Each week we scan between 450 and 650 articles for relevance to Skeptical Science’s remit: communication of the science of climate change itself the many affected branches of scientific inquiry by climate change.
The 100+ journals we cover encompass a galaxy of expertise we cannot hope to replicate, let alone exceed. Our appropriate role is to assess the raw filtrates from our feeds purely for what they may add to public understanding of our central topic. “Does this article connect to climate change?” That’s the sole question we ask of each item appearing on the screen.
We also don’t bring “an agenda” to this process. The single qualitative metric we employ is “did a team of journal editors and reviewers deem this work worth publishing?” Our raw feed filters are fed directly from journal publishing systems, so the answer to that question is always “yes.”
For these reasons readers from time to time (and all too rarely) will spot articles identifying potential benefits of global warming. Some articles come from academic branches we didn’t even know exist, and that have the whiff of scary unfamiliarity. Commonly we see articles identifying and trying to correct insufficient understanding of some particular aspect of global warming or its upshots. These latter are not warts or defects. Iterative progress and refinement is of course the norm in scientific research.
Skeptical Science was founded to combat denial of climate science and New Research is part of that effort. Exposing the torrent of scientific publication around climate science is helpful to grasping climate change as an unavoidable challenge. In doing this work we’ve learned that the final two stops on the railroad of climate science denial are “The System Isn’t Fair” followed shortly down the track by the slightly less populated “They’re All Lying In Concert.” These destinations are actually figments of denier imagination. Even Brigadoon is more plausible.
In reality we see a process that is not error-free but sometimes does contort itself to be inclusive of outré thinking. A fine example of that is how the Taylor and Francis journal Temperature has squeezed in a paper by Valentina Zharkova claiming (yet again) upcoming global cooling, as an “editorial.” Zharkova’s work is a redo of a previous publication that was retracted due to a basic misunderstanding on the behavior of the barycenter of the solar system. In an abundance of generosity, here’s a second attempt gifted to Zharkova by the only means possible. Unfair? Hardly.
We publish journal editorials in New Research from time to time, in the section “Informed opinion and nudges.” Often these are synthesis of many results suggesting possible or obvious topics for concentrated scrutiny. Zharkova’s “editorial” doesn’t really fit that standard model. Normally we’d expect such a work to appear as a regular peer-reviewed research result. But we’d rather err on the side of fairness; the last thing we want is to appear to be suppressing research that doesn’t “go with the flow.” The editors of Temperature chose to publish Zharkova’s latest work and we’ll take that as enough, perhaps bending over a bit backward to be consistent with our general principles of operation. And after all, links to articles here are reports, not endorsements.
Look for “Editorial” in the “Other” section if you’re interested in Zharkova’s take on future climate. Open access and free to read.
Economists of a scientific bent may someday help scientific publishers bring science to their business activities as reflected in rational à la carte article disclosure fees. Meanwhile there are several possible paths to equality of information access short of paying an objectively and crushingly large fee for the unveiling of a single article:
Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome that automatically indicates when an article is freely accessible and provides immediate access without further trouble. Unpaywall is also unscammy, works well, is itself offered free to use. The organizers (a legitimate nonprofit) report about a 50% success rate
If you’re interested in an article and it is not listed here as “open access,” be sure to check the link anyway. Due to time constraints open access articles are identified by us via imperfect machine analysis. Compared with Unpaywall statistics we successfully identify roughly 2/3rds of open access articles. There’s definitely gold left in the ground.
Please let us know if you’re aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we’ve missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.
A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc.
The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.
Architect since 2002, experienced in healthcare environment design. Master in public health sciences from the Charité Medical University in Berlin. Evidence-based Design researcher at TU-Berlin, helping ensure that urban & architectural design projects build positive health effectively. Founder of the Building Health Lab.
BHL Building Health Lab
Is a think tank that develops urban concepts for neighborhoods as strategy to build a sustainable healthy city.
Our mission is to help government, industry, and citizens develop projects with social impact that protect people and planet health. With our expertise in health and design, we support health promotion and disease management through people-centred and climate adaptive designs.
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