Streetwise Professor

February 11, 2010

Open Access Review

Filed under: Climate Change — The Professor @ 8:50 pm

Back during the height of the Hadley CRU scandal, I suggested that an open access, networked, distributed model should be considered as an alternative to the current, journal-dominated, hierarchical, peer review system.  University of Alabama-Huntsville climatologist John Christy has suggested that this could serve as a replacement for the highly politicized, deeply compromised, hierarchical, IPCC process:

The IPCC selects lead authors from the pool of those nominated by individual governments. Over time, many governments nominated only authors who were aligned with stated policy. Indeed, the selections for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report represented a disturbing homogeneity of thought regarding humans and climate.

However, voluminous printed reports, issued every six years by government-nominated authors, cannot accommodate the rapid and chaotic development of scientific information today. An idea we pitched a few years ago that is now worth reviving was to establish a living, ‘Wikipedia-IPCC’. Groups of four to eight lead authors, chosen by learned societies, would serve in rotating, overlapping three-year terms to manage sections organized by science and policy questions (similar to the Fourth Assessment Report). The authors would strike a balance between the free-for-all of true science and the need for summary statements.

It is definitely worth a try.  This is happening in an informal way in the blogosphere.  It should be incorporated into the IPCC process, sooner rather than later.

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  1. I agree, – though, this isn’t exactly going to help the AGW-denying cause.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — February 12, 2010 @ 12:13 am

  2. S/O. So what. I support a process that reduces the probability of error, and increases the likelihood of arriving at the truth. It’s not about arriving at a pre-determined result. I’m skeptical about many agw claims, yes. But skeptical doesn’t mean immune to evidence. It means that I insist on evidence.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 12, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  3. I wasn’t meaning to impugn your character.

    What I was getting at instead is that:
    1) IPCC is a very consensus-based organization and they don’t meet frequently, hence the research that gets incorporated into their reports tends to exclude the latest – most of which happens to indicate that the AGW situation is far worse than previously thought.
    2) Your model will emphasize the newest and (due to the networked aspect) the research with the most sensational conclusions, i.e. more of the “glaciers melting far faster than expected” type of research.

    So I support your proposal for two reasons. First, the same one you gave. Second, because in this particular case it will have good social effects, such as increasing popular pressure for the government to force through a transition to sustainable development.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — February 12, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  4. the agw histeria is just a follow up of the “global cooling” szenario of the 70ies. getting governments determining the structure of energy markets obviously gives lawmakers leverage to extort this capital intensive industry. the open an transparent scientific process obviously would reduce the money flowing, the consultant contracts etc. of our political elite- well at least if there are conclusive results. CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY THE “CLIMA SCIENTISTS” AVOID PUBLICISING THEIR DATA????????
    every time something leaks out we see that they used highly biased data and rather deterministic modelling…..

    Comment by mises ghost — June 7, 2010 @ 11:25 am

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