Further insights into war against data sharing: Science Media Centre’s letter writing campaign to UK Parliament

plos oneMy requesting the PACE trial data is much simpler than it is being portrayed. The PACE investigators promised the data would be available upon request as a condition for publishing in PLOS One. No one forced Peter White and colleagues to publish in an open access journal committed to data sharing, but by doing so they incurred an obligation. So, they should simply turn over the data.

Of course, providing me with the data would involve the risk of my analyses exposing what they have been hiding or falsely claiming.

The PACE investigators have thus far refused to turn over the data. They have treated my request as falling under a Freedom of Information request, which it does not. But with my request conceptualized in this way, they denied it because they deemed my motives in seeking the data “vexatious,” a strategy that they have used with other requests.

The PACE investigators are playing hardball.

Stephan Lewandowsky

Stephan Lewandowsky

Peter White previously enlisted Stephan Lewandowsky to disseminate a misrepresentation of the PACE investigators’ commitment to transparency:

 

Some requests were complied with, so long as they did not compromise medical confidentiality, future publications, or academic safe space to deliberate…Our deliberate policy, to help allay concerns about the trial, was to be as transparent as possible regarding what we did, while also protecting medical confidentiality and our staff and patient [p 17].

We know of course this isn’t true. The collusion of Lewandowsky in this caper undercuts his claim that he and Dorothy Bishop are not ‘intimately familiar with the details’ of the PACE Trial. (See comments on their Nature article, Research integrity: Don’t let transparency damage science) Lewandowsky’s claim was made in reaction to the two of them being criticized for lumping those who seek the PACE data, like me, with science deniers who must be resisted:

Orchestrated and well-funded harassment campaigns against researchers working in climate change and tobacco control are well documented. Some hard-line opponents to other research, such as that on nuclear fallout, vaccination, chronic fatigue syndrome or genetically modified organisms, although less resourced, have employed identical strategies.

Is there a remarkable coincidence in Lewandowsky and Bishop attempting to make data sharing so complicated, just when the PACE investigators are urgently seeking reasons not to share their data? Here is some evidence that it is not a coincidence.

Dorothy Bishop is an adviser to the Science Media Centre  founded by Simon Wessely. The SMC is coordinating a letter writing campaign to Parliament instigated by Peter White attempting to get an exclusion from the Freedom of Information Act for request for data.

What was revealed by a response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act

A FOIA request produced an email from Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre dated October 30, 2013:

Those of you, like the SMC, a worried about the malicious use of FOIA against researchers may like to see this and use it in your own efforts. I’ve just been briefed about [redacted] FOIing a number of universities about the primate research [redacted] is a convicted animal rights extremists!!! Surely this was never the intent of FOI!!!

Cheers

Fiona

The email is attached to a further thread of emails. The source for the October 28, 2013 email is redacted but the CC to Fiona Fox is revealed along with the subject letter:

Dear all.

As you can read, QMUL are lobbying MPs to get a good FOIA exemption passed into law that properly defends research. Please use this as a basis for asking your own Universities and other likely lobbyists to get in touch with their own or your own friendly MPs.

Best wishes,

Peter

I think when you read the letter template, you can see that there is no doubt that the source is Queen Mary University of London’s Peter White.

The template letter that is attached for sending to Parliament attempts specifically to get an exemption for the PACE trial:

Dear XXX,

The Intellectual Property bill currently going through Parliament includes a proposed exemption for current research from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act requests and would prevent the premature release of data in academic research.

We very much welcome this necessary exemption as we believe that it will do much to avoid the significant risks to academic freedom presented under the current pre-publication exemption of the Act. We also believe that it will help ensure the ability and willingness of researchers to engage in free inquiry into important areas of research.

We are writing to you because we are concerned that the bill as it stands may not fully clarify when the exemption from requests applies. In many cases, a research project proceeds via a series of publications, rather than one alone, progressively investigating and reporting outcomes. This, for example, is the case with the P/VCE Trial, an important study into the safety and efficacy of various treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in which QMUL researchers have participated for the last 10 years. Here there have been separate papers, published according to a defined research and publication strategy, that have addressed, or will address in sequence the main results of the effectiveness and safety of the treatments, their cost-effectiveness, long-term follow-up and the mediators of the treatments to explain how they work. [Emphasis added]

It is not immediately clear from the bill as it stands whether information from such a continuing series of publications within a given research project would fall within the exemption beyond the first publication, since it may be argued that a “report of the research” has already been published under the present wording of proposed Section 20.

