Talk:Edward Wegman

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Why he was asked to do the double checking of the statistics[edit]

Hi John. The transcript of the hearing has Whitfield saying he and Barton asked Wegman to do this but they don't really say why him, well not directly. It seems obvious to me because he was the chairman of an NAS committee (but perhaps it's because of his reputation and CV or that he did it for free or they like George Mason University or they picked him out of a hat.) (Just like I imagine Dr North was chosen because of his involvement in the NRC.) But maybe they're just two guys that said yes and are qualified.

I have it written too strongly, I don't know why they asked him. I'll see what I can fix. I just wanted to put in something about why. Maybe just because he's qualified. I don't remember any involvement with AGW by him before this, so maybe they were trying to be as unbiased as possible. (And he is part of the NAS after all, so he's part of the mainstream.)

Last summer, Chairman Barton and I inquired into this matter after we learned that the lead author of these federally funded studies - Dr. Michael Mann -- to share the computer code he used to generate his results with researchers who sought to replicate the result of Mann's studies. The researchers, one of whom will testify today, reportedly could not replicate his work based on what the study said. The researchers nevertheless identified several methodological and data problems with the work. How critical were these problems identified by these researchers? Were the problems undetected because Dr. Mann assessed his own work in an IPCC report? These are serious questions, and the answers contain broad implications for global policy on climate change. We should ensure that science is providing us with reliable, balanced, well-considered, and unbiased answers.

Now, when Chairman Barton and I wrote a letter asking that the Mann report be reviewed by some statisticians... ...And so what we did was, we asked that Dr. Wegman and a team that he had review these data. Dr. Wegman is Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, and at the committee's request he assembled this ad hoc committee of statisticians to examine the hockey stick studies and related articles and his committee report prepared for Chairman Barton and me and the committee and publicly released this Friday provides important findings for Congress and the public to consider about the soundness and openness of climate change research and assessment and I can tell you right now that his document has been peer reviewed also, and we will get into that later.

In addition to Dr. Wegman, we have Dr. Gerald North of Texas A&M University, who will testify on the first panel about the current state of historical temperature understanding. Dr. North chaired a recent National Research Council panel on historical temperature reconstructions and we look forward to hearing his perspective for improving climate change assessments.

Sln3412 23:09, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I went ahead and edited it out. Sln3412 23:15, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. It's a fine distinction, but being asked because he is notable (as evidenced by being Chair of a panel) isn't the same as being asked in his capacity as Chair.JQ 00:51, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Wegman report, peer review[edit]

The most recent edit (by User:Gmb92) removed a long superfluous list of reviewers, but substituted the slightly misleading statement: "At the hearing, Dr. Wegman indicated that the report had only been peer-reviewed by those he selected." My recollection is, his ad-hoc committee selected the reviewers, but I've misplaced the ref, darn it.

For that matter, the quotes from his report aren't the best, imo. For one, we need his concluding "equation" (from memory) Method wrong + Results right = Bad Science

Anyway, this is a memory-prod to return here when time permits... Pete Tillman (talk) 08:00, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Blogs in the article[edit]

Blogs are not considered as reliable sources for Wikipedia articles, so it is not encyclopedic to note that Wegman's report was commented on by RealClimate or Climate Audit. The blogs have to go. If the blog reports have been commented on in reliable secondary sources, then it is ok to mention them IF they focuse on Dr. Wegman, otherwise, it is clear COATRACKING. Cla68 (talk) 07:52, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

This is incorrect. Blogs are generally not considered reliable sources - but general is not specific. In this particular case we have a blog written by experts (who were directly involved in the hearing and the report) - which makes the blog a reliable source on that. Your original argument that because this is a biography, a blog couldn't be used, is completely and utterly wrong.... BLP is about biographical material (about the person), where as this particular section isn't about BLP-material - its about a report. As in all cases NPOV requires that you present all sides according to weight - otherwise you do have a coatrack issue (one-sided presentation). And RC is a reasonable addition to make the section more NPOV. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:13, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Which blog are you referring to as "written by experts," RealClimate, DeSmogBlog, or Climate Audit? I notice that you're using a singular "blog", not "blogs", yet the sentence in question mentioned three. Cla68 (talk) 10:31, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I was specifically addressing RC - but CA would be reliable for some information as well (since McI was a central person). But as these blogs are all attributed, there is no problem at all.
But - and this is a large but. The whole section does have coatracking problems. This is not biographical information, and thus it has to be presented in such a way, so that it presents a balanced picture according to weight. It doesn't - its basically a one-sided description, with no (other than the blogs) description of the controversy surrounding that particular report. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:51, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, okay. I just tried to shorten the section, because I agree that it's too long. It can probably be cut down a lot further. It needs to primarily stress Wegman's actions, not the hockey stick controversy itself. I'm already thinking of some ways to do that. Cla68 (talk) 10:56, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the issue is particularly important in either Wegmans career or his personal life.... although speculations could be made that he may have turned sceptical from this [ie. his name suddenly appeared on lists/petitions etc.], but the equally likely explanation is that this made the rest of the world aware of him, and thus he gets asked.
The whole thing should be cut down into 1-2 sentences - since its already covered in Hockey stick controversy and because (as i said) its not really important in the context of Wegman's biography. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:08, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
A really big problem here though - is your excessive use of the polemic "The Deniers", which i very much doubt can be used for biographical information - Solomon isn't particularly well known for getting information about persons right (Shaviv, Weiss, Solanki, etc) The book a polemic and presents Solomon's personal view of the persons. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:11, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

