Monday, October 05, 2009

Read the Effing Editorial Guidelines

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Looks like Eli's guess was right. Steve McIntyre writes in CA

I made a diligent effort at the time to get Science to require Briffa to disgorge his Yamal measurement data, but they refused. They argued that Osborn and Briffa 2006 did not use the Yamal measurement data, but only the chronology and I should contact the "original authors" for the measurement data. The source of the chronology was, of course, Briffa 2000. I wrote Tim Osborn and asked him for the data and he said that he didn't have it. So I wrote Keith Briffa and he stonewalled me. I wrote back to Science rather crossly about the nonsense.

Parsing this a little bit, Science agrees with Eli that the "measurement data" did not belong to Briffa. Steve still misses the point that the "measurement data" belonged to the Russians, and he continued to go after Briffa thinking that the "measurement data" referred to Briffa's reconstruction. He either doesn't get it or doesn't want to get it.

More: As pointed to by dhogaza on Deltoid, details of Steve's fishing expeditions in the land of proxy including this reply from Briffa:
Steve these data were produced by Swedish and Russian colleagues - will pass on your message to them]
cheers, Keith

Rabett Run, where you read it before they admit it.
Stevereno's beating on Keith Briffa has gone nuclear hitting the major papers as well as the blogs. There are two legs upon which McIntyre's stands. Both are rather clayish.

First, that Briffa by publishing on the Yamal tree ring record had an obligation to make the data set available to all given the editorial guidelines of the journals.

Second, that Briffa used an inappropriately small number of living tree-ring cores from Yamal to calibrate the tree-ring proxy as evidence of which McIntyre uses a larger set of 34 cores taken from the same area taken by Schweingrubber.

The Capitalist Imperialist Pig has a pretty good take on the second issue for dummies (moi), less some important details we will discuss here tomorrow.

Briffa published three papers on the Yamal cores,
  • Briffa, K. R. 2000. Annual climate variability in the Holocene: interpreting the message of ancient trees. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:87-105.
  • Briffa, K. R., and T. J. Osborn. 2002. Paleoclimate - Blowing hot and cold. Science 295:2227-2228.
  • Briffa, K. R., V. V. Shishov, T. M. Melvin, E. A. Vaganov, H. Grudd, R. M. Hantemirov, M. Eronen, and M. M. Naurzbaev. 2008. Trends in recent temperature and radial tree growth spanning 2000 years across northwest Eurasia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 363:2271-2284.
In a reasonably short time after the third paper was published (a year or so) the data became publicly available. In this case one of the authors (or more) was part of the group that gathered the tree-ring cores.

As Eli has been pointing out, the data set DID NOT BELONG to Briffa, it belonged to the Russians, Hantemirov and Shiyatov, so Briffa did not have the right to convey it to McIntyre, no matter what. Whether McIntyre realized this is not clear, but he sure should have if he read the papers which explicitly describe the source of the data.

Eli inquired over at Climate Audit. The response was interesting. Mostly misdirection, but Mr. Pete asked good questions in return
How does your perspective align with the journal data disclosure policies?

Do you believe journal policies should be ignored, or do you believe Briffa was wrong to be in noncompliance until this year?

The Rabett will try, as ever, to be a helpful little bunny. However first, he will point out that the silence from the concerned party is insightful.

Off to the Editorial Guidelines. For Quaternary Science Reviews we have
Data Access and Retention Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data (consistent with the ALPSP-STM Statement on Data and Databases), if practicable, and should in any event be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable time after publication.
The ALPSP-STM Statement on Data and Databases makes an important distinction. Well, first dear hares, you have to know who they are, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). Their concern is more to protect their interests in scientific and technical databases and much less in Steve McIntyre having access to the Yamal tree ring data.
There is considerable controversy in the scholarly community about ‘ownership’ of and access to data, some of which arises because of the difficulty in distinguishing between information products created for the specific display and retrieval of data (‘databases’) and sets or collections of raw relevant data captured in the course of research or other efforts (‘data sets’). Another point of difficulty is that in many cases data sets or even smaller sub-sets of data are also provided as an electronic adjunct to a paper submitted to a scholarly journal, either for online publication or simply to allow the referees to verify the conclusions.

