What you are witnessing dear friends is science, in action, in real time. It kind of seems to me a combination of the Herbert Dingle affair and the Pons/Fleischmann news release.
Pons and Fleischmann went to the news media first and the peer review came later. Dingle went to Nature and other publications and was rebuffed.
By choice, Profs. Essén and Levi (and team) decided to publish in a preprint physics section of arXiv, without peer review. And now we get to watch the peer review after the fact. It is interesting that the “peer review” by scientists so far published on the internet, includes not only technical questions the team has not been able to answer, but also addresses the ethical questions their paper brought forth, questions that they so far have refused to answer.
When we read the initial letter of Alessio Guglielmi addressed to the authors of the new paper on the testing of the ecat, we could not help but notice similarities of the questions raised by Alessio Guglielmi and some of the statements by Mr. Gary Wright in his article on shutdownrossi.com: Thoughts on the latest Andrea Rossi, Giuseppe Levi, and Hanno Essén paper.
With the kind permission from Alessio Guglielmi we have copied the two emails. The only change made was to remove the email addresses in the letters.
Dear colleagues and friends,
I had an exchange with Prof. Essén and received two emails from him in response to my initial message reproduced below, and to another one where I repeated to him the two questions:
1) How does your paper advance knowledge?
2) Who will benefit from it?
Unfortunately, Prof. Essén refuses to answer these two questions, and at this point I am even more perplexed, because I believe that a senior researcher should always be able to answer those two questions without hesitation and with pride in his or her work. It is a pity that this seems not to be the case for the manuscript on arXiv, and I still hope that the other co-authors will be able to find convincing answers to those two very basic questions.
The only response for which Prof. Essén authorises publication is the following:
In the intervju I answered that there was no direct measurement of dc (since the clamps could not detec such). This was a bit hasty. In future I will not answer such technical questions without conferring with all coautors. After analysing what we checked and measured (which were many more variables that those from the clamps) we can definitely exclude dc-current. (This is what comes from being nice to journalists.)
Prof. Essén wrote this paragraph as a comment to this piece of interview that appeared on <http://www.pureenergyblog.com/?p=1232>:
Interviewer: Have you tried to test the output of the power supply to exclude that also a DC current is supplied to the device, which clamp amperometers could not detect?
Prof. Essén: No, we did not think of that. The power came from a normal wall socket and there did not seem to be any reason to suspect that it was manipulated in some special way. Now that the point is raised we can check this in future tests.
Could somebody please forward this email to Dr Foschi?
Anybody please feel free to publish this message wherever they see fit.
University of Bath
Date: Mon, 27 May 2013 11:58:24 +0100
To: Giuseppe Levi, Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson, Lars Tegnér, Hanno Essén
From: Alessio Guglielmi
Subject: Ethics of your recent work with Mr Rossi
Cc: Ugo Bardi, Dario Braga, Sylvie Coyaud, Camillo Franchini, Giancarlo Ruocco
Dear Doctors Levi, Foschi, Hartman, Höistad, Pettersson, Tegnér and Essén,
I have read your recent manuscript `Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder´ on arXiv and I am very perplexed.
You are aware that several alleged technical mistakes have been pointed out, such as omitting control on DC current input (which has been acknowledged by Prof. Essén in a recent interview) and assuming that the output heat is released by a perfect black body (this assumption is contested by Prof. Gianni Comoretto, for example). The picture that emerges, and I am sorry if this sounds offensive, is that some crucial measures have not been taken seriously enough on a discovery that, if genuine, would alter the history of mankind.
However, I have an issue that appears to me even more important, because it concerns the very essence of your continued activities on Rossi’s device. Our job as researchers is to advance knowledge, and to do so whatever we investigate must be reproducible by other researchers, so that the knowledge we generate becomes established and we can move forward. This seems at odds with your behaviour. You went to the workshop of a private individual who claims to be solving half of mankind’s problems, and performed measures on a device that you could not fully control and that is not available to other researchers. Therefore, your manuscript does not contain any reproducible experience. So, how does it advance knowledge? What do we learn?
This brings me to asking another natural question: who will profit from the release of your manuscript? You do realise that Mr Rossi sells distribution licences and that he needs to convince customers to order some of his plants. There is no doubt that your manuscript will help that market, but is this something that academics should do? Is our job to help a private sell his stuff in the absence of solid, reproducible evidence?
In other words, I wonder whether you are adhering to the scientific method and I wonder whether what you are doing is legitimate for academics. Others questioned your technical ability, but I think that the ethical questions that I am posing here come before, also because they are more understandable by the layman. I trust that you appreciate my frankness, and I hope that you can prove my concerns unjustified.
I am forwarding this letter in copy to several persons who are following this matter: Ugo Bardi (Professor of Chemistry, Univ. Florence, blogger), Dario Braga (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Bologna), Sylvie Coyaud (Scientific Journalist, Il Sole 24 Ore), Camillo Franchini (blogger, former Supervisor of the CAMEN nuclear plant) and Giancarlo Ruocco (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, La Sapienza, Rome). Whoever wishes to publish this letter is welcome to do so, of course, and I hope that also the answer could be given public form.
Could you please forward this letter to Dr Foschi, whose address I could not find?
University of Bath