Why media reporting on discussion papers can lead to manipulated science

During this week discussions on twitter and on the blogs focused on a discussion paper by James Hansen et al in Earth System Dynamics Discussions. The paper forms part of a legal case in the US and basically states that the current and expected warming over the next decades is unprecedented since the last interglacial. In this context the Guardian has run an article on the paper. While they state that the science is not yet peer-reviewed, the authors have run a series of interviews and comments, which is usually happening only when a paper is actually published. As usual I refrain in this blog from commenting on climate politics, but as I have written my PhD on scientific publication processes I would like to focus here on the implications of the media scrutiny within the discussion paper phase of a scientific publication. Continue reading


EGU 2014 – A calm day

There are days at conferences, where you want to view four sessions in parallel (like yesterday) and days where you struggle to fill the schedule with “must see” stuff (like today). The first type is definetely the case for the majority of days, at least for me, who usually sits around in several different subdivisions to see some interesting new stuff. Nevertheless, to a successful conference week belongs to make the best of the days of the second type.

But lets start with the beginning. I started today with the GIA session, which delivered me some valuable insight into the relatively new parts of my current work. The problem on how the ice sheets were configured in the past and how the present is able to tell us about it, is complicate and fascinating at the same time. A mix of data and model analysis is used in many different ways to learn more about the past and present world. The rest of the day I spend my time with several interesting discussions to fill my little gap within the “must see” sessions. During the poster sessions I had also some interesting insights even when the other days have for me personally a much more interesting program for the late sessions.

The more interesting part of the conference will start for me tomorrow, before the end of the week will be dominated by my own contributions.