We believe that, as a general principle, data sets, the raw data outputs of research, and sets or sub-sets of that data which are submitted with a paper to a journal, should wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars. We believe that the best practice for scholarly journal publishers is to separate supporting data from the article itself, and not to require any transfer of or ownership in such data or data sets as a condition of publication of the article in question. Further, we believe that when articles are published that have associated data files, it would be highly desirable, whenever feasible, to provide free access to that data, immediately or shortly after publication, whether the data is hosted on the publisher’s own site or elsewhere (even when the article itself is published under a business model which does not make it immediately free to all).
Still, a good distinction. The data set5 did not belong to Briffa, he had only been granted access by the owners, Hantemirov and Shiyatov. So the question is did McIntyre write to them and if so what response did he get. In any case Briffa is not responsible for the Russians use or sharing of their data set.

Science says

Data availability After publication, all data necessary to understand, assess, and extend the conclusions of the manuscript must be available to any reader of Science. We recognize that discipline-specific conventions or special circumstances may occasionally apply, and we will consider these in negotiating compliance with requests. Any concerns about your ability to meet Science's requirements must be disclosed and discussed with an editor. For further information about accessibility of data and materials, see the following resources.

The Editors of Science clearly are willing to negotiate any questions. Eli asks if Steve McIntyre addressed them or only Briffa or Hantemirov and Shiyatov and if he did what reply he received. However the NSF rules make an important point
36. Sharing of Findings, Data, and Other Research Products

a. NSF expects significant findings from research and education activities it supports to be promptly submitted for publication, with authorship that accurately reflects the contributions of those involved. It expects investigators to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of the work. It also encourages awardees to share software and inventions or otherwise act to make the innovations they embody widely useful and

b. Adjustments and, where essential, exceptions may be allowed to safeguard the rights of individuals and subjects, the validity of results, or the integrity of collections or to accommodate legitimate interests of investigators.
Briffa and Briffa and Osborn did not create or gather the Yamal tree ring data set, a point Eli has been making throughout. This distinction between data set and the data resulting from the data set is crucial. McIntyre has already shown that Briffa disclosed enough information about his methods for McIntyre to replicate the results, so clearly the disclosure met the journal policy. It is also clear that the data set was something loaned to Briffa for his use alone.

So, in sumary, Mr. Pete, Eli would say that his perspective aligns pretty well with the publication policies of the journals. Data sets are owned by those that created them and they have the right to first use. They can share them with others and do not have to share them with everyone until completely published. People who are loaned data sets, do not have the right to post them on the village wall.

Now we come to the fun part. Speculation. It looks pretty clear at this point that McIntyre hammered on Briffa for the data set. It would be interesting to know if Briffa replied (specifically if he replied, go ask Hantemirov and Shiyatov), but it does not take too much imagination to think that Steve was his usual charming self, and got another go away.

Eli doesn't believe that Briffa ignored or "broke" with the publication policy of Quatenary Science Review, and, at worst, took the Science policy to the limit, but was probably provoked by a well known boor. The key to all this is what McIntyre did, and the only ones who know that are McIntyre, Briffa and Hantemirov and Shiyatov, but one can speculate, and silence talks (at least for a while....yes, Eli is trolling. Next question)



gtrip said...

Now how about you write something telling us all what you just wrote.

Stringing words together does not make one an author.

Anonymous said...

Screw data, share wealth!

Anonymous said...

CIP said
Am I missing anything important?

The 'most disquieting' bit. Must be in there somewhere.

EliRabett said...

The most disquieting bit is that McIntyre almost certainly went after the wrong person to get the data, probably made himself so obnoxious that no one wanted to share.

EliRabett said...

And having read CA this morning, again, the bunny was right. (see the update). Even worse, Science pretty much told him what to do, go ask for the "measurement data" which the RUSSIANS had

Anonymous said...


Briffa says he using the same data, but the core counts are different between his chronology and the Russians' chronology, though they match for the time period that Steve has focused on.
Any explanations given as to methodology, beyond RCS? The chronology itself was not published as a separate paper.

Anonymous said...