"mined" in quotes[edit]

The word "mined" in quotes was introduced by Cla68 here. He attributes it to [1], which is a dead link (correct link is [2]). Where did the word "mined" in quotes come from, and who said "mined?" I wonder if sources are being misrepresneted. As we all know, misrepresenting sources, especially to put words in the mouth of a party to defame an identifiable living persons with claims of fraud is problematic, to say the least. Hipocrite (talk) 14:55, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


I've put a pov and coatrack tag on the section. Identification of problems can be found in #Blogs in the article and #"mined" in quotes. There are others - but these are the obvious ones. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:14, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
This edit violated WP:SYN. The Guardian article, for example, didn't even mention Wegman. I've rewritten the section to highlight Wegman's involvement but at the same time explain enough about what was going on for the reader to understand. If someone has a reliable source (i.e. not a blog like Climate Audit or RealClimate) which actually mentions Wegman by name and disputes his performance and actions related to his investigation, we could probably include that. Meanwhile, I need to go leave a note on Hipocrite's user talk page. Cla68 (talk) 11:09, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Please address the above question regarding the provenance of the quotes you previously placed in this article. Hipocrite (talk) 11:10, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

H's version is better; and also it should be clear that Barton instituted this William M. Connolley (talk) 15:50, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

WMC, I have no personal connection or relationship, professional or otherwise, with Wegman, Mann, or M&M. Do you? If so, you shouldn't be touching this article. Cla68 (talk) 22:36, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

See "This article will likely need a major rewrite ... but not quite yet" over at Hockey_stick_controversy. To save people wasted effort, I suspect the same applies here. That does cover what's publicly known about the route through which Wegman got asked, i.e., Jerry Coffey, although we still do not know who actually suggested him.JohnMashey (talk) 00:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Christopher Booker gives additional detail in his recent book. I have a copy of The Hockey Stick Illusion on the way which I hope will give additional information. The recent changes which were made to this article actually aren't too bad, but a few additional details about how and why Wegman was chosen as the investigator would probably be helpful. Cla68 (talk) 00:54, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you planning to use Christopher Booker's work as a source of factual information? Really? Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:09, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Maybe. Because of the opinions given in the RSN discussion about Booker, I'd like to confirm whatever Booker says with a second source, such as the Illusion book I mentioned above. Otherwise, if I added a statement from Booker's book to this article it would be attributed, i.e. "Christopher Booker states that the Energy committee selected Wegman because..." Cla68 (talk) 01:33, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Using Montford to corroborate Booker is like... well, it's not the greatest idea I've ever run across. When using partisan sources (whether singly or multiply) it's especially important to attribute everything carefully, because of the BLP implications if nothing else. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:42, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, I don't think that we can discuss the validity of the sources or the information contained in them when either one of us don't have access to them. Once I receive the Illusion book, which should be any day now, if you like you can get out your copy of it and Booker's book and I'll get out my copy and we can discuss this further. Cla68 (talk) 01:48, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
One more thing, SBHB, if you can find any other books that give greater detail on Wegman's involvement in the investigation, please say so here. Cla68 (talk) 01:58, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Remember that this is Wegman's biography, not a replay of the investigation. All we need to do is note his leadership of the inquiry without going into excessive detail. He has a distinguished career[3][4] that should be covered without inordinate focus on any one episode. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:46, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
That's one reason why I think that Booker or Montford may be ok as a source in this particular instance, because details as to when or why Wegman was selected to lead the investigation appear to me to be fairly non-partisan in nature. The section should focus on Wegman's actions. The controversy over the veracity and validity of his conclusions can and should be detailed in the Hockey stick controversy article. Cla68 (talk) 04:12, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
When you say his selection was non-partisan, I think you need to check some facts. Barton turned down a (real nonpartisan) offer by the NAS. They then used Jerry Coffey to contact Wegman, although it is unclear who actually suggested Wegman. Coffey has clear views on both politics and AGW - I would hardly call him nonpartisan. See p.115[], which points you at the various primary sources to back all this up.JohnMashey (talk) 06:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
But Coffey didn't do the investigation, Wegman did. And the president of the National Academy of Sciences (whose quote was removed from the article) backed him. Remember, the hearing transcript quoted Wegman as saying that he voted for Al Gore in the presidential election. Also, North's NAS investigation did not refute Wegman's conclusions. If you're proposing to put any information in this article that suggests that politics had some part in Wegman's conclusions, then we're going to need to include all the relevant information and the section will get rather lengthy, rather fast. I'm not necessarily against that. I favor inclusion over exclusion. Cla68 (talk) 06:08, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I just read through your paper, Dr. Mashey and although the paper can't be used as a source, if you'd like to use any of the sources you used for that paper, please list them here. It appears to me, however, that most of what you go into would be more appropriate at the Hockey stick controversy article than here. Cla68 (talk) 06:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll pass for now, as my real point is that this whole set of inter-related pages is likely to get rethought. It probably doesn't make much sense for me to try to extract dozens of references, given the complex story in which they were embedded. However, you were claiming that Wegman's *selection* was non-partisan, and I answered about *selection* (although in fact the investigation was demonstrably partisan, too). My report has the long history of politically-partisan actions that led to the Barton-Whitfield letters, and then the rejection of the NAS offer. Read CCC, Barton: p.110-112, and quote at top of p.24 for Larry Neal's comment. NAS/NRC has very clear procedures for minimizing bias and partisanship [5]. That wasn't good enough for Barton. We know what Wegman said about voting, but we do not know his actual vote or whether that is relevant. We do know that Wegman was contacted by an intensely-partisan friend, that the panel got much of its information through Barton staffer Peter Spencer, that they were warned upfront by P.Spencer to expect criticism. (Why? Was the result predetermined?) We know they talked to McIntyre, never contacted Mann. OK, one reference I can't resist is Yasmin Said's 2007 talk [6] See p.26 for pictures but read the whole thing. Finally, with regard to notability, I think he is actually notable apart from this, but he didn't seem notable to Wikipedia until July 2006.JohnMashey (talk) 17:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
If you look through the articles on people connected to the AGW topic (we call articles on living people "BLPs") and check the talk pages for each BLP, I think you'll find a surprising number of quite intense debates about what should or should not be added as content to each. Cla68 (talk) 22:49, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I would not suggest doing anything with this article right now, but wait until a bit of the dust settles. I do not suggest the following as RS, but as elsewhere, people might want to consult "Strange Scholarship in the Wegman report", linked from, as it does point to RS answers for many of the questions here.JohnMashey (talk) 05:20, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


