Climate scientist admits editing paper to fit 'preapproved narratives'
Climate science must now fit into "preapproved narratives" to receive publication by notable scientific journals, according to Dr. Patrick T. Brown. Following the publication of his paper studying the impact of climate change on wildfires in Nature, the climate scientist said he left out the full results of his studies to ensure its place in the prestigious journal. "The paper I just published'Climate warming increases extreme daily wildfire growth risk in Californiafocuses exclusively on how climate change has affected extreme wildfire behavior. I knew not to try to quantify key aspects other than climate change in my research because it would dilute the story that prestigious journals like Nature and its rival, Science, want to tell," Brown wrote for The Free Press, a new media company founded by former New York Times op-ed staff editor Bari Weiss. He continued, "This matters because it is critically important for scientists to be published in high-profile journals; in many ways, they are the gatekeepers for career success in academia. And the editors of these journals have made it abundantly clear, both by what they publish and what they reject, that they want climate papers that support certain preapproved narrativeseven when those narratives come at the expense of broader knowledge for society." MSNBC HOST PONDERS WHY FREQUENT DEATH DESTRUCTION NOT PUSHING PEOPLE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE Brown also noted that scientists looking to publish in journals are discouraged from recommending practical solutions such as "employing practical adaptation measures like stronger, more resilient infrastructure, better zoning and building codes, more air conditioningor in the case of wildfires, better forest management or undergrounding power lines" in favor of "policies like the Inflation Reduction Act, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions." "To put it bluntly, climate science has become less about understanding the complexities of the world and more about serving as a kind of Cassandra, urgently warning the public about the dangers of climate change. However understandable this instinct may be, it distorts a great deal of climate science research, misinforms the public, and most importantly, makes practical solutions more difficult to achieve," Brown wrote. In response, he called for the media to "stop accepting these papers at face value" and for editors "to expand beyond a narrow focus that pushes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions." Regarding researchers such as himself, he advised them to "start standing up to editors, or find other places to publish." "What really should matter isnt citations for the journals, clicks for the media, or career status for the academicsbut research that actually helps society," he wrote. FAMILY FARMER WARNS HARSH CLIMATE POLICIES TO CUT COW EMISSIONS WILL DESTROY BUSINESS IN THE NETHERLANDS When responding for a comment to Fox News Digital, a Nature spokesperson defended the journals practice of reviewing and publishing manuscripts. "All submitted manuscripts are considered independently on the basis of the quality and timeliness of their science. Our editors make decisions based solely on whether research meets our criteria for publication original scientific research (where conclusions are sufficiently supported by the available evidence), of outstanding scientific importance, which reaches a conclusion of interest to a multidisciplinary readership," the statement read. It continued, "All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff, and those manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal peer review, typically to two or three reviewers (although sometimes more if special advice is needed). Intentional omission of facts and results that are relevant to the main conclusions of a paper is not considered best practice with regards to accepted research integrity principles." A further statement was provided from Nature's editor-in-chief, Dr Magdalena Skipper. "The only thing in Patrick Browns statements about the editorial processes in scholarly journals that we agree on is that science should not work through the efforts by which he published this article. We are now carefully considering the implications of his stated actions; certainly, they reflect poor research practices and are not in line with the standards we set for our journal," she said. "We have an expectation that researchers use the most appropriate data and methods when assessing these data, and that they include all key facts and results that are relevant to the main conclusions of a paper," she continued, while noting that the study authors argued against including other variables besides climate change when it was brought up in the peer review process. "When researchers do not do so, it goes against the interests of both fellow researchers and the research field as a whole. To deliberately not do so is, at best, highly irresponsible. Researchers have a responsibility for their research which they must take seriously." "When it comes to science, Nature does not have a preferred narrative. Nature editors make decisions about what to publish based solely on whether research meets our criteria for publication: original scientific research (where conclusions are sufficiently supported by the available evidence), of outstanding scientific importance, which reaches a conclusion of interest to a multidisciplinary readership," she concluded, pointing to examples that Nature published in the past, including in the last month, "that do not follow the purported editorial biases alleged by Brown." Note: This article was updated with remarks from Nature's editor-in-chief. For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media.