A recent paper in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has caused quite a stir. The authors use citation counts to try prove “the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of [anthropogenic climate change] are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.” I haven’t closely checked the methodology so I can’t comment in great detail. Roger Pielke Jr. unsurprisingly offers some sharp criticism. See Michael Levi in Slate and David Bruggeman for more along those lines. Check out this post at RealClimate and Michael Tobis for more supportive views.
I always find Jonathan Gilligan to be very insightful, so I’ll highlight his tempered responses to Roger’s first post, which is a bit overwrought in my view. Until I read the paper, I’ll tentatively agree with Gilligan’s assessments that “the PNAS paper seems to me pointless and banal, but innocuous.” I know Steve Schneider, a co-author on the PNAS paper, pretty well. I’d be shocked if he actually were trying to intimidate researchers or create a blacklist. I suspect he’s simply trying highlight that not every scientists’ opinion counts on climate change, something I’ve been arguing for a while now. While this paper may not be the best way to make that point, it does need to be made.