An Obvious Double Standard Adopted By The AGU Publication EOS

In the January 20, 2009 issue of the AGU publication EOS, there is Feature article by P.T. Doran and M. K. Zimmerman titled “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”.

This paper is a polling paper that specifically reported in the EOS article on the two questions:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The conclusion in the article is that

“It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.”

However, EOS rejected our polling study last year, as we reported on in Climate Science in the weblogs

Is There Agreement Amongst Climate Scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?

Follow Up By Fergus Brown To “Is There Agreement Amongst Climate Scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?”

In the first weblog, I wrote

“After the survey was completed last summer and the article written, it was submitted to the AGU publication EOS as a “Forum piece. The EOS description of a Forum is that it

 ”contains thought-provoking contributions expected to stimulate further discussion, within the newspaper or as part of Eos Online Discussions. Appropriate Forum topics include current or proposed science policy, discussion related to current research in our fields especially scientific controversies, the relationship of our science to society, or practices that affect our fields, science in general, or AGU as an organization. Commentary solely on the science reported in research journals is not appropriate.”

Our article certainly fits this description.  However, after 4 months without a decision, our contribution was summarily rejected by Fred Spilhous without review. He said our article did not fit EOS policy. We disagreed, of course, based on the explicit EOS policy given above, but our follow request for an appeal was ignored.”

Thus, EOS accepts a poll P.T. Doran and M. K. Zimmerman (as a Feature), yet rejected our contribution which was submitted as a Forum contribution. This is an obvious double standard, and raises serious questions on the role of EOS as an objective vehicle to communicate climate science issues.

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