02 April 2013

Raise your Integrity

At the Financial Post (Canada) Ross McKitrick has a very good op-ed on the Marcott mess and its larger consequences:
In recent years there have been a number of cases in which high-profile papers from climate scientists turned out, on close inspection, to rely on unseemly tricks, fudges and/or misleading analyses. After they get uncovered in the blogosphere, the academic community rushes to circle the wagons an denounce any criticism as "denialism." There's denialism going on all right -- on the part of scientists who don't see that their continuing defence of these kind of practices exacts a toll on the public credibility of their field.
The problems lie of course not the academic community as a whole but a vocal and aggressive subset, egged on by an uncritical media and a chorus of fellow travelers. Most of the community are solid scientists, who strive to do good work. But the public face of climate science is represented by the most vocal and politicized elements. As readers here know, I could write a book about the unseemly shenanigans that have gone on in the area of disasters and climate change.

The climate community won't fix this situation until practicing scientists start publicly saying enough is enough. Perhaps the upcoming generation of academics will be the ones to do so. Meantime, deviations from long-held norms of scientific integrity deserve to be called out loudly for what they are.