The Open Atmospheric Society
Climate science pseudo-skeptic Anthony Watts recently bought and registered the domain “theoas.org” and has just announced the formation at that Internet address of a new society explicitly designed to organize people in meteorology and related areas intent on opposing the scientific consensus on climate change. And yes, there is a scientific consensus on climate change.
Dr. Roy Spencer once said to me that trying to organize climate skeptics would be like “trying to herd cats”. While this Society is not trying to “herd” anyone, nor is it specifically focused on climate skepticism, it will serve to represent a group of people and ideas that up until now has been essentially ostracized because the ideas and viewpoints are counter to “consensus”.
Secret Society, Just Like The Illuminati?
Membership in the society will be secret. The eventual plan is to be a non-profit. There will not be a board of directors initially but eventualy one will be formed of five members plus Anthony (ex-officio) and representation from among non-full members. The process of electing board members has not yet been determined.
Associate membership will be $45, with additional membership categories designed on one hand to allow student members and on the other hand to raise more funds (lifetime membership, etc.).
A Scientific Society Designed To Oppose Science?
This organization, explicitly designed as a group opposing scientific consensus, will operate a peer reviewed scientific journal, the editor of which will be initially appointed by the board apparently from a short list provided by Executive Director Anthony Watts. From the Charter:
Article IX: Scientific Journal
Section 1. The OAS shall have an official publication, to be known as The Journal of the Open Atmospheric Society. (JOAS). An ISSN number will be applied for and assigned to the publication.
Section 1.1 Members of the OAS as well as others of expertise outside of the OAS may serve as peer review referees for potential publications for inclusion in JOAS.
Section 1.2 A collaborative and open peer-review process will be conducted using an Internet publishing platform. Reviewer comments will be published along with the publication itself so that the process is transparent.
Section 1.3 Digital Object Identifiers (DOI’s) will be assigned by the JOAS Editor to each approved publication.
Section 2. An editor to JOAS shall be appointed. During the first six months of operations, the Executive Director will solicit candidates to present to the board of directors. The Board of Directors shall conduct online video interviews and appoint a qualified editor for JOAS by a majority vote from the candidate pool. The editor may be a compensated position, with any compensation schedule to be determined by the Board of Directors
Section 3. Initially, JOAS will be a quarterly publication. As membership and interest grows, the Board of Directors may opt to make it a bi-monthly or monthly publication.
Section 4. The goal of JOAS is to promote and publish reproducible Atmospheric and Earth science papers. To that end, all technical submissions to JOAS must be accompanied by all manner and means of materials to enable such reproduction during peer review. This includes all data, equations, software code, examples and supplementary materials. Rebuttals to technical submissions must also meet the same requirements. Editorial submissions such as opinion or commentary that don’t have such technical elements may be excepted from reproducibility requirements, but the JOAS has the option of asking for any additional materials that may be required.
Science or Fundraising?
So far the effort has raised $330. But Watts has high hopes:
Right now, membership is the most important goal. I encourage everyone who reads WUWT to become a member, or an associate member. Like any organization, it starts out small with an idea, and grows as momentum builds. As the momentum builds, so will the organization. My role is to put all the pieces in place, and help it grow.
Another Anti-Science Stab at Peer Review?
This new organization is well timed, in that there have been significant setbacks to the science denialist community’s efforts in wedging into the peer reviewed process. I am reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill:
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
And another quote made famous by Rita Mae Brown:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
The announcement for the new society is here.