How papers were categorised

Skeptical Science takes a different approach to Naomi Oreskes' Science paper who sorted her papers into "explicit endorsement of the consensus position", "rejection of the consensus position" and everything else (neutral). In this case, the backbone of our site is our list of climate myths. Whenever a climate link is added to our database, it is matched to any relevant climate myths. Therefore, each link is assigned "skeptic", "neutral" or "proAGW" whether it confirms or refutes the climate myth.

This means a skeptic paper doesn't necessarily "reject the consensus position" that humans are causing global warming. It may address a more narrow issue like ocean acidification or the carbon cycle. For example, say a paper is published examining the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs. If the paper finds evidence that ocean acidification is serious, the paper is categorised as pro-AGW and added to the list of papers addressing the "ocean acidification isn't serious" myth.

There are a large number of neutral papers. Neutral does not mean to say each paper was unable to resolve the climate myth. Sometimes, a paper is relevant to a number of climate myths and the results are mixed as to whether it endorses or rejects all the myths. In many cases, the paper doesn't directly set out to directly resolve the myth or the paper has a regional emphasis rather than global. Papers that met any of these criteria are often categorised as neutral.

So yes, categorisation can get a little complicated and I expect there will continue to be discussion on the issue of classification. I'm starting to think Naomi's approach was the better way to go!