We would therefore suggest the following slight change to clarify “the programme” and “publication… of a report”:

“the programme is continuing with a view to the publication, by a public authority or any other person, of a report of the research that either includes the requested data or the analysed results thereof.” [Emphasis in the original]

We hope that you will raise this issue in Parliament so that the bill may be ensured to have its intended and necessary effect.

With best regards

XXX

My previous blog post, Glimpses into the assault on data sharing discussed how the UK Independent Commission on Freedom of Information issued a call for evidence. Peter White, submitted testimony to the UK Independent Commission on Freedom of Information some time between October 9 and December 7, 2015:

“Section 22a of the Act is insufficient protection for science into controversial subjects, and requires that the research is on-going, so is irrelevant to completed research. We need science in the UK to be protected or it will continue to be damaged as this trial has been (other examples include climate change science, and research into the health effects of tobacco). Exempting Universities from the FOIA would achieve that. Exempting scientific research data produced by Universities and other higher educational institutes might be a workable alternative.”

Another blog post, King’s College London stalls some more, reiterating refusal to release the PACE trial data discusses a press release dated December 18, 2015 in which Kings College, London reiterated its refusal to release the PACE trial data.

King’s College, London had not communicated with me directly, but I learned of the press release from a tweet by Simon Wessely. I recommend following Simon on Twitter @WesselyS to get the latest updates on the maneuvering by the PACE investigators to resist sharing their data.

The press release indicated:

We are…concerned for the rights and welfare of trial participants. Participants did not give consent to the public release of their data when they entered the trial. In particular we are concerned to ensure that there is no risk of misuse of the data such as through inadvertent personal identification. The scientists who have already received data have all signed a formal confidentiality agreement, approved by the independent PACE Trial Steering Committee, which required that they respect the confidential nature of the data, and keep them secure, as agreed with trial participants when they consented to take part. We stand by our decisions to decline two recent applications for trial data as we believe that they did not meet these requirements.

We are currently seeking further ethical and scientific advice, as well as the advice of patients, on how best to provide independent decisions about appropriate access to relevant data in a way that balances the rights of trial participants, and future progress of the trial analysis and follow up, with the public interest in releasing trial data.”

The Nature comment by Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop expands on these concerns. Of course, that’s only a coincidence.

In future blog posts, I will be discussing more about the Science Media Centre’s well-orchestrated campaign to protect the claims of the PACE investigators’ interpretation of their data, including by attacking the motives and character of those who criticize it and request the data for independent reanalysis.

The motive is simple. If the claims of the PACE investigators are as credible, then disabled people who are getting payments from the government can be required to get cognitive behaviour therapy as a condition for continuing their payments. Of course, it has been gradually unfolding that CBT or Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) can not get chronic fatigue/myalgic encephamyelitis patients back to work. And a course of GET makes many of them more disabled. But who cares when requirement that these patients be in such treatment can be used to deny social welfare payments to them?

smc media campaign

Science Media Centre organized media campaign inaccurately portraying benefits of CBT

A future blog post will also reveal the government and corporate funding sources  for the Science Media Centre, including energy company BP, Proctor & Gamble, Rolls-Royce and pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca. Another blog post will discuss the origins of the smearing of critics of the PACE trial as science deniers. I’ll explain why we are being lumped with animal rights activists and climate change deniers, but not opponents of fracking.

I’m sure that many readers were as confused as I was by Dorothy Bishop’s apparent about-face from a November blog, Who’s afraid of Open Data to the recent Nature commentary with Stephan Lewandowsky. In November Bishop was saying

“Fears about misuse of data can be well-justified when researchers are working on controversial areas where they are subject to concerted attacks by groups with vested interests or ideological objections to their work. There are some instructive examples here and here. Nevertheless, my view is that such threats are best dealt with by making the data totally open. If this is done, any attempt to cherrypick or distort the results will be evident to any reputable scientist who scrutinises the data. This can take time and energy, but ultimately an unscientific attempt to discredit a scientist by alternative analysis will rebound on those who make it.  In that regard, science really is self-correcting. If the data are available, then different analyses may give different results, but a consensus of the competent should emerge in the long run, leaving the valid conclusions stronger than before.”

