Friday, January 24, 2014

Twisting Patterns of Peer Review

Sou | 11:08 AM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

Sheesh, it's no wonder I can't keep up with Anthony Watts today.  So far he's posted eight ten articles.  His normal daily quota is three.

Tamino alerted me to the fact that the defunct "journal" Pattern Recognition In Physics could be about to go beyond defunct.  (Not to be confused with Pattern Recognition or the International Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence.) Christopher Monckton has announced he's written to Copernicus Publications offering to take it over.

I can't see Copernicus Publications accepting Monckton's offer, but it's a grand gesture on Christopher's part.  His magnanimous gesture, even if it doesn't eventuate, will help "prominent scientists" like Nicola Scafetta and Nils Axel Morner and Tallbloke achieve their rightful place in the history of science.

Another plus is that no-one will be able to accuse the editors of not having peer review any longer, if they can get a genuine peer like Christopher Monckton on board.

The fake sceptics' "publishing house" that Monckton graces the door of from time to time, SPPI, has been around for a while but I don't think anyone except fake sceptics (and we few who see what they get up to) would have heard of it.  By now lots of people will have heard of Pattern Recognition in Physics.  It even rated write-ups in Science and Nature!

Hilariously Monckton admits he couldn't get Energy and Environment, the fake sceptics "journal" to publish an article listing him as an author.  He wrote:
When I recently co-authored a paper with professor Fred Singer on the consequences of chaos theory for the predictability of global warming, the editor of Energy & Environment, one of the few journals to allow skeptical science an airing, ordered my name to be taken off the paper on the ground that it would annoy The Borg. Besides, she said, she did not like my politics (of which there was nothing whatsoever in the paper).

To put that into perspective, the "editorial advisory board" of Energy and Environment includes such non-entities as Benny Peiser of the GWPF and Richard S Courtney, a shouty playground monitor at WUWT,

According to Anthony Watts:
In an emotional commentary written for the WorldNetDaily (aka WND) Christopher Monckton has said that he’ll take over the journal and publish a first issue in March 2014. 

Well the article Christopher wrote said nothing about the first issue being published in March 2014, so whether Christopher conveyed that privately to Anthony or whether Anthony got it wrong is anyone's guess.  If he does, and since March is less than six weeks away, as DikranMarsupial points out in the WUWT comments:
dikranmarsupial says:
January 23, 2014 at 9:37 am
If Monckton suggests that he will start with a March 2014 issue. I hope he realises that recruiting action editors, attracting papers, sending them out for review, performing round or two of satisfactory peer review and getting the papers typeset in that timeframe is, errr… somwhat ambitious!

I've got another choice comment from Roger Tallbloke (archived here).  For those who don't know, he is a climate science denying blogger of no repute, and one of the people who authored four papers in the Pattern Recognition journal.  Roger was the second most prolific author after Nicola Scafetta, equal with Nils Axel Morner and JE Solheim.  Roger got very stroppy when people at WUWT got stuck into him for pal review not peer review.  Roger reckons he's going to use Christopher's mighty shoulder to heave the stone of ignorance off the path of knowledge and straighten the road, writing:
Rog Tallbloke • 6 hours ago
Bravo Christopher Monckton. As one of the authors of the PRP special issue: 'Patterns in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts', I am delighted you have come alongside us to put your mighty shoulder to the stone of ignorance. Together we will heave it off the path of knowledge and straighten the road.

Maybe it will win the next literary award.  (Is there an award for worst metaphors?)

I wonder if Anthony is about to throw Christopher to the dogs?  I doubt it.  Christopher has a bit of a fan club of forelock pulling serfs at WUWT.  Still, Anthony did finish his article with this sarcastic remark:
Judging from the comments in the WND article, it looks like Joseph A Olson (aka FauxScienceSlayer of the Slayers/PSI fame) is queuing up to submit some of his writings. I’m sure other like minded individuals will follow in seeking to publish there.
We live in interesting times.

You can read more about Pattern Recognition in Physics in this blog article by librarian Jeffrey Beall from July last year, and in recent articles at ScienceNews, in NatureNews, in a broader context at ClimateProgress, at BigCityLib and at various climate blogs, like Rabett Run and James' Empty Blog.  (There's more than one Pattern Recognition journal that has problems.)


  1. I am not sure if I imagined this but there is an article on WUWT criticising one of the pseudo-papers in "Pattern Recognition in Physics". (And I think there may be another one, but I must have dreamt that). By Willis Eschenbach.

    I am not sure what the readers at WUWT will make of that . It sure confused the hell out of me. And they are an easily confused bunch.

    1. You didn't imagine it. Anthony Watts took the side of Copernicus Publications. He thinks peer review is a good thing. Some, like Wondering Willis, followed his lead. Others accused him of not allowing "freedom of speech" and being a hypocrite and all sorts of things.

      That wasn't the only brawl among deniers this week. Bob Tisdale got stuck into Denier Don Easterbrook for Don's fake charts, but I think they ended up kissing and making up.

      Maybe that's why Anthony is posting a rash of articles today. To try to get some solidarity among his flock by bombarding them with "ice age cometh" snippets and similar.

    2. An outbreak of rationality and real scepticism at WUWT! Who would have thought?

    3. Anthony has submitted his own paper for peer review (with Evan Jones) and does not wish to be tainted with the same brush. It's too important for him.

  2. "His normal daily quota is three."

    Five. :)

    In 2013, there were 1,933 new posts

    I do not know anymore where I picked it up, but people claim that Copernicus was only the publisher, but did not own the journal (and could thus also not change the editorial team). In this respect, the Peer probably does not even have to ask for permission, if the editors agree or whoever is the official owner of the title, he can publish the journal. I could imagine that the editorial team could become a little bit smaller and that less real scientists would be willing to publish, though.

    1. I wonder who is paying the piper....

      Anon R the LXVII

  3. With Monckton involved, they could do a special issue on patterns of birth certificates.


    1. With Mr. Monckton's cure for AIDS, claim to be a member of the House of Lords, claim to be a Nobel laureate, and numerous bizarre claims about climate science, doesn't it seem as though there is a Pattern to be Recognized?

    2. He also claims to have published mathematical books. I think they are booklets of sudoku puzzles.

  4. "Is there an award for worst metaphors?" - My ROFL will do fine :)

  5. The writeup for the Copernicus Publications program called Launch YOUR Journal says "This advanced business model includes the advantage for the initiators that they own the journal, its title and the registrations with regard to ISSN and the web domains."

    For PRIP the domain is actually registered to the publisher pattern-recognition-in-physics.net so perhaps they didn't participate in that program.


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