I've mentioned this before - but a polemic opinion book such as "The Deniers" is not a reliable source for information on a BLP.

I've also got significant problems with the "Statisticians blast Hockey Stick" reference, since i am rather certain that this is referring to an Op-Ed by McIntyre & McKitrick (this one[7]), and thus most certainly isn't a reliable source for factual information, and only to the opinions of the authors. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:17, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I independently found that when looking at the tag. I've removed assertions of fact attributed to opinion articles written by participants in the controversy, but I hope someone can find a reliable source for some of this information, so I left it commented out. Hipocrite (talk) 12:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm increasingly concerned that this BLP is being manipulated as a WP:COATRACK to replay the hockey stick controversy. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:30, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The article is pretty good right now, I'd argue, but, of course, I'm all for shrinking down every blp to a stub and then deleting them unless the person is shockingly famous. Hipocrite (talk) 14:32, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I just readded the sources that were used before. I don't think there is anything controversial about the hearing transcript. The byline on that America's Intelligence Wire story in Infotrac was "Brian Mahoney", not M&M. If the article, however, is actually a press release from M&M then I can understand the reluctance about using it as a source. Infotrac sometimes screws up the bylines of article editors, I think because whatever program they use to compile articles doesn't always grab the correct name from the original source. Cla68 (talk) 23:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Housekeeping: Ref tag still needed? + comment on The Deniers tag[edit]

Is the ref tag still needed? There seem to be a reasonable number of third-party refs here.

I also noticed that cites to Lawrence Solomon's book The Deniers are tagged as "unreliable source?" I just reread his profile of Wegman [8], and (other than the unfortunate title) it seems prosaic. I noticed that editor Kim D. Petersen objected to the use of the book, calling it a "polemic opinion book". While the book of course reflects Solomon's opinions, he seems to have done his homework re Wegman. Perhaps we should source the cites to the National Post online article, and sidestep the book issue. Or just drop the cites, as they're all double-cites, the other to his (third-party) 2004 distinguished alumni award [9]. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:51, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


Exciting new stuff: William M. Connolley (talk) 17:43, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Please be careful not to discuss the substance of accusations sourced solely from blogs. TS 02:05, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, for some value of "exciting". You might read Steve McIntyre's analysis for another view of this. Doesn't make Bradley look good (among others), in my view. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 17:37, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
McIntyre's dismissal of copy and paste as "boilerplate" wouldn't fly on Wikipedia, and his claims that "others do it" would have to be assessed on their detailed merits, but don't do anything to redeem any infractions that Wegman may have committed. Obviously McIntyre's a non-expert on this issue and his blog is self-published so unsuitable as a source for BLPs. Wegman's university has found that there is sufficient evidence of a case to answer to go on to the next stage of formal investigation, and that's all we can really say about the effect on him personally at this stage. I'm glad to see increased recognition that the report is only significant in relation to its purely statistical aspects, which appear to be generally uncontroversial, but that's an issue for the detailed article on the controversy rather than this bio. . . dave souza, talk 19:46, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
"Wegman's university has found that there is sufficient evidence of a case to answer to go on to the next stage of formal investigation..." Actually not, unless you have info past the GMU letter at the USA Today article [10]. GMU says "... inquiry into your formal complaint of plagiarism" [11].
This is Bradley's complaint, and McI notes that at least one passage in Wegman, that Bradley claims was "plagiarized" from his book -- in which, McI notes, "Wegman cites Bradley no fewer than six times in the approximately 1640 words" in question -- Bradley himself lifted text from some earlier (non-acknowledged) publication! Very bizarre. Nasty SLAPP-style politicking, imo. But time will tell. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:48, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Please be aware that BLP applies here. McI's blog is not a reliable source for accusations like this (and even a cursory glance through the blog post shows that it's full of holes). Guettarda (talk) 21:22, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
USA Today updated Sunday

"Dr. Wegman's status as an employee and faculty hasn't changed at all," says Walsch. Walsch clarified on Sunday that Bradley's complaint is under a formal investigation by the university, and has moved past a preliminary "inquiry" to a committee effort. "An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the alleged conduct falls within the definition of research misconduct under this policy and preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the inquiry indicates that the allegation may have substance," according to the university's misconduct policy.