I think this seeming contradiction could be resolved if Dorothy Bishop publicly clarified her relationship to the Science Media Centre, including where she stands, as an adviser, on its campaign against data sharing.

 

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33 thoughts on “Further insights into war against data sharing: Science Media Centre’s letter writing campaign to UK Parliament

  1. Being called science denier by members of the Wessely school is especially ironic. They have consistently ignored the biomedical literature that contradicts their narrative of CFS as mental disorder. Their model is ostensibly biopsychosocial, but the role of biology is only that of trigger for (false) illness beliefs and excessive bed rest, which would produce deconditioning that the patient mistakes for the symptoms of a major disease (1).

    Not only is this patronizing and offensive to patients, it’s also contradicted by the biomedical literature showing a variety of abnormalities in the patient population that are indicative of an underlying pathology. Asserting that all cases of CFS are a mental disorder is incompatible with the published science. The PACE trial further undermines their own illness model since after a year of exercise therapy, patients still scored worse on a walking test than patients with heart failure and patients in in need of lung transplantation. If CFS was merely a state of deconditioning, patients would be cured within a few months of exercise therapy. In a certain sense PACE has helped advance science, just in the opposite direction claimed by the authors.

    The literature on exercise related abnormalities in CFS is particularly relevant to this discussion. The abnormalities that can be observed in patients are inconsistent with a deconditioning hypothesis (or lack of effort).

    Inability of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients to reproduce VO₂peak indicates functional impairment.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24755065

    Discriminative validity of metabolic and workload measurements for identifying people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23813081

    Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome performed worse than controls in a controlled repeated exercise study despite a normal oxidative phosphorylation capacity.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20937116

    Decreased oxygen extraction during cardiopulmonary exercise test in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24456560

    Moderate exercise increases expression for sensory, adrenergic, and immune genes in chronic fatigue syndrome patients but not in normal subjects.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19647494

    Differences in metabolite-detecting, adrenergic, and immune gene expression after moderate exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, patients with multiple sclerosis, and healthy controls.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22210239

    Changes in Gut and Plasma Microbiome following Exercise Challenge in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26683192

    A survey by the ME Association found that 74% of patients reported being harmed by graded exercise. http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2015/05/23959/

    Graded exercise therapy continues to be promoted under the assumption that it’s safe and that patients with CFS do not have an underlying pathology which would prevent them from returning to normal activity levels and to a normal life.

    Hopefully 2016 will be the year the Wessely school will be forced stop their science and illness denial.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It’s quite obvious that White et al. don’t really care about academic freedom. They don’t really feel harassed. They could care less about patient confidentiality. It’s all a smokescreen.

    It’s time to call their behavior out for what it really is; empire-building and nepotism, at the expensive of gravely ill patients, nothing more.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for another interesting blog on this, and for working to draw attention to all of these problems.

    “The motive is simple. If the claims of the PACE investigators are as credible, then disabled people who are getting payments from the government can be required to get cognitive behaviour therapy as a condition for continuing their payments.”

    I’m not sure that it is so simple. I think that the desire to shift more of the responsibilities and costs of ill health on to individuals, and away from state and private insurance, is part of it, but suspect that now a bigger factor in the attempts to avoid releasing data from the PACE trial is just important institutions and influential individuals trying to avoid being embarrassed. As you say, critics expressing concerns about the PACE trial have had to endure a prolonged media campaign against them – those responsible for this will be left looking unusually bad if it is later decided that the critics were right, and the PACE trial was a seriously flawed piece of work. The approach taken to defending the PACE trial makes it very difficult for those involved to now back down and admit that they were wrong.

    Also, the results from PACE were so weak (aside from the heavily spun recovery claims) that it would be difficult to use CBT/GET for CFS as part of the government’s proposal for forced treatment for benefit claimants, particularly in the face of informed patient advocacy (no matter how attacked this has been).

