Sunday, 1 February 2009

More new names

I decided to track down the list of people profiled by the National Post's columnist Lawrence Solomon in his series "The Deniers" (which he also released in book form.)

I found the series headings listed on the site Urban Renaissance, though only the headline, date, and first sentence or so. The full text articles linked there are paywalled and I was not inclined to pay-per-view, so I just transcribed the headlines and the dates for reference. Fortunately, UofT has an electronic subscription to the Post, so I was able to view back issues by date, then locate the columns by their headlines. This allowed me to match up who was profiled on what date.
There were 37 people covered. Of these, at least five were so far from being climate skeptics that I felt they have to be bracketed out as objects of Solomon's tendency to get some quotes and then launch off on his own "unique" interpretation, generally consisting of savaging the IPCC.
I've added a notation "LSDeniers" in the notes column for all 37 names; I added to my list the half-dozen or so names I had not found previously and gathered their stats and homepages. Of these, a number are actually well-cited climate scientists who have no patience for Solomon's spin on their views. Nigel O. Weiss of Cambridge reacted so sharply to Solomon's write-up that he compelled the Post to issue a retraction. Poor Dr. Carl Wunsch has been subject to this treatment twice - once by Solomon then again by Martin Durkin in TGGWS.

This got me to catch up on gathering stats for a few very prominent "skeptics", notably Freeman Dyson, who now sits at #22, the highest-ranked author to have signed a skeptics' declaration (three in fact). Also economist William Nordhaus, profiled by Solomon and an outspoken critic of Nicholas Stern's report on climate impact and mitigation economics, now sits at #20. It's rather apples-to-oranges to rank citations for an economist against climate scientists, but oh well.

Update: 2009-11-21: I was interviewed on CBC Radio's The Current (archived here with link to mp3 podcast) in connection with their coverage of James Hoggan's new book Climate Cover-up, and Lawrence Solomon was on after me. Checking back to this post on his Deniers series, I found the Urban-Rennaissance site closed down and was apparently merged into that of Energy Probe, of which Lawrence Solomon is Executive Director. Here is a new, live link into their open access archive of The Deniers column series. Use the page number navigation buttons to move through the series. (Other columns by Solomon are also linked via these pages.) End update

Meanwhile, there's a new name at #1, David Tilman of UMinnesota, with an unsurpassed 1007 citations to his fourth-most-cited work. I looked him up on Scopus, and they give him an h-index score of 49.

Also, I re-checked some stats of names I'd added a long time ago, and a few showed up as severely undercounted - likely a case of my having left some added search term in rather than getting the stats on the "all" setting. Most noticeable here is Dr. James Hansen of NASA GISS, who had been languishing, implausibly, at #131. It turns out I had under-scored him quite badly - I missed several more highly cited papers. My excuse: there is another James E Hansen who is very widely cited in medical research, so it takes a bit of filtering to make sure I've got *this* James E Hansen's top four papers. I'm more confident I got the stats straight this time. Now he is at #7, which makes more sense knowing his prominence in the literature (as well as the media - though they can certainly also hype people with picayune credentials.)

I don't know if I'll bother to collect h-index rankings for everyone - just so much more clerical work. I've done a few names as a sampling process. No big inconsistencies between that and my home-rolled ranking method so far.

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