What Caught Our Attention: There’s a lot going on here, so bear with us. (Ba-dum-bum.)
First, there was the paper itself, co-authored by, among others, Michael Mann and Stephan Lewandowsky. Both names may be familiar to Retraction Watch readers. Mann is a prominent climate scientist who has sued the National Review for defamation. A study by Lewandowsky and colleagues of “the role of conspiracist ideation in climate denial” was the subject of several Retraction Watch posts when it was retracted and then republished in a different form. And the conclusion of the new paper, in Bioscience, seemed likely to draw the ire of many who objected to the earlier work:
By denying the impacts of [anthropogenic global warming] AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap.
Indeed, there was the predictable reaction to the paper. Judith Curry referred to it as “absolutely the stupidest paper I have ever seen published.” And Susan Crockford, one of the bloggers referred to repeatedly in the paper, and now in the correction, raised questions. (In several blog posts, natch.) Crockford reported last week that the journal would be issuing a correction. Which it now has.
But what really caught our attention was that the correction appears not in Bioscience, but in another journal from the same publisher (Oxford University Press), Neurosurgery. If you’ve ever tried to perform neurosurgery on a polar bear — and hey, we’d like to hear from you! — then perhaps you can understand the mixup. We, however, are chalking it up to a typo in the DOI for now.
In an already fraught case like this, it’s the sort of thing a journal’s production team needs like it needs a hole in the head.
Journal: Bioscience…and Neurosurgery
Authors: Jeffrey A. Harvey, Daphne Van Den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup, Michael E. Mann
Affiliations: Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands; VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands; Gouda, Netherlands; Institute of Integrative Biology, Switzerland; University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Amsterdam University College, Netherlands; Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands; University of California, Davis, USA; University of Bristol, United Kingdom; CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia; University of Alberta, Canada; Colorado State University, USA; Polar Bears International, Montana, USA; University of Wyoming, USA; Pennsylvania State University, USA
This paper has been corrected online and in print in order to clarify Dr. Crockford’s scientific expertise and financial links in relation to the arguments made in the paper (BioScience 68: 281–287). The corrected text is as follows:
First change: Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of sea ice on the population dynamics of polar bears.
Second change: Some of the most prominent AGW deniers, including Crockford, are linked with or receive support from organizations that downplay AGW (e.g. Dr Crockford has previously been paid for report writing by the Heartland Institute).
The authors apologize for any confusion.
Date of Article: November 2017
Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science: Article not yet indexed (for either journal)
Date of Notice: March 28, 2018
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there’s a new post (look for the “follow” button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at email@example.com.