    Having said that, government sources have cited CBT as an intervention that should be used to return recalcitrant patients to work, with financial penalties for those who do not consent. I cannot think of any condition for which such an approach could be justified, and recent UK welfare reforms do seem to be simple cost-cutting dressed up in the language of empowerment and rehabilitation. Maybe some are still hoping the CBT/GET can be used as a part of this project? Ian Duncan Smith may even be a true believer.

    We cannot know what’s going on behind the scenes, but we can be confident that releasing the PACE trial’s data would give a clearer understanding of what happened with that piece of research, the first (and I think still only) medical trial to have received funding from the DWP (UK welfare department).

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Prof Coyne, thank you for uncovering the truth. Science media center controls what is being said to journalists in the UK regarding ME. It means that if there is a strong paper coming from the US, SMC will not flag it and will not be shared in the newspapers in the UK.

    In contrast, when a paper gets published from QMUL or KCL about Pace Trial, then there will be a press conference and journalists will be briefed about how successful pace is.

    SMC London is opening other branches around the world to ‘explain the science’ to journalists. And they claim to be ‘non-biased’

    Thank you for digging furhter. The corruption runs deep in that neck of wood. Who benefits, and who pays, who contributes and who stands by is like a giant chess of games.

    Like

  5. It’s clear that the strategy of the PACE People is to delay, delay, delay until they get the law changed. I sure hope there is an academic association that is actively resisting these changes by lobbying Parliament.

    Meanwhile the PACE machine is getting ready to grind up young people with new studies called “FITNET” and “MAGENTA”. They are being organized by Esther Crawley:

    This study will investigate the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Graded Exercise Therapy compared to Activity Management for the treatment of CFS/ME in children.

    We will interview participants, their parents, researchers and clinicians to improve the study and the interventions. If MAGENTA is feasible, we will move on to a full study and find out whether GET is effective and cost effective. The study will be conducted in three specialist services: Bath/Bristol, Cambridge and Newcastle.

    http://public.ukcrn.org.uk/search/StudyDetail.aspx?StudyID=19035

    ———–
    What does the study involve?
    Participants are randomly allocated into two groups. Children in group one are given AM [activity management}, and those in group two are given GET. The children and their parents are then interviewed in order to judge how well the treatment is working.

    What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
    Participants will not benefit directly from taking part in the study although it may prove enjoyable contributing to the research. There are no risks of participating in the study.

    http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN23962803?q=&filters=conditionCategory:Nervous%20System%20Diseases&sort=&offset=6&totalResults=536&page=1&pageSize=10&searchType=basic-search

    (Participants in this study have not been properly warned of possible adverse effects, so there is no informed consent for this trial)

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is a major issue I think. They state the treatment is safe despite all the reports of harm and all the opposing science pointing to harm, even if Crawley personally believes the treatments to be safe, she can’t pretend she isn’t aware that there are questions over the treatments safety as she is on record saying she knows. How can the participants give proper informed consent? We are talking about children here. To chose to hide the inconvient safety concerns is clearly a serious ethical breech.

      Liked by 2 people

      • How do we contact the institutional review board? They may very well be ignorant of the harms of GET. Since these studies are just getting under way, perhaps it is not too late to stop them from harming more children.

        Like

  6. CFS researchers balk at being clubbed with ‘climate change deniers’. But there was a time when climate sceptics balked at being clubbed with Holocaust deniers. That is how the word ‘denier’ entered the lexicon of science commentary. It’s a smear and researchers are betteer of being agnostic instead of falling for easy assumptions and frights. ‘Whatever you do, please don’t compare me to climate deniers’ – is just lazy stuff.

    Everyone understands their own data requests as being legitimate and in keeping with furthering the interests of science and individuals. But researchers hesitate to see parallels between their own requests and the fate of similar ones in other fields. The links between how these games are played by institutions and partisan individuals like Lewandowsky who work to spook critics by lumping them with popular hate figures and folk devils, go unexamined.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I made a very simple request to the authors of the PACE trial, for the actual values plotted on a graph comparing the four trial groups that were shown in their mediators paper. The graph was too small to read the values properly, but it was key to the claims of deconditioning, one of the two untested hypotheses on which the trial was based. This is the one on which the use of GET is founded: if the results are poor, then their claims really are in trouble.

