The paper should have been retracted immediately, since it violates the OUP ethics policy, but neither the journal editors nor OUP seem to have any regard for ethics, so this didn’t happen, despite Crockford’s detailed letter.
Now, Anand Rajan and Richard Tol have written a comment about it, “Lipstick on a bear…”, uploaded it to a preprint server called EarthArXiv and submitted it to the OUP journal Bioscience that unwisely published Harvey et al.
Here is the concluding paragraph:
In sum, Harvey et al. (2017) play a statistical game of smoke and mirrors. They validate their data, collected by an unclear process, by comparing it to data of unknown provenance. They artificially inflate the dimensionality of their data only to reduce that dimensionality using a principal component analysis. They pretend their results are two dimensional where there is only one dimension. They suggest that there are many nuanced positions where there are only a few stark ones – at least, in their data. On a topic as complex as this, there are of course many nuanced positions; the jitter applied conceals the poor quality of Harvey’s data and obscures the underlying perspectival homogeneity from self-selection. They show that there is disagreement on the vulnerability of polar bears to climate change, but offer no new evidence who is right or wrong – apart from a fallacious argument from authority, with a “majority view” taken from an unrepresentative sample. Once the substandard statistical application to poor data is removed, what remains is a thinly veiled attempt at a colleague’s reputation.