Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« The return of Secret Santa | Main | CEH distances itself from RSPB summary report »

University ethics

In yet another astonishing post at Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre reveals that the conclusions of the University of Western Australia's ethics inquiry into Stephan Lewandowsky were written by Lewandowsky himself:

Half an hour later (Oct 15 15:18; FOIT, 9), Lewandowsky replied by adding the sentences bolded below, which add the claim that the University had “considered” my claims and found them to be “baseless” and that his research had been “conducted in compliance with all applicable ethical guidelines”...

Moreover, as Lucia Liljegren notes on Twitter, the university announced that they had held an inquiry that exonerated Lewandowsky, when in fact they had done nothing of the sort.

And apparently there is worse to come.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (75)

They will "DENY" it of course

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom O'Connor

Are there no depths to which they won't stoop? This doesn't say much for the integrity of the RS.

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:13 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

They won't 'deny' it...they will 'ignore' it. Who is going to do anything about it?

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

You CANNOT make this sh1t up!

Given Steve's thoroughness Id be surprised if he has got this wrong. If he has got this right then all that bleating over at the Guardian about Lew being cleared will be exactly that...just little puppy dogs barking at the moon.



Mar 24, 2014 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Lewandowsky can adopt the motto of crooked politicians everywhere, when they have (to date) skated past any legal consequences for their misdeeds:

"Never been indicted"

This was the motto of Chris Huhne until just a couple of years ago.

Lew had better hope he can avoid the current fate of Michael Mann's protector, academic sexologist Graham Spanier:

Penn State's ex-President Graham Spanier, under legal indictment

"indictment ... on charges of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice in the Sandusky sex abuse case."

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:57 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

"This doesn't say much for the integrity of the RS."

What does?
Tamsin Edwards (or other interested Bristol Alumni) - if you still read here, please will you flag up Steve's article for info to Bristol's Legal Dept? IMO it is likely Lewandowsky will be in breach of University policy wrt their Rules of Conduct - at the very least for bringing them into disrepute for hiring him.

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

#Lewgate is spreading on Twitter - and @BristolUni are in the loop.

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:05 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Lewandowsky wrote (Oct 15 15:18; FOIT, 9)

I believe I forwarded that individual’s letter [McIntyre] to you over the weekend, and it would be important to clarify that all his objections were found to be baseless or unsubstantiated. Otherwise he will keep gnawing away at this-as he has on another paper that wasn’t to his liking for 14 (!)years.

People continually underestimate Steve McIntyre's tenacity and perseverance. What he writes about is something that needs to be exposed, though not something I relish reading. Not only because I don't like to gloat over other's failings, but because I have just spent a couple of hours looking at the data behind the LOG13 data, like I did 18 months ago for LOG12. Any conclusions will quickly become irrelevant if the UWA acts to uphold its reputation as a place of learning.

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Steve McIntyre is one amazingly dogged man. It's astonishing what he unearths.

As for Lew' what point does exonerating yourself - but conveniently not acknowledging such a strange turn of events, become 'fraud', malfeasance in a public position, etc etc? The man has no shame.

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered


I work at an institution which takes ethics very seriously. Anything involving human subjects, even willing participants, gets a full review. The system works on a “traffic light” basis- any “red lights” mean full review by the faculty ethical panel.

This is not a “light touch” system.

From what I have read about this criminally negligent whitewash at UWA heads must roll, up to and including UWA Deputy Vice Chancellor Robyn Owens.

I trust an official complaint is being written?

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

She's the Ethics Girl - I believe.

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:24 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I did not know that "WHAT LYSENKO SPAWNED" is now paid with UK tax ponzidollars ?
And paid handsomely to profile and insult people.

I know "education" , or "being educated themselves somehow" is not in the least their interest, but is it in the remit of UK universities now to insult taxpayers??

If there are "climate deniers" it is the warmish who DENY the existence of LIA and MWP for very obvious reasons: their little thieving scam risks being exposed when it would appear to more people that climate has been varying (in say 150y windows) for the last 10000 years MORE than it has in the last 150y.

Who is the sheer imbecile to draw in characters like this into Bristol University. It cannot be someone who is very interested in science, rigour or civility?