    It would have meant supplying the mean and standard deviation for each group at each of the 4 assessment points: 32 numbers. Anonymity? Irrelevant! Difficult to collect? Already calculated and plotted. Important to future analysis? Already used!

    And yet they even refused to release those numbers, and labelled the request “vexatious”.

    If anyone has any doubts at all why they steadfastly refuse to release data, then this example makes it very clear: they must fear outside analysis.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. What I don’t understand is why academics would put themselves in a position of defending PACE and helping them avoid accountability. Why would they put themselves in that position?

    It seems like those defending PACE haven’t really looked into it but are still prepared to put their reputations behind defending it. Do they just blindly believe QMUL and White? Have ME patients been so denigrated in the press that their opinions are simply not taken seriously and hence dismissed without thought these academics? Or are people tapped on the shoulder with a ‘its for the good of science’ statement.

    I can’t even understand why QMUL wouldn’t ask deeper questions of White and PACE rather than just mindlessly defending it. Have those in QMUL never bothered to ask the question ‘is everything ok with the trial are they suppressing important data?’.

    The way the UK medical establishment seems to be supporting PACE just doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t seem rational. I half feel that it is academics trying to keep the great unwashed out of commenting on their work. Those who comment often come over as thinking they are superior and academics yet don’t put rational arguments but when challenged fall back on ME patients are trolls (and other insults).

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Prof Wessely has claimed that anonymisation difficulties are good reason not to release the data, and refers to the work of Cambridge’s Ross Anderson, a data security researcher, suggesting we “be afraid” (https://twitter.com/WesselyS/status/677956167327461376). Looking at Anderson & co’s work (http://nuffieldbioethics.org/wp-content/uploads/Biological_and_health_data_web.pdf) sections 4.13 onwards look specifically at research data de-identification risks. Those risks are certainly very real, so for example highly personal genetic data, or combinations of somewhat personal data in small samples or unique cohort members (gender, location, history etc) could be de-identified, but how do these concerns apply to the general data points collected in the PACE study, even in combination? It is very hard to believe distance walked in 6mins or SF-36 scores can be used to identify an individual. Even if some combined data points WERE deemed to represent a de-identification risk that suggests redacted data release, not a refusal to release all the data. Does Prof Wessely really believe there are risks re PACE data, or is this another smokescreen using a generalisation? Interestingly the Anderson et al article (which the team spent a year writing) quotes Stephen Shakespeare “We should remain firm in the principle that publicly-funded data belongs to the public”.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. “I’ll explain why we are being lumped with animal rights activists and climate change deniers, but not opponents of fracking.”

    Golly, I can’t wait.

    1. There is no such thing as climate change denial, says John Cook, the UQ Climate Communications Fellow who recently taught a Massively Open Online Course on Climate Change Denial.

    As Cook explains in There is no such thing as climate change denial,

    ‘No one denies that climate changes (in fact, the most common climate myth is the argument that past climate change is evidence that current global warming is also natural). Then what is being denied? Quite simply, the scientific consensus that humans are disrupting the climate. A more appropriate term would be “consensus denial”.’

    2. Even Cook’s ‘The Truth at Last’ explanation of what climate change deniers deny is bullshit. Some of the hardest-core of hardcore deniers are perfectly clear on the (banal and scientifically irrelevant) fact of the ‘consensus’ Cook mentions. Why would anybody bother denying it?

    3. For my part, as an arch-denier of all phrases starting with the noun ‘climate,’ I’m honored to be “lumped” with anyone who, like you, works for openness and light in academia. As far as I’m concerned there are only two ‘sides’: we’re on the side of science, and our enemies are on the side of Medieval obscurantism and data feudalism.

    It is they—not “climate change deniers”—who not only ‘must be resisted’ but must be routed without the possibility of parole, for the sake of the advancement of civilization.

    4. James, you might want to exhibit some epistemic humility, open-mindedness or—god forbid—skepticism next time you’re tempted to repeat the phrase ‘climate change denier’ as if it means what propagandists like Lewandowsky would have you think it means. You now have direct knowledge of the unflushable Lew’s moral turpitude in the PACE affair. I wonder if this will cause you to revise your assumption that People Like Him are being entirely honest in their dealings with People Like Us. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a long shot, but hey.

