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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-4-451-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-4-451-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  03 May 2013

03 May 2013

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This preprint was under review for the journal ESD but the revision was not accepted.

Agnotology: learning from mistakes

R. E. Benestad1, H. O. Hygen1, R. van Dorland2, J. Cook3, and D. Nuccitelli4 R. E. Benestad et al.
  • 1The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway
  • 2The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, The Netherlands
  • 3Global Change Institute, the University of Queensland, Australia
  • 4Tetra Tech, Inc., McClellan, California, USA

Abstract. Replication is an important part of science, and by repeating past analyses, we show that a number of papers in the scientific literature contain severe methodological flaws which can easily be identified through simple tests and demonstrations. In many cases, shortcomings are related to a lack of robustness, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather an artifact of a particular experimental set-up. Some examples presented here have ignored data that do not fit the conclusions, and in several other cases, inappropriate statistical methods have been adopted or conclusions have been based on misconceived physics. These papers may serve as educational case studies for why certain analytical approaches sometimes are unsuitable in providing reliable answers. They also highlight the merit of replication. A lack of common replication has repercussions for the quality of the scientific literature, and may be a reason why some controversial questions remain unanswered even when ignorance could be reduced. Agnotology is the study of such ignorance. A free and open-source software is provided for demonstration purposes.

R. E. Benestad et al.

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R. E. Benestad et al.

R. E. Benestad et al.

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