Consensus study most downloaded paper in all Institute of Physics journals
Posted on 14 October 2013 by John Cook
In April, Skeptical Science readers became part of a landmark citizen science project when you helped crowd-fund $1,600 to make our consensus paper freely available to the public. It took just 9 hours for the crowd-funding to raise the required funds (apologies to the SkS readers who missed out on the opportunity to donate). Thanks in part to your contribution, the Consensus Project has gone on to make a significant impact. Within 24 hours, our paper was tweeted by President Obama's Twitter account and received mainstream media coverage in countries all over the world:
Figure 1: Mainstream media coverage of Cook et al. (2013).
Most downloaded paper in all Institute of Physics journals
This week, the number of downloads of our paper passed 100,000. To put this number in perspective, the previously most downloaded paper in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) has been downloaded 60,000 times. In addition to ERL, the Institute of Physics publish over 70 peer-reviewed science journals. Over the last week, Cook et al. (2013) became the most downloaded paper in all Institute of Physics journals (this paper is second).
Top 5% of all scholarly papers by online buzz
Altmetric measures online buzz around scholarly articles, such as coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Reddit. Cook et al. (2013) is ranked in the top 1% of all papers published around the same time, and the top 5% of all scholarly papers published. Of course, there are some limitations to this metric. As I explain in my public talk about our paper, only recent papers are likely to be ranked. Unfortunately, there was noone around when John Tyndall discovered greenhouse gases in the 1850s tweeting "OMG, Tyndall's discovered GHGs!" Conversely, they only seem to count social media mentions linking directly to the ERL website so Obama's tweet linking to the Reuters article (and subsequent 2,610 retweets) wouldn't have counted.
Cited in wide range of journals
Although it's been less than 5 months since our paper was published, Cook et al. (2013) has already been cited in a number of peer-reviewed journals. However, what is striking is not the number of citations but the diversity of journals in which the citations appear. As well as two papers in Environmental Research Letters, our paper is cited in:
- Australian Historical Studies
- Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy
- Earth Common Journal
- European Journal of Media Studies
- Human Development and Capability Association's Annual International Conference
- Michigan Journal of Sustainability
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B
When we released The Consensus Project, we also launched an interactive rating system encouraging everyone to replicate our research by rating the abstracts and comparing their ratings to ours (that system is still available and I encourage everyone to give it a try). We have also released the following data:
- Details of each paper and ratings based on the papers’ abstract (Year, Paper Title, Journal, Authors, Category rating (based on abstract), Endorsement level (based on abstract))
- Ratings by the authors of the papers (Year, Abstract Endorsement Level, Self-Rated Endorsement Level)
- First and second ratings by our team. Ratings are ordered sequentially. E.g., in order that original ratings were made (Article Id #, Original endorsement rating, Original category rating, Endorsement rating after consultation stage, Category rating after consultation stage)
- Data of 1000 "no position" abstracts that were reexamined for expressions of uncertainty about AGW (Article Id #, Expression of uncertainty on AGW. 0 = no position expressed on AGW. 1 = expression of uncertainty)
- The survey protocol used by the rating team
- All the articles listed by Id number (Article Id #, Year of Publication and Paper Title)
We have released a number of infographics regarding our consensus research and scientific consensus in general. Here are several new graphics, which are creative commons licenced and freely available for anyone to republish. Click on each graphic to be taken to the graphic page where a 1024 x 768 pixel version is available:
So again, this is another big thank-you to Skeptical Science readers for your contribution to The Consensus Project. It mustn't be forgotten that there is a huge gap between the 97% scientific consensus and public perception (a survey of Americans found the public think only 55% of climate scientists agree on human-caused global warming). This "consensus gap" is a significant contributor to the lack of public support for meaningful policy to mitigate climate change. Thanks to your contribution, we've made a significant stride towards closing the consensus gap.