dave souza, talk 21:39, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Dave. It's disconcerting that USA Today keeps modifying their article, with no notice and no date change. Doesn't raise my already low opinion of the rag :-[ Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:49, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to emphasize here the importance of using appropriate sources even in discussions. This isn't the right place to discuss the opinions of bloggers, otherwise the material from Deep Climate and John Mashey would have been all over this page throughout the summer. We now have three reliable and attributable sources: Bradley, Wegman and George Mason University as reported through news organizations. Tasty monster (=TS ) 01:34, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

[Reply to TS & Tasty] Please note the blog-based plagiarism discussions by (e.g.) John Mashey, forex here and here. Mashey and DeepC have, indeed, been discussed here at WP for quite some time. I see your point re BLP -- but would prefer it be applied more even-handedly? --Pete Tillman (talk) 05:36, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm Tasty monster (it's my alternate account). I disapprove of Deep Climate and John Mashey intruding into the editing of the encyclopedia. If either makes postings unsupported by reliable sources I'll deal with it. --TS 20:52, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Plagiarism, again[edit]

I notice this section has started to grow again, primarily with elaborations of the charges against Wegman. Not included are Wegman's rebuttals and later news from USA Today, eg here. USAT remains the only MSM outlet to cover the controversy.

I believe we had consensus to cover this as a one-sentence item, until there is some resolution to the GMU investigation, and/or other significant developments. I don't think the new USA today stories need coverage now, though it wouldn't hurt to cite them. Hence I'm reverting to the previous version of this section. Please discuss here if you disagree. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:25, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes,I disagree. I am very surprised not to see these cited, especially compared to the rush to get marginal review cites into the HSI page: (print) (print)

The first was a full half-page in the print edition and had *much* stronger confirmation of the plagiarism issue. The second is fair to note Wegman's comment, and if is there, so should the third be, especially as USA Today solicited comments. Finally, some details of these articles that are more important than they look. JohnMashey (talk) 09:44, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Has anyone here actually read the words that where "plagiarized" or the Wegman Report itself? Be careful, the verdict is not in yet and your acting like activist bloggers in your zeal. There is no mention of why it took 4 years to get around to this reaction to a very public and publicized document. Which you are unwittingly drawing even more attention to. Including the part of at least 43 people co-authoring with Mann and "peer-reviewing" each others work. Or is just getting the headline worth it? The people who read the particulars will know it does not alter the report and that the person in question is only noted as being a prominent statistician talking about what is common knowledge in a field far from his own. Anyway, it appears that Bradley made a statement that he is willing to drop the complaint if the Wegman Report is struck from the Congressional Record which raises legal, ethical and intent of motive issues for Bradly. He has stumbled into an area of Federal Law, which has little resemblance to academic rules. Whoever is going to end up with the black eyes in this remains to be seen. Given that this is a BLP and is under general sanction, do deprecations that are still unresolved belong in said BLP? Do they give added precedence to using like kind in any other BLP? I do know the non-conformist are going to roll with WMC's name and his statement being at the beginning of this subject's talk. Multiperspective (talk) 05:48, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I have read the words plagiarized. So have plagiarism experts. So have people at Rice U and George Mason U, and certain other places whose opinions matter in the real world. While I make no claim that this is RS, if you would like to know what's been going on, see this report, Strange Inquiries at George Mason University [12]. Most of this is GMU policies and copies of letters and emails and other people have copies, so there will be RS versions, have no fear.
It took 4 years because experts tend to skip over introductory material and summaries of papers, whereas others read that, but wouldn't notice the problems. Domain experts *never* thought this was good science and stopped looking at it years ago. People look for plagiarism in student papers, not reports for Congress by "eminent statisticians." Had anyone realized that the WR was substantially written by a new PhD and a few grad students, they might have looked harder. The social networks material in the WR, re-used in the 2008 paper, will quite possibly lead to far worse legal problems.
There wasn't any serious statistical analysis in the WR, just rerunning McIntyre's code, which was wrong anyway. Deep Climate just recently found in the WR a demonstrable 1% cherry-pick to show only the most favorable data. The WR was filled with errors besides the plagiarism.
Multiperspective bases opinions on indirect comments, then manages to insinuate wrongdoing on Ray's part as a result. If they want to claim wrongdoing, perhaps they can cite the applicable section of the US Code. If people want to see what Ray *actually* wrote, the letter is included on the left side of p.26 of the report, with analysis on p.8. Again, I do not claim that this is RS (in the Wikipedia sense). As I have written before, I suggest not wasting a lot of time on edits to this page, in favor of just reporting things as they keep appearing in RS sources, but of course, *those* should be reported.JohnMashey (talk) 09:12, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

[reply to John Mashey] Mr. Mashey, since you are a principal source of these plagiarism charges, I'd say you have a WP:COI re this topic. So, thanks for keeping your contribution to the talk page. Best regards, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:06, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Ad hominem[edit]

Does the insertion of Joe Barton's name imply to the reader that he was the sole member of this committee to desire a third party to review the statistical methods in question? A respected statistician HAD to be brought in by SOMEONE. Any argument against this has huge implications. Did any member of this committee which included 26 Democrats, request another mainstream statistician for this ad hoc and pro bono panel? Where there any of these Democrats that expressed opposition to Wegaman BEFORE selection. If so,should that not be included? If it's insertion is to implicate bias, does this also imply bias or POV on the part of the editor? Keeping in mind Sln3412 above, it would seem to imply to readers that Joe Barton's POV is the sole reason for a mainstream statistician being at the hearings. Would it not be more NPOV to simply state that he was there as a third party mainstream statistician to provide "independent verification of the critiques of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) [MBH98, MBH99] by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003, 2005a, 2005b) [MM03, MM05a, MM05b] as well as the related implications in the assessment"? Multiperspective (talk) 19:54, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Peter Bloomfield, a statistics professor at North Carolina State University, was brought in by the NAS as a third party mainstream statistician to examine the work of Mann et al. . . . dave souza, talk 23:23, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

It was the Republicans that brought Bloomfield, via North, into the same hearings as Wegman.

