are strong words
Therefore, we at Copernicus Publications wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of the journal as well as the malpractice regarding the review process, and decided on 17 January 2014 to cease the publication of PRP. Of course, scientific dispute is controversial and should allow contradictory opinions which can then be discussed within the scientific community. However, the recent developments including the expressed implications (see above) have led us to this drastic decision.

Interested scientists can reach the online library at:
Nasty implication there.  Certainly the publishers are not happy about the clown show they let in the door.  However on a more serious note, Eli would like to ask the bunnies to stop rolling on the floor and direct their browser to the preceding post, where the Rabett has, with permission, put up Andy Dessler's testimony to Congress and the first comment by eveningperson

One of Andy's key points is
What about alternative theories?

Any theory that wants to compete with the standard model has to explain all of the observations that the standard model can. Is there any model that can even come close to doing that?

Eveningperson gets to the nub of why Pattern Recognition In Physics and skepticism in general flails (and yes that is a pun, but one with a point)
as Dessler points out, no other explanation accounts for the whole body (or standard model) of current climate change science and it is notable that there is no body of 'skeptics' building and refining an alternative model. 'Skepticism' consists largely, as far as I can see, of the continual circulation of a body of zombie memes that are never developed into a coherent model, indeed, these memes often logically contradict each other. This even after decades of development of the standard model. 

UPDATE:  More at Retraction Watch and Big City Lib.  And the bleating has begun.

Rog (I hate relativity and climate science) Tattersall even posted the Dear Nils-Axel letter they got
We regret to inform you that we decided to terminate the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics

 While processing the press release for the special issue “Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts”, we read through the general conclusions paper published on 16 Dec 2013. We were alarmed by the authors’ second implication stating “This sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project”. Before the journal was launched, we had a long discussion regarding its topics. The aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines. PRP was never meant to be a platform for climate sceptics. In addition to our doubts about the scientific content of PRP, we also received information about potential misconduct during the review process. Copernicus Publications cannot risk losing its excellent reputation in the scientific community. We therefore wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of PRP and decided today to cease the publication. This decision must come as a surprise for you, but under the given circumstances we were forced to react.   
In the Dirty Harry sense, didn't Copernicus even look at the list of clowns who were the editors and take an early pass before getting pied??


Anonymous said...

Shorter Copernicus Publications: In spite of assurances, we detected a pattern of bad faith behavior.

Rib Smokin' bunny

Gator said...

Wow, I tried to read some of those papers. Seems like it would raise some red flags to see multiple papers written by the editors... Especially when the papers seem to be more numerology than science. I feel sorry for the few serious authors that fell for this scam.

William Connolley said...

Jo Nova has a post:

Unaccountably, she failed to copy the bit about nepotism in peer review. Weird eh?

Anonymous said...

Some of the "editors" are academics. Given the Copernicus statement they may well now be open to an investigation by their employers for research misconduct. Certainly my university would look at this rather carefully, although without more detail I don't know how far it would go. I suspect that even when the bleating ends we have not heard this story.

A Dean of Research Rabbit

Lars Karlsson said...

Authors of "General conclusions regarding the planetary–solar–terrestrial interaction":

N.-A. Mörner, R. Tattersall, J.-E. Solheim, I. Charvatova, N. Scafetta, H. Jelbring, I. R. Wilson, R. Salvador, R. C. Willson, P. Hejda, W. Soon, V. M. Velasco Herrera, O. Humlum, D. Archibald, H. Yndestad, D. Easterbrook, J. Casey, G. Gregori, and G. Henriksson

Oh dear...

Dano said...

Skepticism' consists largely, as far as I can see, of the continual circulation of a body of zombie memes that are never developed into a coherent model, indeed, these memes often logically contradict each other. This even after decades of development of the standard model.

Several of us have collected these memes into a fun party game, viz.:

o Climate Denialist Talking Point Game - an expansion of:

o Chris Colose

IMHO schadenfreude is the proper word.



Russell Seitz said...

Having been bombarded with review copies from many a vanity press, I think I recognize a pattern here

Albatross said...

LOL. Quick, tell "The Auditor" to get on it and do some forensics to expose the malpractice and problems with these climastrology papers!

KR said...

I guess if you are having trouble getting published this incident proves you can always start your own journal. You know, for those papers that wouldn't meet the threshold at E&E...

Quite a story of 'pal-review', reminiscent of the Climate Research/de Freitas debacle. Cf. "irony" and to a large extent "Schadenfreude"...

KR said...

As note of common connections, Dr. Willie Soon - rather directly involved in the Climate Research/de Freitas nonsense - is also an author of one of the Pattern Recognition in Physics messes, concluding with the absurd statement that their climastrology "sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project".

