Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Call for Comments: Responsibilities and Rights of Scientists

The American Geophysical Union urges members to comment soon on the organization's new draft position statement about scientists' responsibilities and rights and the integrity of the scientific process.


At the request of its Position Statement Task Force, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) assembled a panel of experts to craft a statement on the integrity of the scientific process and the responsibilities and rights of scientists. An AGU member suggested this topic  through the organization’s position statement proposal process. AGU has not previously addressed this topic in a position statement, although the AGU Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics policy was adopted in 2013.

Click here to access the draft statement and an online form in which to provide comments. AGU asks its members to comment on the draft during the next 30 days. The panel will review those comments before preparing a final version of the statement.

The comment period closes on 1 November 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

AGU position statements relate the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences to relevant public policy. AGU encourages members to use the organization’s position statements to help communicate with stakeholders about important topics pertinent to its sciences. A list of current AGU position statements resides on the AGU Position Statements and Letters Web page.

Panel members for this position statement are Scott Mandia (chair), Michel Campillo, Jasmine Crumsey, Clinton Foster, Linda Gunderson, Rob Jackson, Susan Kieffer, Jerry Miller, Michael Oppenheimer, and Karen Wayland.

—Elizabeth Landau, Public Affairs Manager, AGU; email: [email protected]

Citation: Landau, E. (2016), Call for comments: Responsibilities and rights of scientists, Eos, 97, Published on 03 October 2016.
© 2016. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
  • Apologies for incorrect email to David Liang. It should be: [email protected].

  • MatherZ

    “Rights and Responsibilities”?

    How about I agree to take on responsibilities when we scientists are guaranteed some rights first?
    I completely agree with the “Conduct Of Science” section (and the others), because:
    1.1 implies that if I’m good enough to do the work, then being forced to endure onerous grant application processes with 10% success rates is an undue burden, considering that if I’m not in that 10%, then I can’t do the work;
    1.2 implies that for-profit publishers shouldn’t be able to charge for publication or unilaterally declare copyright ownership, especially over government-funded research;
    1.3 implies that there should be some sort of universally-accepted and -understood guidelines for, for example, achieving tenure status or promotion;
    1.4 implies that to get a “hearing before peers”, that there’s going to be some sort of organization where these “juries” will be summoned to decide whether an accused researcher did something that was truly out of bounds.
    All of which, I think, is great!

    We’re not martyrs, at least we shouldn’t be, though everyone seems pretty happy to cultivate the idea of scientists fulfilling some sort of spiritual calling for the good of humanity. How about recognising that we’re just wanting to be able to do a job that we’ve worked very hard to become good at, and to do it without having to jump through hoops that wouldn’t be accepted in any other trade?

    So before I take on the burden of responsibilities, whether imposed externally or internally, I’d like to hear how these rights are going to be enforced if I’m ever deprived of them.

    -AGU Member since 2002

  • Are you two even scientist’s? This isn’t the climate change page. Go bother someone else.

  • davidlaing

    I absolutely agree. Climate science is a case in point, where much elaborate greenhouse warming theory has been developed without empirical data to back it up (absorption characteristics of CO2 have been extensively documented in the HITRAN database, but this says nothing about CO2 actually causing warming). A search of over 10,000 climate-related papers has revealed that only one actual experiment was performed to test the theory (Angstrom, 1900 and his results were negative), yet the climate science community is taking the supposition that CO2 causes global warming as established fact, even though the empirical evidence for this is lacking. My own empirical research with month-to-month variability of CO2 and temperature in the northern hemisphere (n.h.) shows that during the period 1975 to 1998, when global temperature shot up by almost a degree Centigrade, shows that n.h. CO2 concentration peaked in May, whereas n.h. temperature (NOAA) peaked in March, two months earlier, i.e., a causal relationship is not possible. Ozone depletion in the n.h. (Arosa), however, also peaks in March, making it a viable candidate for warming. I could not get this significant research published because it refutes the dominant warming paradigm. I am therefore reduced to submitting my results to key people via email. If interested, send me an email address, and I’ll include you in the discussion. IMHO, this is scientific protectionism at its worst.

    • Dear DavidLaing:

      I would be most interested in seeing your results. [email protected].
      I have some interest in all non-anthropogenic sources of CO2, particularly from submarine volcanism.

      Kid regards, Bil.

      • davidlaing

        Sending you an email.

  • Richard Cronin

    In his 1961 farewell address, where Dwight Eisenhower gave us the term “Military Industrial Complex”, he also gravely warned about us about the corruption of science due to government grant funding. Academia slavishly grovels before the selective political agendas of the grant-funding agencies. Peer review is the “buddy system” and scientific papers are published with no original observations, only references to other flawed papers. Terrence M. Gerlach’s paper “Present-day CO2 emissions from volcanoes” ( 4-June -1991) is a case in point, where he completely dismisses submarine volcanoes, claiming “Mt. Etna alone is about the equivalent to that of the entire mid-oceanic ridge system.” Oregon State University Dept. of Geology now estimates that there are one (1) million submarine volcanoes. This excludes ridges, rifts, faults, hydrothermal vents, fumaroles, and deep canyons. JK Hillier and AB Watts published 6-July-2007 : “Global Distribution of Seamount Volcanoes from Ship-track Bathymetry Data.” They estimate that the global number of submarine volcanoes extending one (1) km or more above the ocean floor number around 65,000. Gerlach doubled down on his nonsensical claims in 2011; again with no observations of his own. Even James Lovelock, the Father of the “Green” Agenda, has turned his back on the “Climate Change Religion”. “Mainstream science” is entirely broken. This is why so many in the American public are hostile to academia and the pseudo-scientists therein. Dr. J. Marvin Herndon is controversial and entirely condemned by “mainstream science”. He also has a plan to honestly confront the failures of institutionalized science.