Testimony from the Congressional Record...

"Now, when we did that, Sherry Boehlert, who is a good Republican friend of ours and is Chairman of the Science Committee, was quite upset about it and he said I think you all are being political also, and he asked that we ask Dr. North, who is going to be a witness, and would like for him to be involved in this data analysis, and he is going to be a witness today also. But the real purpose of this is that this issue is so important that I think it is imperative that we hear from all sides and try to get some realunderstanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these reports." Farther on "DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks? CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone. MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman."

(The 'he' is not a typo. Sherry is Sherwood Boehlert).

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Multiperspective (talkcontribs) 01:59, 12 December 2010 (UTC) 

And yes, 'realunderstanding' was in the Congressional Record. New word I guess.Multiperspective (talk) 02:19, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Plagarism, once again.[edit]

I note, in an earlier discussion, this statement: I don't think the new USA today stories need coverage now, though it wouldn't hurt to cite them. I disagree with the first part of the sentence - the November 23, 2010 USA Today story had significant details not in the Wikipedia article. Accordingly, I have added a single sentence with what I believe is the most relevant new information from that story. I also note that adding such a sentence is the primary reason for adding the cite for the November 2010 story, which "wouldn't hurt", it seems universally agreed.

With respect to the larger issue: I see absolutely no consensus that the right length of this story, in the Wikipedia article, is exactly one sentence, particularly because the second article does in fact add material to the story. Nor do I believe that it is appropriate for editors to decide that until "X" happens (such as resolution of the charges), that nothing further should be added to the article. And finally, am I unaware of any Wikipedia guideline that says that if a single MSM publication covers a story (I've not looked to see if others have in fact), then only one story from that publication should be cited/used, and the right length for text in the article is one sentence. I believe that two sentences is well within the WP:UNDUE policy. In fact, I have no objections to others adding more information, such as Wegman's statements about the situation as quoted in the November 2010 article. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:42, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

  • And in the latest round, note that much (important) material didn't fit on the print page, so ended up at Vergano USA Today online.

Finally, the Wegman resume link is broken, and it would be nice if someone can find one, but that suddenly disappeared last August along with some other key files, the same week Wegman posted a strange comment on his Facebook page. See (not intended to be RS, but it does have data) Strange Inquiries... JohnMashey (talk) 19:44, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

John: thanks for the interesting Vergano link. You've already seen it, but others may be interested in John Nielsen-Gammon's and others thoughts on this topic: Wegman: A Surprising Reaction. FWIW, I agree with Dr. North that it's a sad situation. The social-networking stuff was always peripheral to his report, and outside Wegman's expertise. With 20-20 hindsight, he'd have done better to leave it out, I think. And to have paid closer attention to what his student helpers were putting into his report, of course...
Note that the article's mention of this business is unintentionally misleading. The withdrawn paper, if I understand correctly, reported solely the social-network stuff, not his statistical analysis for Congress. Is that your understanding too? Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:13, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi Pete, where does it say or imply that in the article? The withdrawn paper repeated an analysis which was included in the Wegman report, but our article merely notes that a Wegman/Said paper was withdrawn due to plagiarism. As I recall, Wegman was the lead author, but haven't bothered changing the sequence. However, perhaps you thought the singular in the title suggested this was part of the one investigation, so I've changed it to "investigations" to cover the fact that the paper was investigated by the publisher's legal advisers.
Fully agree it's a sad situation, that the reputation of an eminent scientist has been smeared by an incompetent and effectively fraudulent "social networking analysis". Dr. North seems to have got this "foreign student" bit rather wrong, and of course the named authors are those responsible for the paper. Trust there will be a full investigation of the other aspects of the Wegman report. . dave souza, talk 17:16, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
I am afraid a lot of people did not read the Vergano print article carefully enough, nor the online part. Vergano certainly knows the difference between the WR and Said, et al (2008), the latter having a subset of the plagiarism and expansion on the former's analysis. The latter has nothing to with hockeystick statistics, just really-bad SNA, panned for the same reasons by at least 3 independent experts, one of whom I quoted. Amusingly, Vergano got Kathleen Carley's name from the Wegman email to Elsevier, touting Carley as an expert (she is). Retraction of Said(2008) does not retract the WR, just means that the equivalent sections are either academic fraud (the plagiarism) or bad SNA.
People got very confused over students, unfairly blaming Wegman for making up anonymous students. I think both Tom and Jerry spoke a little too quickly, hence the weird Asian student thing. GMU policies even say faculty should be especially clear with foreign students to clarify US rules on plagiarism. In this case, Denise Reeves (a MITRE employee in her 40s or 50s, I think, not a young student) did the original text production, under weird directions. Minimal citations? The WR had 80 references, only 40 cited, and many irrelevant and some bizarre, but zero for a topic that consumed 13 pages and perhaps half of the original analysis. SNA was one of the two key memes of the WR, which Wegman kept in there despite pushback from Democrats and others involved in this. It was one of the two key things he got from McIntyre & McKitrick (2005) in Sept 2005.JohnMashey (talk) 07:05, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
To avoid people being confused by fourth-hand blog posts and wasting their time, see (not RS) Strange Tales and Emails. That uses the actual emails from Wegman to Elsevier and Azen to the other editors, which Azen sent to Vergano.JohnMashey (talk) 06:07, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Given his extensive career and notable achievements, I think the current article gives undue weight to the plagiarism/misconduct section. I would suggest at least deleting the second sentence (beginning "In November 2010...") and possibly the first sentence too (beginning "In October 2010"). Something further could be included once the GMU investigation is complete, depending on its outcome. The final sentence about the journal retracting the article is fine, though it would be better if the reference for this was the journal itself, rather than a newspaper article. The article itself still seems to be available Social networks of author–coauthor relationships (doi: 10.1016/j.csda.2007.07.021) with no indication it has been retracted. Surely if it was retracted it would no longer be available? But perhaps I've got the wrong article? In which case a reference to the article (doi?) should be included to make sure readers know which article is the subject of this sentence. TimOsborn (talk) 13:58, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Fair point about adding the doi ref, so have done so. Journal Retracts Disputed Network Analysis Paper on Climate - ScienceInsider (an AAAS publication) puts online an e-mail they received from the editor in chief of Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Stan Azen, " The following is the Elsevier retraction statement that will appear shortly......" I've not added that source, but the Nature editorial makes notable comments on the lack of speed in GMU's initial inquiry, let alone its investigation. As it notes, Wegman's report and 2008 paper made allegations about peer review by scientists, an issue of considerable significance. It also notes that Wegman blamed a graduate student for the plagiarism, opening up a question about the responsibilities of lead authors, but that's something to be addressed further when and if GMU completes its investigation. . . . dave souza, talk 16:11, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Note, the ScienceInsider article has the retraction notice, but it will be a few weeks until the next CSDA issue. I think they just missed the last one, and it has to appear in a regular issue. One canm see the Elsevier policies to see how this works.JohnMashey (talk) 23:23, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
With all due regard for Wegman's earlier career, which by all accounts did have some fine work, somehow nobody bothered to write a Wikipedia page for him until July 2006, but after that, his earlier good accomplishments suddenly became much more noticed by people outside statistics. Some people really, really want to minimize this story, in the face of the fact that both Nature and Science actually think it is worth talking about.JohnMashey (talk) 04:54, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
From the various controversies on the topic of global warming, it's clear that biographical articles should make only concise well sourced statements about the individuals, with the detail of the issue being set out in the main article: in this case, hockey stick controversy. Like others, Wegman has come to wider public attention because of his part in the controversy, and so it's appropriate to note that in his biography without overwhelming other notable aspects of his career. If the issue does eventually have notable impacts on his career, we can include what high quality reliable sources say about that. . . dave souza, talk 11:40, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Dave makes a good point. We're required by WP:BLP to be exceptionally careful in writing biographies. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 13:14, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

