E&E threatens a libel suit
From: Bill Hughes
Cc: Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
Subject:: E&E libel
Date: 02/18/11 10:48:01
Gavin, your comment about Energy & Environment which you made on RealClimate has been brought to my attention:
“The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line. ”
To assert, without knowing, as you cannot possibly know, not being connected with the journal yourself, that an academic journal does not bother with peer review, is a terribly damaging charge, and one I’m really quite surprised that you’re prepared to make. And to further assert that peer review is abandoned precisely in order to let the editor publish papers which support her political position, is even more damaging, not to mention being completely ridiculous.
At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate. I’m quite happy to work with you to find a mutually satisfactory form of words: I appreciate you might find it difficult.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With best wishes
Multi-Science Publsihing [sic] Co Ltd
The many existing critiques of peer review as a system (for instance by Richard Smith, ex-editor of the BMJ, or here, or in the British Academy report), sometimes appear to assume that all papers arrive at the journals fully formed and appropriately written. They don’t. The mere existence of the peer review system elevates the quality of submissions, regardless of who the peer reviewers are or what their biases might be. The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line – you end up with a backwater of poorly presented and incoherent contributions that make no impact on the mainstream scientific literature or conversation. It simply isn’t worth wading through the dross in the hope of finding something interesting.
The journal’s editor, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, a reader in geography at the University of Hull, in England, says she sometimes publishes scientific papers challenging the view that global warming is a problem, because that position is often stifled in other outlets. “I’m following my political agenda — a bit, anyway,” she says. “But isn’t that the right of the editor?”
A given paper in E&E may have been peer reviewed (but unlikely). If it was, the review process might have been up to the normal standards for science (but unlikely). Hence E&E’s exclusion from the ISI Journal Master list, and why many (including Scopus) do not consider E&E a peer reviewed journal at all.
Further, even the editor states that it is not a science journal and that it is politically motivated/influenced. Finally, at least some of what it publishes is just plain loony.