Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Monday, November 30, 2009

Only in Academia Could This Happen

Shannon Love:
Recent revelations that the peer review system in climatology might have been compromised by the biases of corrupt reviewers miss a much bigger problem.

Most climatology papers submitted for peer review rely on large, complex and custom-written computer programs to produce their findings. The code for these programs is never provided to peer reviewers and even if it was, the peer climatologists doing the reviewing lack the time, resources and expertise to verify that the software works as its creators claim.

Even if the peer reviewers in climatology are as honest and objective as humanly possible, they cannot honestly say that they have actually preformed a peer review to the standards of other fields like chemistry or physics which use well-understood scientific hardware. (Other fields that rely on heavily on custom-written software have the same problem.)

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