I should have made it clear when I recently joined in this discussion that I am the Tim Osborn who is from the Climatic Research Unit. Hence please bear in mind possible conflicts of interest that I may have with respect to this article (e.g. that I was mentioned in the Wegman Report). Though also note that my suggested edits were to reduce the space devoted to the plagiarism issue, which is perhaps the opposite to what might be expected from a perceived COI. TimOsborn (talk) 00:29, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the original 3 points I made:
* Which paper is retracted? The doi & ref is good. If I click the doi I see the abstract and an offer to purchase the article for $31.50. Amusing. Would they refund me in a few weeks when the retraction comes through?!
* Is the paper really retracted? Thanks for the link to the ScienceInsider article, dave souza, and for the explanation of the delay in the retraction notice, JohnMashey. That is now more convincing/clearer. Perhaps the Scienceinsider article would be a better reference to the USAToday one, since the former actually includes the full email from Azen?
* Is undue weight given to the plagiarism/misconduct issue? I'm not convinced by the argument about the article's creation date implying Wegman is notable mostly because of this issue. The 2006 timing may fit with the Energy and Commerce hearing but not with the plagiarism issue. I didn't suggest cutting the former, just the latter. There are more reasons why creation date is also fairly irrelevant to deciding notability/balance versus other considerations. That a journal have retracted an article is notable, and is improved now with the inclusion of the authors' and their lawyers' responses. That GMU are conducting an investigation is probably notable. That Nature urged speedy progress is perhaps notable, though I'm not sure it is really notable for Edward Wegman. The USAToday findings are not notable. They are pre-empting the official GMU finding. Wikipedia isn't a newspaper and can afford to take the long view -- and report the outcome of the GMU investigation when it eventually arrives. Therefore, I still suggest deleting the sentence "In November 2010,...". TimOsborn (talk) 01:14, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your contributions and suggestions, Tim -- and I knew that name was somehow familiar...
I think your idea of citing & possibly quoting Science Insider is good -- I'll add a bit when time permits (if someone else doesn't first), as it has some info not available elsewhere in a RS. And I share your unease with relying USA Today -- it has a poor reputation for accuracy here. Best regards, Pete Tillman (talk) 01:59, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Tim: my comment about date wasn't in regard to the plagiarism issue, the point was that despite his distinguished career, Wegman wasn't considered notable enough to have a Wikipedia page until the 2006 hearing (and he certainly did become notable then). A great deal of PR relied on Wegman's personal credibility, of necessity since Scott only wrote a few pages and was barely involved, leaving much of the rest of the work to the very junior Said and several grad students, all of which was only really discovered in 2010. Regarding awaiting GMU findings, GMU seems to have broken/stretched its own misconduct policies and generally behaved quite strangely. Some folks at Nature at least know the public info, such as Strange Inquiries at GMU, which of course is not RS, but which might have been read by people there. You might also talk to Ray. JohnMashey (talk) 06:40, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

I've tweaked the plagiarism section to make clear this is a SNA article, that these are allegations, and that Wegman denies wrongdoing. See what you think.

