Having published some hundreds of papers over decades and having been co-editors of Hydrological Sciences Journal (HSJ) for a long time (ZWK for 18 years, DK for 12 years), we have been interested in the peer-review system. Trying to diagnose its pathologies and suggest remedies, we have written several editorials published in HSJ (Kundzewicz and Koutsoyiannis, 2005, 2006; Koutsoyiannis and Kundzewicz, 2007, 2009). We also collaborated with editors of other hydrological journals and compiled joint editorials, published in several journals simultaneously (Blöschl et al., 2014; Koutsoyiannis et al., 2016; Quinn et al., 2018).
* Posts in English
My colleague and dear friend Mathios (Matthew, Matt) Karlaftis suddenly passed away on 4 June 2014 just before the opening of a conference in Kos, which he organized along with other professors of my School. Yesterday (7 June) I said a last goodbye to him. By a strange quirk of fate, the final meeting of the review committee for his promotion to the rank of full professor had been scheduled for the day before (6 June). I was a member of this committee, which convened according to the schedule and unanimously decided that he deserved the promotion. Instead of a tribute, here is what I said in the meeting of the review committee (which was international and thus the language was English).
Yesterday the final draft of the IPCC report:
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
has been made public. I have been a reviewer of it. I provided two reviews on its Chapter 2. I feel I can now make public my reviews. Till now I respected the confidentiality terms of IPCC, as I explained in my first review, but I also explained there that I would make my reviews public in due time.
My review on the first draft was made in August 2012 and that on the second draft in May 2013. However, while I publicize my own reviews today, the entire list of the review comments, from all reviewers, to the second draft have been leaked several months ago.
When you have dedicated most part of your professional life (and not only) to this university in this country you may find it quite interesting to hear the (former) prime minister of the country (the leader of a government which, among other heroic deeds, made a “reform” in universities), when talking to the parliament, to ascertain that the Greek university and its people are incompetent and corrupt. It is even more interesting to see an emerging consensus among prime ministers, ministers of education, other politicians and journalists, regarding the necessity to depreciate the Greek university.
Indeed, this depreciation was a presupposition to tear down the democratic organization of the university, in a country which is the cradle of democracy, and replace it with an unprecedented oligarchic system controlled by the political establishment. Some in the academic establishment also contributed to such depreciation and supported the government’s “reform”, with the apparent aim to gain power in the redistributed power game. In our university very few gave their support to the government publicly; however there were many more, particularly from a specific group, from which I divorced as soon as I understood the majority stance with respect to this “reform”.
In the last two years our university has had to struggle to survive the “reform”, accompanied by huge job cuts, in order to continue to operate as it did before, for the benefit of our students and our country.
It seems we did it quite well and this is also reflected in our international rankings. For second year in a series, the QS World University Rankings gives our school, the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) very good rankings: 28th in the world and 7th in Europe among civil engineering schools. Europe’s top thirteen civil engineering schools that rank among the top-50 of the world are shown in the figure below. Interestingly, a more detailed investigation reveals that among these thirteen only the NTUA and Karlsruhe schools do not have tuition fees; all others do.
As 2013 is approaching its end, I devoted some time on my annual accounts of several issues. One of these issues concerns the papers which I have published. It is a good yield: sixteen peer-reviewed papers (in journals), also counting those in press which will be published in 2014. Even without counting the latter, perhaps 2013 is the year with my record number of journal publications. I have thus reasons to celebrate.
But the reason I am writing this memo is not this. It is the fact that in 2013 I managed to publish several papers that were rejected earlier. It was the academic year 2011-12 which offered my record number of rejections, but rejections are painful in the beginning and it takes some time for the negative feelings to turn into positive. This time has passed and I feel I can now celebrate my record rejections.
Actually, I am proud for my rejected papers. Some of them are my top cited ones (in particular, the top #1, #3 and #6 in my current Google Scholar record). In my web site I have marked my rejected papers so they can easily be located. Also, in each one I publish on line the prehistory of rejections (reviews, rejection letters, rebuttals etc.).
Reposted from the CHy e-forum
In his “Note on Stationarity and Nonstationarity”, Lins (2012) neatly points out that the terms “stationarity” and “nonstationarity” are technical and need to be used according to their definition. He also reminds us of the rigorous definitions of these terms, which rely on probability theory and stochastic processes.
Misuse of scientific terms occurs frequently nowadays, and perhaps there are good reasons for such misuse. Take for instance the phrase “stationarity is dead” in the title of the article by Milly et al. (2008), referred to by Lins (2012). Do the authors really mean “dead”, that is, “no longer alive”, here? Well, “stationarity” is an abstract concept, not a material (let alone a living) object and, once it was devised, it could hardly be pronounced dead. To kill an abstract concept is difficult, like killing a ghost. For example one could kill the concept of stationarity, if one proved that the definition by Kendall and Stuart, which is copied in Lins (2012), is inconsistent. Of course, this is not the case in Milly et al. (2008). Certainly, the word “dead” dramatizes the message and the technical term “stationarity” makes the message more sophisticated. However, the real message is simpler, like “things are no longer static” Even in the latter phrase, “no longer” is misleading. In fact, we all know that things were never static. Thus, if we de-dramatize and correct the phrase, we will end up with “things are not static” or, more simply, “things change.”
(Reposted from Marcel Crok’s blog “De staat van het klimaat”)
I believe that science blogs have offered a very powerful means in scientific dialogue, which is a prerequisite of scientific progress. I have very positive personal experiences. In 2008, a poster paper in EGU, “Assessment of the reliability of climate predictions based on comparisons with historical time series”, was widely discussed at blogs and this was very useful to improve it and produce a peer-reviewed paper, “On the credibility of climate predictions” , which again was widely discussed at blogs. In the follow up paper, “A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data” we incorporated replies to the critiques we have seen in lots of blog comments.
The International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) has started a public discussion in order to shape its new Science Initiative for the next 10 years, to be launched in 2013. The following comment is reposted from the site dedicated to this discussion, coordinated by Alberto Montanari.