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FAQ - Citizens Audit the UN's Climate Report

see also this great How-To Guide, which includes examples

How can I tell if a reference is from a peer-reviewed publication?

If the reference is to a journal, then it counts as peer-reviewed literature. The question of whether journal X is reputable is not relevant in this context.

Science and Nature are prominent scientific journals. Others journals have names such as:

  • Geophysical Research Letters
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles
  • Atmospheric Research

The structure of a reference provides a big clue as to its nature. If a volume number is mentioned (for example: 60), or if the page numbers of the article look something like this: 68316864 or this: 601612 then there's a good chance this is an ongoing publication rather than a one-off report.

What are some examples of grey literature?

We've been told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies solely on material that has been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Anything that doesn't meet this criteria, therefore, is considered grey literature for these purposes. Some obvious examples are:

  • books or chapter in books
  • other IPCC documents
  • reports by government bodies (such as the EU or the EPA)
  • reports by companies
  • reports by organizations such as the World Bank, the UN, or the OECD
  • reports by groups such as Greenpeace or the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  • student theses
  • newspaper articles
  • reports by institutes, commissions, and think tanks
  • working papers
  • conference proceedings

What if I'm not sure?

No problem. Just use a different colour of highlighting to flag the references you aren't sure how to categorize. Someone else can then take a look and, perhaps after a bit of research, make a determination.




>> Help audit the UN climate report - crowdsourcing project
>> Sample audited chapter (Word document converted to HTML)
>> Citizen auditors list
>> How-To guide

>> The great peer-review fairy tale
>> Almost half non-peer-reviewed
>> More dodgy citations in the Nobel-winning climate report
>> Yes Virginia, the climate bible relies on newspaper clippings
>> Greenpeace and the Nobel-winning climate report

[last edit: Mar. 2010]