Note that the doi expansions in the refs aren't working, and I don't know how to fix them. Help? Pete Tillman (talk) 22:35, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Give them time, they usually work eventually – as they now seem to have done. . . dave souza, talk 09:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
They're not just allegations, the allegations have been considered by the journal's legal team. Also, the article doesn't say that Wegman has denied any wrongdoing, it states that his attorney has stated that "Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism," and Wegman (having blamed a student who "had basically copied and pasted" from others' work into the 2006 congressional report, and saying the text was lifted without acknowledgment and used in the journal study) wrote "We would never knowingly publish plagiarized material". I've tried to show the minimal essentials from that: it is significant that he acknowledged that the study used material from the Wegman Report. . . dave souza, talk 23:06, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Dave -- your version is (mostly) better, though longer. I was trying for short.
I've added the bit that Yasmin & Said stand by their work. Why do you think that the recycled "boilerplate" from the Wegman report is notable?
It's an odd and unhappy affair. A couple of reports I've seen (not RS's) say that Said & Wegman first proposed to properly cite the material in a correction, but the journal's lawyers were too spooked to go for that. SFAICT, all of the material in question is backgrounding stuff, and should have no bearing on the conclusions of either the Wegman Report or the retracted SNA paper. Though of course it should have been properly cited. Here's an account by a fellow-statistician that's worth a look -- not a RS, of course, but interesting and plausible, imo. --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:10, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Both USA Today and Nature find "recycled "boilerplate" from the Wegman report" to be very notable. And, of course, the material in the WR was plagiarised, as well as being distorted in some instances to say the opposite of what the undisclosed source had said. Even if the social network stuff were ok, plagiarism indicates a claim to expertise which the main authors clearly lacked. Appeals to authority don't work very well when the most expert author on SNA is an undisclosed student who'd done a one week course on the subject. . . dave souza, talk 09:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
So, we have a non-RS blog by a anonymous retired statistician with a very clear PoV about climate. If the talk wants to mention non-RS blogs, how about 2 blog posts by an award-winning statistician, Andrew_Gelman who offers opinions, one in the ASA's Statistics Forum"Statistics in the news - but not in a good way" and two in his own, Why no Wegmania? and A (not quite) grand unified unified theory of plagiarism, as applied to the Wegman case. How do objective observers rate the relative credibility of Andrew Gelman and "RomanM"? The comment about lawyers being spooked is simply wrong. Reading about this case in blogs is no substitute for actually knowing *something* about academic fraud proceedings and being directly involved in this case. The (public) details of this are in (non-RS) Strange Tales and Emails. Sorry, straightforward plagiarism like this doesn't get fixed with an errata sheet supplying the citations, no matter how badly Wegman would have liked to (and I showed his email and annotate it). It doesn't matter that it's in the introductory material (although it is certainly elsewhere in the WR, 35/91 pages, the SNA was only part.) Elsevier knows that perfectly well. So did the plagiarism experts who looked at this last Fall. Don't worry, there will be more RS.JohnMashey (talk) 01:35, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Roman M is Roman Mureika [13]. And, with respect, John, your own POV re climate-change is also clear. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 02:50, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Had a look at that, it's extraordinary that a little plagiarism seems ok to a statistician, but he's happy with "an expository presentation of the use of the methodology" reaching the [now very ironical] "We conjecture that certain styles of co-authorship lead to the possibility of group-think, reduced creativity, and the possibility of less rigorous reviewing processes." Presumably based on time travel, as the critique was supposedly of the first two MBH papers. . . dave souza, talk 09:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

@ Pete, you cited Nature which doesn't refer to "USA today having reported, but does say "Earlier this month, a statistics journal decided to pull a little-cited 2008 paper..." and emphasises that the Wegman Report social-network analysis "was cut down to an academic paper and published two years later..." I've simply said "based on". The attorney / lawyer (is there a difference?) didn't say "the authors stand by their work", he said by email "Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism". I've left in Wegman's statement as well, as "Wegman said that he would never knowingly publish plagiarized material. The lawyer for the authors said neither had ever engaged in plagiarism." Perhaps we should delete one of these sentences? . . dave souza, talk 09:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Vergano, USAT: "Johns [their lawyer] says his clients "stand by their work" despite the retraction." I'll put it back later, and perhaps tweak it again. Don't need plag thing twice, for sure. --Pete Tillman (talk) 14:43, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Ah, missed that line near the end. Have incorporated it now, replacing the "neither had ever engaged in plagiarism" bit. Have made a minor tweak to refer to "both authors", we know there were four named authors as well as the un-named student, but that's not really discussed in the USA Today article and a bit complex for this brief mention. . . dave souza, talk 17:52, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Dave. Looks good, though I may try to tweak again when time permits. Best regards, Pete Tillman (talk) 17:57, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Revision of "Investigations into charges..." section[edit]

Here's what I did (ran out of edit-summary space):

  • Added Wegman's reponse to the initial blog-based allegations. Wegman was particularly critical of Mashey's work: ""I will say that there is a lot of speculation and conspiracy theory in John Mashey's analysis which is simply not true..."
  • Shortened the Nature cmt, per Tim Osborn's suggestion. I'm not sure we need this at all.
  • Added the journal's explanation for the retraction, from the Science Insider article, as Tim suggested. Plus some misc copyedits, moved a ref.

