The Dismantling Of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wagner

This being a blog of “unusual takes”, there won’t be much discussion about the self-immolation of a journal’s Editor for a paper that couldn’t be retracted. I also presume the average reader won’t need links to WUWT or Real-Science or the Bish’s blog to know about the aforementioned self-immolation.

The irony of History being impossible to exhaust, however, some public details about Prof Dr Wolfgang Wagner (“Wolfgang” in the rest of this post) do leave mouths open in bewilderment and amusement. For example clean-shaven Wolfgang declared in July 2010 that he was trying to get “a Lead role in the European Space Agency’s Climate Change initiative” in order to “see how soil moisture changes over a long time“. The declaration came during a Living Planet Symposium organized by ESA in Bergen, Norway, five days with “over 1,000 scientists” discussing the “latest findings”. Focus of the Symposium? Environment and climate. And among the members of the Scientific Committee of the Symposium? Wolfgang!

So he mustn’t have been your average climate-change-debate-unaware Editor, our Wolfgang, really.

A few months earlier in 2009 the same Wolfgang was also happily celebrating his being the “Editor-in-Chief of the new Open Access Journal “Remote Sensing”. Why? Oh, the irony!!!:

Remote Sensing journal is an Open Access journal and an online journal, with the Editorial Office located in Basel. It maintains a rapid editorial procedure and a rigorous peer-review system. Because it is an open access journal, papers published will receive very high publicity. The Remote Sensing Editorial team consists of trained scientists (Publisher: Dr. Shu-Kun Lin, PhD in Organic Chemistry from the ETH Zürich, and the Production Editor: Dr. Derek McPhee, California, USA)

Yes, that’s what he wrote: PAPERS PUBLISHED [ON “REMOTE SENSING”] WILL RECEIVE H-I-G-H P-U-B-L-I-C-I-T-Y. Well it sounds silly to protest against that same publicity in your resignation letter, doesn’t it Wolfgang?

Of course it doesn’t stop there. On 3 April 2011, Wolfgang was busy welcoming people to a workshop “WACMOS feedback to science community and water cycle roadmap in a changing climate“. Theme number 2 of 4? “Clouds“. Yeah, right…meanwhile in Feb 2010, the very Institute directed by Wolfgang since 2006 announced the establishment of the “International Soil Moisture Network“. With a key weak point, unfortunately:

The success of the International Soil Moisture Network will be based on the voluntary contributions of scientists and networks from around the world. With this announcement we call upon the scientific community to support this worthwhile initiative. We hope that many more networks are willing to contribute.

One has to wonder if there was any hint of reduction in voluntary contributions, or just a sudden lack of willingness to contribute, unless Wolfgang killed his Remote Sensing position? After all, the news appeared alongside the announcement of a new Chairman of the GEWEX Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Scientific Steering Group (some Kevin E. Trenberth).

Some “Kevin”, indeed..no wonder there’s been apologies. Alas, they weren’t enough to stop Remote Sensing from getting trivialized by the same Kevin, as noted by Pielke Sr.

Sic transit gloria Wolfgangi. And good luck with whomever will ever publish a singe paper with Wolfgang as editor.

ps yes, it is much easier to respect somebody when they don’t throw to the wolves a good chunk of their work, in this case, a whole new Journal.