Mar 24, 2014 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Just checked Dana 97% Guardian blog thread where he,and his good buddies are pushing the line that Dr Lew was ethically sound, factually perfect but let down by cowardly journalists.
There's two posts (PythMontagne -23rd March 23:51and UnripeWatermelon -21:51) pointing out the SMc post.
What's the bet that these posts will fall foul of Community rules?
For posterity:PythMontagne
24 Mar 2014 23:51

Guardian Pick
McIntyre just dropped another bomb on Lewandowsky and it's a beaut:


24 Mar 2014 21:51

Guardian Pick
Here's an update - Lewandowsky Ghost-wrote Conclusions of UWA Ethics Investigation into “Hoax”.

You're never going to convince the general pulic by lying and fudging the data all the time. It's no wonder why scepticism is constantly increasing and "global warming" is considered a non-issue

Mar 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR



Peter Gleick, Michael Mann, Stephan Lewandowsky, Phil Jones, Lord Oxburgh, Muir Russell, John Cook et al.

etc. etc. etc.

Can there be any descent into shameless self-aggrandizing ***deceit*** which will shock the consciences of their fellow Alarmists??

Is there anything out of bounds for such people???

When will their fervent allies begin to realize that such charlatans are indeed bad for "The Cause"???

Mar 25, 2014 at 12:26 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Bristol are likely going to rue the day somebody suggested they import Lew

- now then...

I wonder whose idea it was ...

Looks like squeakybum time + side order of schadenfreude

Mar 25, 2014 at 12:47 AM | Registered Commentertomo

We don't know the outcome and won't be invited to the meetings, but you can bet that the senior folks at Bristol University will be spending some considerable time at figuring out how to do damage control and reviewing the chain of events that led to Lewandowski';s hiring!

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Lewandowsky should be nominated to hold the Peter Gleick seat of scientific ethics.

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Yes - "worse is to come". I bet someone, somewhere, has a squeaky bum ...

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

26 April 2013

The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has announced the appointment of 27 new Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holders.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

The newly appointed award holders are working on a wide range of project topics including the use of personalised genome data for cancer treatment, climate tipping points, and the exploration of Mars.

The full list of appointments is as follows:


Professor Stephan Lewandowsky – University of Bristol

"The (mis)information revolution: Information seeking and knowledge transmission"

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Professor Lewandowsky receives the award for his project entitled ‘The (mis)information revolution: information seeking and knowledge transmission’, which addresses how people navigate the blizzard of information with which we are faced on a daily basis, not all of which is accurate or truthful. The project emphasises how people update their memories and under what conditions they are able to discount information that turns out to be false. The project also examines how people interact with, and influence, each other to understand how information spreads through a society.

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:35 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Iirc, Mr Lewandowsky has only recently become attached to Bristol and one wonders if Oz just let him go or was he pushed ?...

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterLucina

the person responsible for this waste of taxshekels should be pippetted out of the cosy nannystate office he/she were to be lurching in and must be held accountable. He/She might be flying, note, it is crucial to quickly check all the 1st class seats bookings on BA. Such chars tend to , cough, fly around a lot.

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

University home > Experimental Psychology > Courses and programmes > Why choose Bristol?

Finding expertise and knowledge:

Staff are diverse in backgrounds and experience, but united in their meticulous, astute and inspired approach to scientific enquiry.

Mar 25, 2014 at 1:50 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

What a study in hypocrisy by the Australian University system. They go out of their way to allow, abet, and then cover up the acts of an CAGW advocate while , in the case of Professor Murry Salby, they hang him out to dry because he wants to publish information that undermines the very basis of CAGW hype.

Mar 25, 2014 at 2:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDMA

Never expect a university with ivy on the walls to change its ways. UWA is the oldest uni in West Australia, and is now 5th in size and standing because of its fossilized attitudes. They will never admit any error, and will never practice openness.

Mar 25, 2014 at 2:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterVelcro

Ptw: what an amazing anagram – surely it is a little too coincidental?

If I remember my history lessons, there was a time when the peasants were deliberately kept ignorant, so that the rulers could have proper control over them. I am getting the feeling that the same thinking is percolating through the “ruling classes” now, as the levels of education seem to be descending ever downwards. I have been involved in a form of education (aka “training”) in my own profession; once, the trainee was avid to learn anything and everything about the job; now, I am more likely to get the response, “What do I need to learn that for?”

Mar 25, 2014 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Anthony Watts has a blog post asking for nominations for "Climate Duplicitist of the Year" Award.