In 2006, Briffa did respond to Steve Steve these data were produced by Swedish and Russian colleagues - will pass on your message to them]
cheers, Keith

In response to
Dear Dr Briffa,
On April 28, 2006, I asked Tim Osborn for the measurement data for Polar Urals, Tornetrask, Yamal and Taimyr sites, supporting the chronologies used in Osborn and Briffa [2006]. Osborn says that he does not have the data, but did not say that you didn't have the data. Do you have the data? If so would you please comply with the request below and voluntarily provide the measurement data used in Briffa 2000, and relied upon in Osborn and Briffa 2006, for these sites.
Thank you for your attention. Steve McIntyre

Strangely it doesn't mention Yamal.


Anonymous said...

You are confusing Science's answer regarding Osborn & Briffa 2006(whcih you have left out of your description.) They responded:
Osborn and Briffa did not not use raw tree-core measurements, only chronologies that had previously been assembled by others, and these have been deposited. You may want to contact those original authors or those publications if you require their raw data.

The chronology which was deposited was produced by Briffa. The raw data was produced by H&S.

Mike said...

So Briffa published his chronology in 2000 using data from H&S, then published in Science in 2006.
What if the first paper with the chronology had been published in Science? Should they have required Briffa to provide raw data then? Do you think that is a reasonable policy- If they don't provide the data, they don't publish?

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand about all these data-withholding kerfuffles is; don't these researchers understand that unless the raw data that their conclusions are based upon is made available, their conclusions are rendered unverifiable claims, and valueless?

Science is supposed to be a fact-based endeavor, not faith-based.

Anon Y. Mous

MikeN said...

I think the Hantemirov is an author theory breaks down, because that is not the only data they published. They used several series, and Helama et al shares no authors with Briffa's 2008 paper. So did he have to go and get permission from that author?
PhilTransB appears to have made no distinction between the two. Why should Science?

EliRabett said...

Frankly Eli has played these games with Nigel before. There are usually multiple copies of any data set circulating with minor differences because they were sent at different times, clear places where there are problems with the original data that are crystal clear to anyone who RTFR and similar. Nigel takes it all as VERY VERY IMPORTANT. STOP THE PRESSES

You start playing this nonsense with him, you lose your life to his nitpicking and that is what it is. Stuff any idiot with a computer could figure out for himself in two seconds and should. Nigel is very high maintenance.

EliRabett said...

If it wasn't his measurement data, why yes, Briffa or whomever had to go get permission and the data owners have to be acknowledged.

Science was pretty clear, the only thing they would require to be archived was measurement data. There was none in the paper. End of story.

Reconstructions are not measurement data.

MikeN said...

You say Briffa took the Science policy to the limit. I'm asking if it was really the limit. If Briffa had published the first paper with the chronology at Science instead of QSR, would their data policy have required him to provide raw data then?

MikeN said...

>End of story.
No, not end of story. Why did Trans B or whatever its called require him to release his data? How are they different? It has nothing to do with the coauthors. Even if Briffa had collected the data himself, Science wouldn't have made him publish it. Why would having the data owner be a coauthor change things?

OT, but how does the author providing permission work? Is there a head author for each paper who makes the decision? What if Shiyatov says OK, but Hantemirov says no?
For the Mann 98 hockey stick, what if B&H say yes and Mann says no?

John Mashey said...

Sigh, I wish John Tukey were still around.

Anonymous said...

Eli, thanks for the detective work. I assembled some of McIntyre's quotes related to this story, and will update it with these very relevant one you and dhogaza pointed out. See


MrPete said...

I replied over on Ben Hale's blog. Steve has answered your charges on his blog. Rather than split the discussion even further, I'll be watching over there (when I can... I do have a life :) )

I am sorry that I don't have the capacity to fully engage everywhere.


Jean S said...

Just to let you, Steve has been in possession of the data all the time:
Something I'm a bit disappointed to hear.

Anonymous said...

McIntyre's excuse is nonsense:

In response to your point that I wasn't "diligent enough" in pursuing the matter with the Russians, in fact, I already had a version of the data from the Russians, one that I'd had since 2004. What I didn't know until a couple of weeks ago was that this was the actual version that Briffa had used.

