Tyndall Centre At The Centre Of New Climate Scandal

  • Date: 21/02/13
  • Roger Pielke Jr

Roger Pielke Jr reports: Five days ago I critiqued a shoddy paper by Brysse et al. 2013 which appeared in the journal Global Environmental Change. Today I received notice from the GEC editor-in chief and executive editor that I have been asked to “step down from the Editorial Board.” They say that it is to “give other scientists the chance to gain experience of editorial duties.”
Over the past 20 years I have served on the editorial boards of about a dozen or so academic journals. I have rolled off some when my term was up, and continued for many years with others. I have never received a mid-term request to step down from any journal. My 6 years with the GEC editorial board is not long in academia, and certainly much shorter than many other serving members.

Are my critique and the request to step down related? I can’t say. It is interesting timing to be sure. Perhaps it is an odd coincidence. Perhaps not. I did reply by accepting their request and asking the following two questions which might help to clarify the terms of my release:

Could you tell me which other members of the editorial board are being asked to step down at this time? And also, could you tell how many others have served on the board 6 years or longer and remain on the board?

If I get a reply I will update this post.

UPDATE: I just checked the GEC editorial board from 2005, the year before I was invited to join ($ here). There are 13 members of the 2005 board who continue through 2013 ($ here). If those 13 members (of 38 total in 2013) have not all be asked to “step down” at this time, then yes, I am getting “special” treatment.

UPDATE 2: Neil Adger, editor of GEC, replies to explain, contrary to the earlier email, that I have been removed from the editorial board due to a perception of my “waning interest in the journal” citing my declining of 3 reviews last year (I’d guess overall that I declined 50 or more requests to review last year and took on about 12, welcome to academia;-).  Of course, he could have asked about my interest before removing me from the Board. He did not comment on my critical blog post. I take his response to mean that I am indeed the only one who has been removed at this time. So there you have it, another climate ink blot. Coincidence? You be the judge.

UPDATE 3: Neil Adger has written a second email to me which has has asked me to post in the comments here. My response to him is here. And here is the original email from GEC dropping me from the Board. All info is in sight, people can make up their own minds about this academic tempest in a teapot.

I am of course happy to make way for other scientists to “gain the experience of editorial duties.” However, if my critique of a GEC paper is in any way related to my removal from the editorial board, then the message being sent to those other scientists is pretty chilling. For my part, I value my academic freedom to offer critique as I see things far more than being allowed into certain clubs.

Roger Pielke Jr, 20 February 2013

 

Editor’s Note: The editors of the journal in question are:

Neil Adger, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and was until recently at UEA.

Katrina Brown, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and was until recently at UEA.

Declan Conway, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and is at UEA.