Bioscience editor tells journalist he won’t retract Harvey paper

I shouldn’t be surprised that a journal editor who would publish — and then staunchly defend — a paper that deliberately trashes the reputation of a respected scientist would tell the media before anyone else of his decision regarding a retraction request.

Churchill_Polar_Bear_2004-11-15 Wikipedia

From a story at this morning’s Climatewire (From threats to tears — polar bears polarize both sides” 15 December 2017), my bold:

“When Jeffrey Harvey published a scientific paper at the end of November he knew there was going to be pushback. But he didn’t expect to be called complicit in “academic rape” or that his boss would receive a letter asking for Harvey’s dismissal.

“I knew the shit would hit the fan,” said Harvey, who is an ecologist with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and a professor at the University of Amsterdam. “I knew it would come back this way, but I didn’t know how vitriolic it would be.”

The emotional topic was polar bears.

The researchers assert that Crockford doesn’t have any scientific expertise on polar bears and that her blog posts often use “partial research outcomes and portrays them as contrary to the documented effects of [anthropogenic global warming] on sea ice or polar bears — supporting a ‘scientific uncertainty’ frame.”

Crockford vehemently disagrees. She asked BioScience for a retraction and said the researchers maliciously maligned her reputation and misrepresented her background.

Scott Collins, editor of the journal, said he stands by the scientific process used to vet this and other articles for publication. He intends to keep the study available online. A spokeswoman for the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, where Harvey works, said the organization is “convinced of the scientific quality and merits of our scientist.”

Read the rest here.

This story was posted the morning of Friday 15 December but by midnight, I had not heard from Scott Collins at Bioscience regarding his decision on my retraction request, a stunning lack of professional courtesy and good business practise. I don’t expect I’ll hear over the weekend either.

Leaving the paper online will simply drive even more people to read my scientific critique of Amstrup’s polar bear predictions (Crockford 2017).

Downloads of that paper are up three-fold from a few weeks ago, to almost 1,600.

Read a short summary of the paper here:

Crockford, S.J. and Geist, V. 2018. Conservation Fiasco. Range Magazine, Winter 2017/2018, pg. 26-27. Pdf here.

The paper itself is here:

Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v3 Open access.


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