Science, Journalism, and (self) Censorship
I was recently struck by the contrast between two news stories on the same event, the publication of thousands of emails and documents from a climate research group in Britain, obtained by hacking into their computers. The Wall Street Journal story described the contents of what had been taken and published to the internet:
"In several of the emails, climate researchers discussed how to arrange for favorable reviewers for papers they planned to publish in scientific journals. At the same time, climate researchers at times appeared to pressure scientific journals not to publish research by other scientists whose findings they disagreed with."
Many of the email exchanges discussed ways to decline such requests for information, on the grounds that the data was confidential or was intellectual property. In other email exchanges related to the FOIA requests, some U.K. researchers asked foreign scientists to delete all emails related to their work for the upcoming IPCC summary. In others, they discussed boycotting scientific journals that require them to make their data public."
The other story was from the BBC, currently my first source for online news. It discussed the successful hacking—and said nothing at all about what was found.
I was reminded of the verse by Humbert Wolfe (of whom I know nothing else—I encountered it in something written by George Orwell).
Thank God the British Journalist.
But seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to"
A few more quotes
(added to the post later)
In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes. . . .
Is pressuring a journal not to accept work you disapprove of by getting colleagues not to cite papers published in that journal a legitimate tactic?