All he needed to do to confirm that this was the version that Briffa used was to do the analysis with the version and see if it gave the same result as Briffa got (I find it very hard to believe that McIntyre did NOT do that).

It's hard to escape the conclusion that McIntyre has simply been playing a game here that has nothing to do with science.

He obviously enjoys creating the illusion that scientists are out to with-hold data from him (for whatever reason).

Anonymous said...

Maybe if he had Briffa's code to work with. Before, even the data Mann posted on his site was wrong, and Mann replaced it, and accused Steve McIntyre of having bad data. Burned once, he's a bit more careful now.

Again, this data is only available now because one journal made Briffa provide the data.

Anonymous said...

Again, this data is only available now because one journal made Briffa provide the data.

Anonymous you ignorant slut!

The reason that one journal required the data to be archived is that one of the Briffa's co-authors owned the data!

I refer the ignorant slut to:

I thought I would check on who the co-authors were for Phil Trans. And guess what I found? A certain dendro named Hantemirov. But you knew that already, didn’t you.

Nice try, though.

MikeN said...

I've already posted about this. This isn't the only data Phil Trans made Briffa post. The data from Helama et al were also posted, no coauthors there.

So Phil Trans didn't care about coauthors when they made him post data. Nature didn't care when they made Moberg post data.

Your focus on coauthors is not logical. So if you coauthor a paper, all data you've ever used is now open? But if someone else owns the data it gets to stay secret? Why would a journal have a rule like that?

dhogaza said...

The e-mail from Briffa to McIntyre that I'm credited with pointing out came from someone posting on Deep Climate, if not DC him/herself IIRC.

DC has done a bunch of slogging on this crapfest and deserves a virtual toast in appreciation.

MikeN said...

Actually dhogaza, I posted it in the comments right here, and that's where you quoted it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if he had Briffa's code to work with."

so, scientists have to lead mcIntyre by the hand, now?

What's the matter, not competent enough to do the analysis of the data himself?

I had to laugh when NASA GISS provided the (surface station) code for their mean temp anolmaly calculation.

The nitwits at CA could not even manage to compile it! (apparently, they thought the GISTEMP analysis "code" just put up a big buutton on the screen and all you had to do was click on it and voila', done!

What a bunch of idiots.

Perhaps if they actually took a computer class or two, they might have a clue.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Well Stevie Mac has a new "woe is me" post up. This is too bad, I was hoping for a "mea culpa" post. In it he admits that he actually did the analysis using the data he got from Hantemirov and guess what? He got pretty much the same results as those that Briffa got. And here comes the crux of the problem...

It seems that McIntyre misunderstands what Briffa means when he says a sample is "highly replicated". McIntyre seems to believe that it means that a master chronology consists of a lot of individual chronologies, so he can't believe that a sample that consists of only 17 chronologies dating from the present or near present could be highly replicated. From this it appears as though what he means is that a large number of trees, both modern and sub-fossil, are included in the sample. This is certainly the case in the Yamal series which has well over 200 trees included. This obviously is more than the estimated 62 samples necessary to create an accurate RCS curve, so there is no problem with sample size as Steve alleges in this post.

Finally, why didn't he just ask Briffa to confirm or deny his result? A simple e-mail saying "here are my results from analyzing the Hantemirov Yamal data. I get the same overall results as you, but I can't believe that you used a sample with only 17 chronologies. Is this correct?" Would have done. The answer would have been yes, and Steve could have moved on to accusing him of fraud and incompetence based on McIntyre's misunderstanding of what Briffa means when he says highly replicated.

I find it really rather pathetic to watch Steve accuse Briffa of the misuse of his own f'ing method, which he has been developing for over a decade.

TCO said...

I dislike how you were treated by Bender et al over at CA. There is a common issue (not one of a particular side) of being unwilling to answer questions of fact, but instead wanting to shift the debate to the inferences that you think will come afterwards.

Did Steve ask for the data from the Russians is a yes/no question. People should be more direct in answering these things. I see the problem all the time with people like Dhogza. It's not just a rightie thing. It's a human failing of the hoi polloi. I did once disarm just giving her direct answers and then confounding her when she jumped to an inference...assuming I had conceded more than I had.