Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

publishing the truth can enrage conspiracy theorists to burn your arse...



Frontiers in Psychology last month retracted the paper, Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation “in light of a small number of complaints”, the journal said on its website. 

A year-long investigation “did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study,” it said. However, the probe found “the legal context (to be) insufficiently clear”. 

The paper, though, is being carried by the website of the University of Western Australia (UWA), where one of its authors, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky, was based. 

“Sadly, it has turned into a routine for outsiders with no scientific standing to approach, bully, or intimidate journals, editors, and academics,” said Professor Lewandowsky, now at the UK’s University of Bristol.

One person commenting on the Frontiers’ website asked for the ‘‘full details of the investigation,’’ saying the paper had been ‘‘derogatory and insulting’’ by naming people as conspiracy theorists who were ‘‘merely pointing out errors in the previous paper’’.

According to Graham Readfearn of DeSmogblog.com, the legal threats were that the paper was defamatory.

Scientific rejection

The genesis of the rejected paper was a 4000-word paper in Psychological Science in 2012 by Professor Lewandowsky and co-authors that explored the links between an endorsement of free-market economics and a rejection of climate change science.

Support for free markets was also a predictor of rejection of mainstream science in other fields, such the link between smoking and cancer, the authors wrote.

Endorsement of a range of conspiracy theories, such as a belief NASA faked the moon landing in a Hollywood studio or that the FBI had killed US civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr., also predicted a climate change denial stance.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/conspiracist-climate-change-study-withdrawn-amid-legal-threats-20140402-35xao.html#ixzz2xrKGHqYH


timid authors living in a hole in the floorboards...

picture above taken by Gus of a The Sydney Morning Herald, March 1959...

no balls to fight the denialist conspiracy on the frontiers...


Scientific journals have had a bumpy road trying to learn how to deal with climate contrarians. Poor decisions by journal staff in dealing with contrarians have often led to editors resigning and a damaged reputation in the academic community.

The latest such example is the journal Frontiers and its response to bullying by contrarians over a paper by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues. The paper analyzed the conspiratorial psychology of contrarian comments made on public blogs. As I previously documented,Frontiers received a number of complaints from contrarians that this analysis of their public comments was libelous or defamatory, and the journal ultimately caved and decided to retract the paper.

In its investigation, Frontiers had found no academic or ethical problems with the paper, but was concerned about legal liabilities. The journal and paper authors contractually agreed to a retraction statement saying as much. However, perhaps in the face of criticism from the academic community for failing to support academically and ethically sound research, Frontiers later revised its statement to depart from the contractually agreed statement and shift all the blame to the authors,contradicting the contractually agreed upon statement.

This final move backfired and led to the resignation of three of the journal's editors, Ugo BardiBjörn Brembs, and Colin Davis. Brembs' comments were particularly scathing,

"It is quite clear, why the content of the paper may feel painful to those cited in it, but as long as "conspiracist ideation" is not an official mental disorder, I cannot see any defamation. If you don't want to be labeled a conspiracy theorist, don't behave like one publicly on the internet. Therefore, after reading the paper, in my opinion, Frontiers ought to have supported their authors just as their home institution (UWA) is supporting them as their employees."

Robert Brulle, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science at Drexel University has also informed me that as a result of the Recursive Fury incident, he has declined to write an article that Frontiersrequested, and will no longer write or review for any Frontierspublications. The journal's reputation has undoubtedly taken a serious hit in the academic community for failing to stand behind sound research, and then trying to shift the blame to the authors of that research.



See also: 

the power of rubbish spruikers...