A controversial study of how relationships between climate change scientists may affect the field, and that has been dogged by charges of plagiarism, will be retracted, USA Today reports.
The abstract of the 2008 paper in Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, by Edward Wegman and colleagues, concluded:
We conjecture that certain styles of co-authorship lead to the possibility of group-think, reduced creativity, and the possibility of less rigorous reviewing processes.
According to USA Today:
Its analysis was an outgrowth of a controversial congressional report that Wegman headed in 2006. The “Wegman Report” suggested climate scientists colluded in their studies and questioned whether global warming was real. The report has since become a touchstone among climate change naysayers.
The journal publisher’s legal team “has decided to retracted the study,” said CSDA journal editor Stanley Azen of the University of Southern California, following complaints of plagiarism. A November review by three plagiarism experts of the 2006 congressional report for USA TODAY also concluded that portions contained text from Wikipedia and textbooks. The journal study, co-authored by Wegman student Yasmin Said, detailed part of the congressional report’s analysis.
The journal is published by Elsevier. Wegman’s attorney told USA Today that neither Wegman nor co-author Yasmin Said had committed plagiarism; he blamed a student.
Scientists don’t seem to have taken much notice of the paper, which has only been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Dan Vergano, the USA Today reporter who has been on top of the story and who broke the news of the retraction in yesterday’s paper, has more criticism of the paper by a network researcher and plagiarism expert, as well as emails between Wegman and journal editor Azen, here.