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Study: Hollywood-like dramatic style, not science content, brings citations to climate papers


One of the recent Phys.Org titles that I couldn’t overlook yesterday was

What makes influential science? Telling a good story

Assuming a common (non-scientific) definition of a story (and this is the definition they mean, as we will see later), this headline basically says that influential research papers should try to emulate the style of the demagogic pop-science writers who work to impress the stupidest readers in the population. Well, if that would be the case in a scientific discipline, the scientific discipline would surely be absolutely rotten – it would cease to be a genuine scientific discipline. It would be a pop-science superstition masquerading itself as science.

So I was curious what was hiding behind the headline – which discipline demanded researchers to resemble pop-science writers and why. Well, it wasn’t so hard to find the answer. The headline wasn’t supposed to apply to all of science, even though Phys.Org tried to create this impression. Instead, the Phys.Org article was promoting a PLOS ONE study whose title says

Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science (full PDF).

So it’s not really “science” that the Phys.Org article should have talked about. Instead, it is climate science. A big difference!

OK, what did the authors – Ann Hillier, Ryan P. Kelly, and Terrie Klinger (obviously climate alarmists themselves) – find? It’s truly damning for climatology.

They defined a quantity that reflects how good a paper is according to your eighth-grade teacher of writing, as Phys.Org helpfully said – something that measures how much they would like it at Hollywood. The quantity was named the “narrative index”. When you look at these charts from the paper, you will quickly see that the “narrative index” is a combination of some “virtues” that people doing comparative literature might be familiar with, namely with

setting, narrating perspective, sensory language, conjunctions, connectivity, appeal to reader.

These six quantities are evaluated in a certain way for each of the 732 climate change papers in their ensemble. They find a clear positive correlation between almost all these variables and the citation count of the climate change article.

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