Same old, same old.

Dano said...

I just had a thought: I know that truth is stranger than fiction, but what is the chance that this incident is an elaborate form of Internet Performance Art?

And thank you for your reliable humor, Russell.



John Mashey said...

My usual taxonomy is:

1) Bad paper gets through credible journal. Mistakes happen, but this is usually hard.
This may lead to retractions.

2) Paper gets through out-of-field journal. Mistakes happen, including omission of "not for this journal". Sometimes this arises from insufficiently-strong (but not actively malevolent) editorial procedures, such as relying too much on author-suggested reviewers.
This can lead to shakeups, such as when Wolfgang Wagner honorably resigned to show screw-up taken seriously. If people can find a weak journal, they may flock.

3) Rogue editor gets into otherwise-reasonable journal, has too much individual control, gets away with it for a while, then oversteps,as in Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003. That ended up causing multiple resignations by editors protesting. Of course, that was the real story behind one of the Climategate emails that certain people love to quote (out of context), and in fact, the problem was more pervasive than Phil and Kevin may have realized at the time, but as good scientists should, they were trying to keep junk from getting the credibility of peer-reviewed literature.

4) Journal created as an outlet for weak work, sometimes by/for the editors and friends.
E&E would fit this, but that illustrates the problem: after a while, people stop paying any attention. PRP is an even more extreme case, where the editors/friends use it as a clown-car vehicle of their own ... but of course, that can be all too obvious, except to the drivers. To get away with this, one needs to be careful and not overdo it, and have more reasonable articles for protection.

Also here might be placed my favorite dog astrology journal, see The Journal of Scientific Exploration is a Dog. In that, HWQDAJ = He Who Quotes Dog Astrology Journal = Andrew Montford, from this discussion on Wikipedia talk page*

HWQDAJ also applied to a certain "auditor" and recently emeritus MIT professor.
The key Deming article of "we have to get rid of the MWP" fame, actually appeared first at Fred Singer's SEPP website, 3 months before official publication, a curious publishing practice. Many others have quoted this, perhaps not quite understanding the journal, which was greatly influenced, with many articles, by the PEAR people. So, in some sense, that started in a similar way, but with a bigger mix of articles and topics and with less visibility than this fiasco.

* Review of Hockey-Stick Illusion was getting 20+ comments/day in Talk pages. I posted that, and for a day there was stunned silence. Then followed several days in which various people wouldn't comment on it, but kept trying to remove it, generally a no-no in Wikipedia Talk pages. The noble Stoat kept reverting it back in, and eventually they quit trying and then it finally got archived away ... but it is still there.

In some sense, the most interesting data from this is not the presence of well-known folks on the author lists, but there many others I did not recognize, who certainly might be worth thinking about.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

This is what you get when bona fide crackpots conspire to collaborate.

Russell Seitz said...

Dano,, do you know of any seriously good poets for hire ?

The florescence of vanity press & InstaJournal crack-ups suggests it is time to commission the Ruinen Elegies

David B. Benson said...

Russell --- Ask Horatio.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

You should see the cow that Willard Tony is having over this. He just threw the whole crowd under the bus. The problem with that is that he won't have any material for his blog anymore, since most of them have provided content for him.

John Mashey said...

But Scafetta and Tallbloke are begging people to read their papers, and refute them if they can.

It would have saved a lot of hassle to have just submitted climastrology papers to another journal that often covers interesting effects of planetary motion, i.e., JSE as a followon to dog astrology, whose 2007 publication date surely puts it earlier in the queue of papers that stand until refuted, but that no one cares enough to bother. Needless to say, I hope the PRiP papers do not disappear.

bill said...

The BlogScience Honour Roll is all aflame or scattered ashes, while the banner of Denial smoulders listlessly in the smoky breeze, now unheeded in the melee, as the singed but still-valiant armies relentlessly torch each others self-importance in earnest crossfire.

Is that a solemn bugle call I hear? PaRP, PaRP!...

Russell Seitz said...

Lest we forget, here's The JSE Honor Roll:

Vol. 1: 1-2
A Brief History of the Society for Scientific Exploration P. Sturrock pdf

Alterations in Recollection of Unusual and Unexpected Events D. Hall, et al. pdf

Toward a Quantitative Theory of Intellectual Discovery (Esp. in Phys.) R. Fowler pdf

Engineering Anomalies Research R. Jahn et. al. pdf

Common Knowledge About the Loch Ness Monster H. Bauer pdf

An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project P. Sturrock pdf

The Strange Properties of Psychokinesis H. Schmidt pdf

What Do We Mean by "Scientific?" H. Bauer pdf