Perusing responses to InterAcademy Council questionnaire

The first thing that occurred to me when I began perusing this long awaited compilation (678 pages) was how easy it would have been for them to substitute something along the lines of “Respondent 1, Respondent 2, etc” when they redacted the names from each response.

UPDATE December 23, 2010: Working from Donna Laframboise’s list of Respondent numbers and pages, I have now “annotated” the IAC’s document by adding Respondent numbers and bookmarks for each (which should make navigation somewhat easier!)

Each of the 232 “1. What role(s) if any …” paragraphs is now highlighted, and if you mouse-over the highlighted text, you will also see the Respondent no:

IAC Review Comments Bookmarked and Annotated

Sorry, but at 678 pages, it is still a large file (and takes quite a while to fully download), so that bookmarks are accessible. You might want to consider saving to your own computer, then opening the file.

If they had done this, along with applying consistent Word styles to such text (and to each of the question headings) – and applied the appropriate conversion settings so that “bookmarks” could be created in the resulting .pdf file with no effort whatsoever – the whole document would have been so much easier to refer to and navigate.

Nonetheless, I was able to determine that they have compiled 232 responses. In my books, 232 is a far cry from the “more than 400” one would infer from pp. 5-6 of the IAC Review Committee report‘s:

The questionnaire was also posted on the Committee’s website so the general public could comment. More than 400 individuals, listed in Appendix C, provided input. The prevailing views of the questionnaire respondents about the various steps in the IPCC assessment process are summarized in this report and a compilation of all of the responses, with identifiers removed, is available from the IAC.

One wonders when the remaining 168+ responses might be posted. FWIW, of the 232, 47 appeared to have no role in the IPCC process.

Australia’s Peter B. – the wizard behind AccessIPCC – is working on making the compilation more, well, accessible. But in the meantime …

My own responses seem to have “made the cut”, so to speak (and begin at page 459, if anyone’s interested!) I also found 11 instances of “hockey stick”. Two of which were contained in the following excerpts from one who has served in the roles of “Contributing author and reviewer” [pp. 96-101]:

2c. Selection of lead authors

This is completely mysterious to me (again, beyond the vague statements on the IPCC website). An issue of concern is how and why Michael Mann ended up as a lead author for the TAR, when he had just received his Ph.D. in 1998.

In the selection of lead authors, it is critical that publications by a lead author play a minor role in the particular chapter that the author is leading. Otherwise, the assessment will be biased by the lead author‘s own strong opinions related to his/her own papers. This means that the dominant researchers on a particular topic should not be leading the assessment on that particular topic.


11. Any other comments

Issues surrounding the “hockey stick” (particularly section 2.3 in the TAR) have been festering since 2001, and the current loss of IPCC credibility can be directly traced to this issue, in my opinion. A thorough investigation of this issue is needed. Whether or not the IAC is the appropriate group to do this, I suspect not, but the IAC should call for an investigation of this issue. To understand the issues and allegations surrounding this issue, I highly recommend the book “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by Andrew Montford.

And lots of other good stuff from this respondent (and others), as well.

Shall we compare notes?! Did you submit a response that is not included? Have you found anything noteworthy? Feel free to add a comment below with your findings and/or a link to your own posting(s) on this.


8 thoughts on “Perusing responses to InterAcademy Council questionnaire

  1. Pingback: 232 Opinions Concerning the IPCC « NoFrakkingConsensus

  2. The material looks suitable for a database approach. You can answer queries like “how many IPCC contributors answered ‘X’ to question no. 4?”.

    As Donna points out, many submissions are not included. It looks like they were contacting each and every author asking for permission for publication. Certainly there is a degree of implied consent – the commenters knew beforehand that their submissions would be published.

    • Good idea in theory, Shub … but one thing I’ve learned in the last year is to never judge the state of the underlying data by its appearance in a .pdf (or a web page, for that matter!) This was one of the first things I attempted to do when I downloaded the file, but it requires several passes of “cleanup” after export to make it usable as a database. This is what Peter is working on at the moment (as I noted above in my post).

      In the meantime, though, it is possible to “mine” the 678 pages for simple text queries using Adobe’s built-in Find feature (from the dropdown next to the Find box, choose “Open Full Acrobat Search”. This was what I used to determine that there were 232 responses in the “compilation” – and how I determined that there were 11 instances of “hockey stick”:

      From the results panel, you can quickly navigate from one instance to another.

  3. Donna,

    Well done. I urge you to consider using Adobe “bookmarks” on each page to provide the “guide” inside the PDF and useable by the reader; rather than in a separate document or even the web page. This makes everything self-contained and makes the document much more powerful.

    These would be displayed in a user-controlled window at left in the Adobe reader window and servers sort of like a table of contents, but with active “clickable” links. You’d start by first providing a bookmark (go to the page, press CTRL-B or use the menu) and then name the bookmark. They are visible at left when bookmarks are shown.

    • You must have been reading my mind, rms! As you will see from the update near the top of ths post, I’ve inserted bookmarks – as well as “annotating” the document so that Respondent no. can be easily determined by mousing over the highlighted paragraph at the beginning of each person’s response.

      In case you missed it above, here’s the link again:

      IAC Review Comments Bookmarked and Annotated

      So it should be much easier for anyone to compare respondents 42 and 46, as mac1005 suggests below.


  4. Note how respondents 42 and 46 have used indentical phrases, sentences and paragraphs in their responses. It is clear thay have collaborated on this. Is there signs of other respondents collaborating?

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