    So it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, James, notwithstanding your apparent determination to be a jerk to climate skeptics. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks for your latest blog post – it’s fab.

    While you are looking into the SMC, could you find out why it is necessary for British patients to be forced to have an SMC representative who is Head of Mental Health & Neuroscience at Science Media Centre, placed in the ME/CFS UK CMRC research consortium and involved in their meetings – which we the patients don’t get to go to?

    It beggars belief that the not exactly unbiased SMC have planted one of their own into the process.

    Minutes from the UK CMRC meeting of 15 show that Ed Sykes of the SMC goes to their meetings and has been involved for a number of years.

    eg.
    http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2016/01/uk-mecfs-research-collaborative-minutes-of-the-executive-committee-meeting-held-on-15-january-2016/

    https://www.actionforme.org.uk/uploads/pdfs/CMRC-draft-minutes-111115.pdf

    http://phoenixrising.me/archives/17271

    This is Ed Sykes…
    https://uk.linkedin.com/in/ed-sykes-37589a43

    Why is he even involved in the UK CMRC meetings and why should the Science Media Centre’s staff be having any say in ME/CFS research or its explanation to the public?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So when high profile psychologists (RS medal winner, a chair of psychology) like Prof Lewandowsky shout “harassment” and claim “threats” to journals were made by his critics – ie his ‘research into climate sceptics – should other scientists just meekly accept his claims about harassment, because – ‘climate deniers’ – , maybe these people have had the same rhetorical treatment, that the PACE critics are getting concerned about?

    When even other academics have described Porf Lewandowsky and his co-author paper/actions as:

    – “activism that abuses science as a weapon” – Prof Henry Markram (full quote, further on)

    this was specifically from the founder of the journal where Prof Lewandowsky had his paper retracted from, might this given them a moments pause to read this comment just a little longer.

    Who decides if a scientist is being harassed (which is unacceptable) , or shouting ‘harrassment’ when inconvenient questions get asked. A long look at the cases documented at RetractionWatch shows a number of academics trying the latter, and the every increasing count across all sciences, of misconduct, fraud, because of increasing pressure to publish or perish, or lose that grant?

    Is Prof Lewandowsky special pleading here, he has made public claims that people, ‘climate sceptics”, are bullying and harassing journals with resect to his retracted paper, and that the journal caved in to legal ‘threats’, to retract his work

    The editors of the journal of his paper that was retracted- said that his was nonsense,

    “…As we published in our retraction statement, a small number of complaints were received during the weeks following publication. Some of those complaints were well argued and cogent and, as a responsible publisher, our policy is to take such issues seriously. Frontiers conducted a careful and objective investigation of these complaints. Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats. The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process. ”

    Costanza Zucca, Editorial Director – Frontiers
    Fred Fenter, Executive Editor – Frontiers
    http://www.frontiersin.org/blog/Retraction_of_Recursive_Fury_A_Statement/812

    and the co-founder of the Frontiers journal, Prof Henry Markram said that Professor Lewandowsky’s actions were abusing science as a weapon (he added a personal comment)
    http://www.frontiersin.org/blog/Rights_of_Human_Subjects_in_Scientific_Papers/830

    Henry Markram:
    “My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are doing the climate change crisis a tragic disservice by attacking people personally and saying that it is ethically ok to identify them in a scientific study. They made a monumental mistake, refused to fix it and that rightfully disqualified the study. The planet is headed for a cliff and the scientific evidence for climate change is way past a debate, in my opinion. Why even debate this with contrarians? If scientists think there is a debate, then why not debate this scientifically? Why help the ostriches of society (always are) keep their heads in the sand? Why not focus even more on the science of climate change? Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do? Does anyone really believe that a public lynching will help advance anything? Who comes off as the biggest nutter? Activism that abuses science as a weapon is just not helpful at a time of crisis.”

