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How rapid-response works

Filed under: — group @ 24 February 2005

Nature this week published a letter from Dr. Huang (U. Mich) highlighting how this ‘brave new world’ of science blogging works. He writes:

I was concerned to find that … [a figure] included an outdated and erroneous reconstruction of borehole data. … In my view, the website should have used a later version … To be fair, the authors of the website added a correction after I drew their attention to this.

In an early post, we used a figure that contained a minor error regarding how a borehole temperature reconstruction had been scaled. This mistake had been properly corrected in the literature, and so this was indeed an oversight on our part. Dr Huang was kind enough to remind us of this and we amended the caption immediately to point this out and direct readers to the correction should they be interested. Since this mistake was not central to the point being made in the post, we left the original figure in place.

The Internet is nothing if not flexible, and unlike in journals where mistakes can persist an awfully long time, we are able to correct such problems very quickly. In this respect, Dr. Huang’s letter seems to indicate that things are actually working quite well here.

We would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate our commitment to getting the science right, and as importantly, getting it right in real-time. We welcome all corrections or clarifications and we will endeavour to fix any errors, great or small, as quickly as we can.


2 Responses to “How rapid-response works”

  1. 1
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    It seems to me that the writer of the letter to Nature dwells counterproductively on what might well be called an uninteresting mistake that makes only a mild difference — and that was quickly corrected anyway. Of course the RealClimate scientists should strive for absolutely perfect accuracy. But it’s also true that they must respond in real time within the media discussion, which surely means this will not be their last technical flaw. Sometimes some scientists forget — and a few scientists never even perceive — the point when it comes to engaging society at large. The point for RealClimate, according to Nature’s editors in their “Welcome climate bloggers” editorial (23/30 December 2004), is “to change the media coverage of their discipline.” In my view that’s not something other scientists should be nitpicking. It’s something scientists in all disciplines should be emulating.

  2. 2
    James B. Shearer says:

    So when is the post on stratosphere cooling (12/7) going to get fixed? The “correction” (1/14) is still not right.

    [Response: Done. Possibly still not to your satisfaction though….-gavin]