See what you think. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 02:46, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Tillman wants to have Wegman's criticism of me in (despite fact that Wegman has not actually refuted anything in 8+ months), but that's OK. However, I object to the omission of the properly-sourced statement '"Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism," says their attorney, Milton Johns, by e-mail.' That is far stronger, more-precise and more inclusive statement than the knowingly-published or stand-by-their-work comments. It covers far more than just the CSDA paper and is actually capable of eventual judgement in the real world. Why isn't that in there in place of one of the others?JohnMashey (talk) 05:11, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Subsequent posting at deepclimate[edit]

on March 16, 2012, with a detailed account & very full analysis of the various version of the papers; and comments by various people (65 comments as of May 21, 2012). An anonymous blog, not a RS, but the details of the Wikipedia plagiarism can presumably be documented here internally. "Wiley cover-up: Complete Wegman and Said “redo” hides plagiarism and errors" [14].

The question was asked above about the relative weight to be given to this; after a reading of the material, I think a longer and more detailed section may be needed; we usually cover rather intensively incidents involving misuse of Wikipedia. DGG ( talk ) 03:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Wegman and Said no longer editors; FOIAs show Stearns wrote untruths to GMU faculty; Retaliation?[edit]

See No Evil, Speak Untruths, Break Rules, Blame Others bears strongly on the accuracy and completeness of various sections of the Wikipedia page. Of course, it is not RS, but includes many links to RS (such as FOIAs), so treat it like a long Talk comment.

'In October 2011, USA Today reported additional concerns that separate 2009 review article authored by Wegman and Said contained material copied without attribution from Wikipedia. Wegman, his attorney, and George Mason University declined to comment on the allegations.[15]'

See p.34: After a long series of complaints, Wiley allowed Wegman and Said to quietly edit their papers, but then both disappeared from masthead around the last week of June 2012. See Wiley WIREs:CS, Editors-in-Chief = Scott. Of course, this could be just a coincidence, having nothing to do with numerous letters and emails sent to the Wiley Board and executives after March.

'George Mason University provost Peter Stearns announced on 22 February 2012 that charges of scientific misconduct had been investigated by two separate faculty committees: the one investigating the Wegman Report gave a unanimous finding that "no misconduct was involved" in the 2006 report to Congress. Stearns stated that "Extensive paraphrasing of another work did occur, in a background section, but the work was repeatedly referenced and the committee found that the paraphrasing did not constitute misconduct". The 2008 social network analysis paper was investigated by a separate committee which unanimously found "that plagiarism occurred in contextual sections of the (CSDA) article, as a result of poor judgment for which Professor Wegman, as team leader, must bear responsibility." Stearns announced that Wegman was to receive an "official letter of reprimand", and in response to telephoned questions said the university was going to send the investigation reports to federal authorities. A university spokesman said the reports would not be made public.'

See pp.11-14, which annotates the results from two FOIA replies (those are RS). By FOIA, Stearns' claims of multiple investigation committees were false. There was one inquiry committee (7-page report), and one investigation committee (9-page report). Plagiarism expertsthought the plagiarism was "obvious" or "shocking." The committee managed to ignore everything except the 1.5p subset that had already been the cause of a retraction by Elsevier.
See pp.35-36, which annotates Stearns' letter with results of the FOIAs and other data.

'Bradley said the university had failed to notify him of its decision, and described the split result as "an absurd decision" which would encourage GMU students to think it acceptable to copy work without attribution. Stearns said that "instead of allowing the university process to be completed", which had taken over two years, Bradley had openly discussed the plagiarism. The university was going to consider ways to make investigations more streamlined, and it was not investigating any other complaints about Wegman.'

See pp.39-40 on Retaliation. Stearns' statement is accurately quoted, but effectively impugns Bradley's reputation and is uncritically repeated in Wikipedia, without context. FOIAs revealed the timing and nature of delays (p.8-10). People might want to think hard about the wisdom of such in Wikipedia, in effect promoting the idea Bradley was at fault, but without a single RS that supports that.JohnMashey (talk) 22:04, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

While of course non-RS, this FOIA Facts blog series links to many relevant primary sources, among other things showing that Wegman and Said claimed credit for the Wegman Report for several Federal research grants, one from the Army Research Office for Internet analysis, and the other for an alcoholism-modeling postdoc. That was a small fraction of inappropriate work claimed, and yet more plagiarism is alleged.JohnMashey (talk) 21:48, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Wegman and Said Lawsuits 2014-2015[edit]

In case anyone comes back to edit this page, they might want to check Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, Milt Johns Sue John Mashey For $2 Million. Of course, as a blog, that's not RS, but it includes copies of various court records, and directions of how to get them if somebody wants to check. Of course, they are primary sources, which make them hard to use in Wikipedia, even of they are strong evidence in the real world. For instance, it is a fact that Wegman's complaint said what it did, although course that doesn't imply that what was said was true. For example, some were trivially false:

'7. In March of 2009, Defendant John Mashey, via the web blog performed an analysis of the Wegman Report that purported to show plagiarism by Wegman.’ False: Dec 2009, Deep Climate, not me.

8. In March of 2010, based on Mashey's writings, Raymond Bradley, of the University of Massachusetts, made a complaint to Said's employer, George Mason University, alleging plagiarism in the report from one of Bradley's textbooks.’ False, based on work of blogger Deep Climate.

9. Two different committees investigated the charges and no plagiarism was found. False, by FOIA JohnMashey (talk) 05:10, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

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