Mar 25, 2014 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Mmmm what does this say about how universities carry out checks on the ethical background of research? People take these things on trust. This issue could have some significant repercussions.

Mar 25, 2014 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

For those most conversant with all of the details of Lewgate (which I am not): it could be interesting to analyze how Lewandowsky's behaviors do or do not conform to the letter and spirit of his new employer's research ethics policies, the University of Bristol.... also in comparison to prevailing research ethics standards at UK universities in general, and any national rules and guidelines about research in the UK.

The argument would not be that he could be 'formally' judged by the requirements of an institution which he had not yet joined, but rather that it should be disturbing both internally and externally if Bristol turns out to have hired a researcher whose prior work does not meet its minimum standards.

For instance, there is this document online:

University of Bristol doc. on Ethics of Research Policy and Procedure

There seem to be a variety of ways in which Lewandowsky's past behaviors would have been dubious under the stated standards at Bristol. Again, not that Lewandowsky is in peril with Bristol in some 'formal' sense, but rather that Bristol officials and faculty should be embarrassed and dismayed if they have hired someone who in the past failed to meet their professed standards.

[this comment cross-posted at Climate Audit]

Mar 25, 2014 at 3:50 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Brief biographical sketch

I completed my undergraduate studies at Washington College, Chestertown, MD, USA, in 1980. I then did my post-graduate training at the University of Toronto, earning a PhD in 1985. After various stints as a research fellow, I took up my first full-time academic post at the University of Oklahoma in 1990. In 1995, I moved to the University of Western Australia where I remained until taking up a position as Professor at the University of Bristol in 2013. I have retained an association with the University of Western Australia that allows me to move my research operations to the UK gradually and without interruption to my research.

Mar 25, 2014 at 4:40 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Since the title of the post is ,more generally, University Ethics, I trust I am not too far OT recommending "The Case of the Stolen Words" by Harold "Skip" Gardener in the March 2014 Issue of Scientific American. Yes, I know, "Scientific American"??. but swallow hard and read the article. It is very interesting and rather scary and, indirectly, quite relevant!

Mar 25, 2014 at 6:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarclay E MacDonald


To get to the bottom of the issues it may be necessary to go around or over the head of Robyn Owens. “The Human Research Ethics Committee is a Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee that is responsible to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research)”. See

Mar 25, 2014 at 6:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

I believe there's a thousand gallons of whitewash on its way to Bristol from the stores at UEA...

Mar 25, 2014 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyRusk

Not sure what the fuss is about , this all just normal practice in climate 'science' , remember how CRU carried out their 'investigation' , then there was Mr ethics Gleck and of course the start player, 'facts are what I want them to be ' Mann

Of course in any other area this would be unacceptable and a joke but their 'saving the planet ' so its all OK.

Mar 25, 2014 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Anyone who has complained to the BBC about programme content will know the the BBC gets the programme maker and production team to investigate and reply that everything was accurate and above board.

Mar 25, 2014 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

Steve McIntyre states;

Today’s note pertains only to the ethics approval of Hoax. The circumstances surrounding the ethics application for Fury are much worse and will be discussed separately.

We wait to find out if Lewandowsky is a scientist or a serial propagandist. If the latter then at what point in his career did the diversion occur?

Events in the run-up to June could be interesting and you can get your ticket here;

Mar 25, 2014 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

I think it's a waste of time complaining to Bristol as your complaint will be ignored as nothing more than the ravings of a climate denier and just another orchestrated smear campaign and, worst of all, evidence that Lews conspiracy paper was bang on the money.


Mar 25, 2014 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Considering Prof Chris Turkey of 'ship of fools' fame get an award for scientific excellence from the Australian Acadamy of Science upon his return from Antarctica could it mean that Lewandowsky is up for an award too? Afterall giving an award saves on whitewash and so must be good for the environment / climate?

Mar 25, 2014 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

The procedures followed in this "investigation" of academic conduct are so similar to the earlier cases of Jones and Mann that one could reasonably ask if this is normal for universities in general or just climate scientists?

It appears that the response to questions about someone's research is simply to ask the person in question to write their own exoneration. Which they do, while whining about how it's keeping them from their valuable work.

Mar 25, 2014 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

A story of our and the times, academia goes to the dogs and where the curs are now writing papers and call it 'academic research', "University ethics"?......................... cue ribald and unrestrained laughter.