    So perhaps Prof Lewandowsky is not the best person to be championing for this topic? !
    When even an academic peer has describedhis actions as – “activism abusing science as a weapon” – might any reader think his motives are to protect himself and using the ‘harassment’ get out of scrutiny card, waving it at others in the field and the media so people don’t see that just perhaps some of his critics don’t have a point?” – Markram
    ——————————————————
    And as you can see Prof Markram is clearly very concerned about climate change (certainly no climate sceptic) he is making a case for the standards of psychology to be upheld.

    so which academic should the public believe, which side needs a ‘red flag’ in that example
    – Prof Lewandowsky, vs Prof Markram, Dr Zucca & Dr Fenter –

    Perhaps, there have been calls, or complaints made, that some ‘climate sceptics” comments regarding Prof Lewandowsky are not being ‘strongly moderated” by some of the scientists on other blogs that are writing about the Nature article,- ie removed from view?

    Prof Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) has an interesting article on this Nature article, a former, an IPCC believing climate insider, now cast out as a ‘heretic’
    https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/31/violating-the-norms-and-ethos-of-science/

    Dr Paul Matthews (Nottingham Uni) has an interesting article discussing this aswell
    http://cliscep.com/2016/01/29/nature-on-research-integrity/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. oops error by me – perhaps you could make an edit in the above –
    and /or keep this/delete it I don’t mind

    I put -“Markram” – in the wrong place at the end of a quote, could you put it in the correct place.

    Markram quote should finish with this:

    “……Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do? Does anyone really believe that a public lynching will help advance anything? Who comes off as the biggest nutter? Activism that abuses science as a weapon is just not helpful at a time of crisis.” – Markram

    [The following is my comment]

    So perhaps Prof Lewandowsky is not the best person to be championing for this topic? !
    When even an academic peer has describedhis actions as – “activism abusing science as a weapon” – might any reader think his motives are to protect himself and using the ‘harassment’ get out of scrutiny card, waving it at others in the field and the media so people don’t see that just perhaps some of his critics don’t have a point?” – Markram [Delete – Markram]
    ——————————————————
    And as you can see Prof Markram is clearly very concerned about climate change (certainly no climate sceptic) he is making a case for the standards of psychology to be upheld.

    so which academic should the public believe, which side needs a ‘red flag’ in that example
    – Prof Lewandowsky, vs Prof Markram, Dr Zucca & Dr Fenter –

    Perhaps, there have been calls, or complaints made, that some ‘climate sceptics” comments regarding Prof Lewandowsky are not being ‘strongly moderated” by some of the scientists on other blogs that are writing about the Nature article,- ie removed from view?

    Prof Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) has an interesting article on this Nature article, a former, an IPCC believing climate insider, now cast out as a ‘heretic’
    https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/31/violating-the-norms-and-ethos-of-science/

    Dr Paul Matthews (Nottingham Uni) has an interesting article discussing this aswell
    http://cliscep.com/2016/01/29/nature-on-research-integrity/

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  14. Skeptics requesting data backing some of the key climate change papers, also published in journals requiring data production, have been given the same runaround you’ve been getting, with the same guy, Lewandowsky, providing cover for the withholders. That might ought to set your spider sense tingling that all may not be well in the realm of climate science.

    These guys want to make it impossible to check their work. Can we do science without that and if we can, what are the costs of doing it that way? The cost of disk space and Internet bandwidth is long past being a factor. All papers should include data *and software*, online, concurrently with publication. “Why should I give you my data when all you want to do is find a problem with it?” Real scientists want their mistakes to be found.

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  15. Twitter tells me that today is Groundhog Day. So it might be an appropriate day to mention the strange sense of deja vu that I am experiencing while reading this story.

    Lewandowsky’s modus operandi, played out previously over the period 2010-2013 in a different context, and now in replay, goes as follows:

    1. Find a group of people I disagree with.
    2. Poke them with a sharp stick, making vague unsubstantiated allegations.
    3. Wait for the inevitable response.
    4. Feign surprise at the response, and continue goading (see his comment at Nature, “This surprised us…”) and encouraging speculation.
    5. Monitor and collect the angry responses.
    6. Write a paper saying that this group of people are prone to irrational conspiracist ideation.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. The recent appointment of Prof. Sir Simon Wessely to the UK Judicial Appointments Commission, https://jac.judiciary.gov.uk/commissioner/sir-simon-wessely-lay is of great concern with respect to the future interpretation of FOI requests relating to data release.
    Given his well established position on the subject, one has to wonder whether he will seek to aid the cause of those (like Prof. Peter White) who seek to obstruct data release, by advocating the appointment of tribunal judges who hold similar views.

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