Friday, November 03, 2017

The Lysistrata Solution - Do not cite, do not quote, do not review


The latest is that Mark Jacobson has filed a lawsuit against the National Academy of Sciences, the Proceedings of same and Christopher Clack for badmouthing, mopery and no takebacks.  There are important issues at play, for example, can renewable energy get to 100% of what is needed (Jacobson) or only 80% (Clack) without nuclear, and a lot of talmudic stuff about how to interpret what was written by the various parties to justify their positions and whether the other parties interpreted what the parties of the first wrote correctly or cherry picked with malice and aforethought.

These are policy driving questions but both sides advocate strong and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions starting twenty years ago and certainly now.

What is also clear is that Jacobson in filing this suit has pushed the norms out the Overton window in a way that could quickly lead to no good things and that many are concerned.

Eli, in his usual way has a simple solution.  Those who are troubled, indeed angered by this suit have a simple way of making their concern clear.

Publicly tell Mark Jacobson that they will no longer cite, quote or review his papers and grant proposals until the suit is withdrawn.

Beyond this it may be necessary to ask editors and program managers not to send their work to Jacobson for evaluation and review.

Oh yes, one other tell in this whole mess is the addendum to the initial order summoning the parties attached by the Chief Judge Robert Morin of the DC Court which makes the suit subject to the DC Medical Malpractice Proceedings Act

After an action is filed in the court against a healthcare provider alleging medical malpractice, the court shall require the parties to enter into mediation without discovery or, if all parties agree with only limited discovery which shall not interfere with the completion of mediation within 30 days of the Initial Scheduling and Settlement Conference (ISSC) prior to any further litigation in an effort to reach a settlement agreement.
A report has to be filed ten days after the mediation session.  Eli is holding tryouts for the mediator position.

7 comments:

Roger Jones said...

I had a close read of both papers when the Clack et al paper came out and the brou-ha-ha erupted. It was impossible from the papers themselves to see who was more right. But Clack et al essentially accused Jacobsen of gross negligence at the very least. By publishing their paper, PNAS had endorsed those views.

I don't think Clack et al proved that Jacobsen's thesis was implausible. Instead, they went at his modelling and assumptions. Without being able to look under the hood of either truck, it's difficult to see who has the bigger motor. Clack et al may have been right, but did not prove that 100% renewables was out of the park, either.

This isn't a suit about science per se. It's a suit about process. Jacobsen is right that publishing the paper endorses the criticisms of his work.

I think that closed review might be on trial. If that's the case, it's not an Overton window that suggests every review decision can be brought to court. It's whether a submission has a right to be respected until it is brought down on scientific grounds. And it's not clear in this case, that it has.

The best way to sort this would be reproducible modelling out in the open, by neutral parties, but that's way outside the review process also.

Eli Rabrtt said...

The manditory mediation will be interesting as will the identity of the mediator

Russell Seitz / Bright Water said...

Heartland is already lawyered up

Old_salt said...

Publishing a paper does not mean the journal endorses the work, at least not in science. Clearly the response to Jacobson's paper is a legitimate publication. If PNAS refused to let Jacobson comment, there is a problem but that does not warrant a lawsuit.

I have no idea of the back story, but Jacobson's reaction seems way over the top.

BBD said...

Good title, Eli.

A sorry mess that prompted it though.

A certain Gavin Schmidt tweets:

Using courts to resolve sci issues? Generally a bad idea



BBD said...

Interestingly, but predictably, Jacobson goes after Ken Caldeira claiming a conflict of interest and that KC is a nuclear advocate.

KC retorts:

I don't prefer nuclear. I prefer anything that works

David B Benson said...

All of you kindly write to the judge for the purpose of explaining that the courts are not how scientific disputes are resolved. Ask that the case be dismissed with prejudice.