Lew saw an opportunity, a chance to prove his usefulness and not before time because even in Western Australia they were beginning to wonder what he was for. On one very hot day when he was praying to the Freemantle doctor he said to himself and as what remained of his cerebral faculty was again beginning to boil over, "hmm how can I hitch a lift on the Climate change gravy train, seems to me that's where the kudos and dosh is at!"

Reams upon reams of specious words and hundreds of years of man hours wasted on the poppycock of bogus research, gives up such as this, '‘NASA Faked the Moon Landing-Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science’.

Ah you know and more stuff like it but written in the same amateurish academic argot of psycho-babble gobbledegook.

UWA, what a joke you all are - dingoes playing at academics and as for Bristol Uni - once an august institution of rigour and of empiricism: shame, shame on the lot of you.

Mar 25, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The UWA Convocation (alumni association) has struck a blow against Lew:

Business arising

At the First Ordinary Meeting of Convocation held on 20th
March 2013, a member of Convocation, Mr Michael Kile,
indicated that he was still awaiting response on a query
he had raised at the Second Ordinary Meeting held in 21st
September 2012. This query related to the use of the UWA
logo on a website Shaping Tomorrow’s World.
As Adjunct Professor Kerr was unaware of this query,
following the First Ordinary Meeting where he was officially
elected the Warden of Convocation, Adjunct Professor Kerr
immediately contacted Mr Kile to ascertain the background
to the query. He had then facilitated a response from the
University’s Acting Director of Public Affairs, Ms Janine
MacDonald who advised that since the website was not
a UWA website, nor was the University an associated
affiliation, she would be contacting those who were
responsible for the website to advise them that the UWA
logo and references of affiliation with UWA should be
removed from the website.

More "ethical" behaviour from Lew, who has tried to misrepresent the University's association with his grubby little website.

Mar 25, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

you can bet that the senior folks at Bristol University will be spending some considerable time at figuring out how to do damage control

I do wonder (rather often) if we're all sitting in this nice little bubble of sceptical information that is completely unconnected to the rest of the world. I have a horrible suspicion that the senior folks at Bristol University will not be spending an iota of time on this, will probably be completely unware that the issue exists at all, and likely have 'people' to filter out all this noise so they can concentrate on what they (or their people) consider important issues.

Mar 25, 2014 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk


Thanks for that hint. I was unaware of;

which throws some light on the suspicions of Lewandowski's motives.

From climate change to peak oil and food insecurity, our societies are confronted with many serious challenges that, if left unresolved, will threaten the well-being of present and future generations, and the natural world.

Looks like he has fallen into the peak oil and population control camp too.

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Please do not assume that those individuals are guided by the same ethical standards to which we subscribe.
Well, he certainly got that bit right! Could go down as joke of the week!

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:17 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Why all the fuss? The University of Western Australia turned to the world's greatest expert on Lewandowsky's behaviour; namely Lewandowsky himself. The verdict came straight out of the horse's mouth.

If only the various enquiries into "climate gate" had been equally rigorous we could have much more confidence in the work of climate scientists in general, couldn't we?

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Mar 24, 2014 at 10:57 PM | not banned yet

Consistent with my policy of keeping the relevant people at Bristol informed (Lewy's boss. the VC and the VC's PA), I have emailed them the link to Steve M's article, and included the first three paras of it. At least, if the shit does hit the fan for Lewy, they won't be able to hide behind a veil of ignorance.

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:43 AM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

I wonder who wrote the conclusions of the Frontiers in Psychology inquiry, that found that "This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study".

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

On 03/07/2013 11:05, David Alder wrote:
> Dear Mr Poynton
> Thank you for your recent email which was forwarded to me. The University has no reason do doubt the credibility of Professor Lewandosky's research. We recognise that some areas of research will not always attract positive comment, but this does not diminish the value of the research in our opinion. As you point out, the University is of high repute and we take the quality of our research most seriously and we have no reason to doubt the quality of Professor Lewandowsky's research.
> With best wishes
> David Alder
> David Alder
> Director of Marketing & Communications
> University of Bristol
> Senate House, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TH
> Tel: +44 (0)117 928 8867 (office); +44 (0)7748 337172 (mobile)
> email:
> twitter: @davidalde

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

jeremypoynton and johanna

Perhaps the Convocation of the University of Bristol might like to take an interest in Lew's behaviour...............

Mar 25, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

'And apparently there is worse to come.'


Mar 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>