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James Gourley Published in "The Journal of Engineering Mechanics"

(The following article by James Gourley reports the great news that another piece has been published in a mainstream technical Journal. This follows the publication in April, 2008 in the Bentham 'Open Civil Engineering Journal' and in August, 2008 in 'The Environmentalist'. It also recounts the extra hurdles that critics of the official WTC collapse theories have to jump along the way. -rep.)

The Journal of Engineering Mechanics has recently published a paper I authored. It can be found here, beginning on page 915: (PDF 224kb)

Normally, such a publication would be announced here at 911Blogger to let everyone know we are still making progress publishing criticisms of the official fairy tale in mainstream technical journals, in the hopes of reaching more members of the scientific and engineering community.

While I am excited this paper will be reaching new audiences, and I would like to share that fact with you, I am writing today for a different purpose.

Not much is ever written about what we go through to get these papers published. The publication of this paper is a case study in the struggles we face. I’d like to relate to you exactly what I had to go through to get this paper published, and what influences the substance of it have already had. I hesitate to reveal some of the information below, but as will become clear, the Journal of Engineering Mechanics personnel have demonstrated a complete lack of scientific ethics, and I feel like I have no choice but to publish exactly what occurred in the lead up to my paper’s publication.

Before I begin, let me make it perfectly clear that I do not want anyone to call, email or otherwise harass the editors or staff at the Journal of Engineering Mechanics or the authors of the papers I talk about below. Such behavior is extremely counterproductive, and I do not support or endorse such actions.

The Bazant/Greening Paper

In June 2007, I was sent a link to a paper by Dr. Zdenek Bazant, Dr. Frank Greening, and others, that had been submitted to the Journal of Engineering Mechanics (JEM) for peer review and publication. This paper (the Bazant/Greening Paper) can be found here: (PDF 729kb)

After reading through the Bazant/Greening Paper, I came up with essentially the same criticism that I was eventually able to get published this month at JEM. The Bazant/Greening paper repeated and expanded upon Dr. Bazant’s theory of crush down/crush up collapse progression. This crush down/crush up theory was first developed by Bazant in 2001, and expanded on by Bazant & Zhou in 2002, and Bazant & Verdure in 2007. I find the crush down/crush up theory completely unbelievable for the reasons I stated in my paper.

Back in June 2007, I sent an email to the editor of JEM that basically laid out my criticisms of the Bazant/Greening paper. About three weeks later, one of the Associate Editors of JEM sent me an email that read as follows:

Dear Mr. Gourley:

We recently received your critique on the paper entitled “Collapse of World Trade Center Towers: What Did and Did Not Cause It?” I have attached a standard reviewer form that is filled out by each person as they review an article. If you could please complete this form so that we will have a better understanding of where your comments fall on our standard scale, we would appreciate it very much. When completed, you can e-mail the reviewer form to [redacted] or [redacted]. Thank you for the time and effort that you have already put into the review of this paper, and we look forward to receiving your further comments.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

I completed the reviewer forms that evening, and sent it back to JEM the following day. The reviewer forms allowed me to recommend for or against publication of the paper. I, of course, recommended against publication until my concerns were addressed.

I never heard anything back from JEM, so, in late December and early January, I exchanged a few emails with the Associate Editor who had sent me the reviewer forms. I was curious about where the Bazant Paper was in the review process, as it still hadn’t been published 6 months after I reviewed it. The Associate Editor responded to my email inquiry as follows:

Dear James,
I am back at my office and I checked on the paper that you reviewed. The paper was declined and returned to the authors.
Best Regards
[redacted]

You can imagine my surprise when, in late April 2008, I learned that the Bazant/Greening Paper had been accepted for publication at JEM. The published version can be found here: (PDF 1mb)

However, if you look at the version of the Bazant/Greening Paper I previously provided, you will see that it was revised on June 22, 2007, December 15, 2007 and March 31, 2008. It was ultimately published in the October 2008 issue of JEM, along with my paper.

As you can see, my letter to the editor (with comments and peer review) delayed publication of the Bazant/Greening paper for more than a year. I don’t know what happened between the time the Associate Editor of JEM told me the paper had been rejected and sent back to the authors, and the time it was ultimately accepted for publication. What I would come to realize later is that Dr. Bazant has published hundreds of papers at JEM, and seems to have the standing of something like a “favored author” over there. As will become apparent below, the rules at JEM that govern other authors do not apply to Dr. Bazant.

The Bazant/Verdure Paper

Back in June 2007, I also learned that Dr. Bazant had recently published a paper in JEM which also relied on the crush down/crush up theory. The Bazant/Verdure Paper can be found here: (PDF 768kb)

I noticed that a window of time was still open where Discussion papers could still be submitted to JEM for the Bazant/Verdure Paper. So, I put the criticisms from my review of the Bazant/Greening Paper into the proper scientific paper form, in accordance with the ASCE Author Guidelines for submission of Discussion Papers. One of those requirements is that Discussion papers contain less than 2000 words. This word limit was extremely limiting for me, as you can probably tell in reading this essay. I’m an attorney, and spend most of my days reading and writing. Most of the documents I draft have either no page limit, or at worst a 15 or 30 page limit. I like to be very thorough when I am writing about a topic, and I don’t like to even mention things that I can’t spend adequate time discussing.

I did not want to exceed the 2000 word limit, because I already knew it would be difficult to get a paper critical of the official story published in a mainstream scientific journal. In other words, I didn’t want to give JEM any reason to reject it. I had a number of other points I could have raised that were critical of the Bazant/Verdure paper, including its assumption that all movements are vertical. However, when I was writing the Discussion paper, I realized very quickly I would not be able to spend adequate time on all of my points, so I focused on the points you see in the published version of my paper.

The paper I submitted was under the 2000 word limit, and was accepted for publication if I would remove language that the editors thought was too argumentative. My legal writing is typically argumentative, so I suspect some of that leaked into my paper. I went back through the paper, humbled my language, and resubmitted it. It was accepted for publication on November 21, 2007.

Dr. Bazant was then given an opportunity to prepare a response to my Discussion paper, called a Closure paper. Under ASCE guidelines, the Discussion and Closure are published together. This is in fact what you see at the first link I provided above. ASCE Guidelines also limit Closure papers to 2000 words. Seems only fair, right?

In May 2008, I learned that Dr. Bazant had finished his Closure paper and had published it at his NWU faculty website. So, I downloaded it and read it. I was startled by what I saw.

Dr. Bazant was allowed to go on and on for at least 4 to 5 thousand words in response to my Discussion paper. The original version of his Closure repeatedly derided me as a “lay person” and criticized my response as “wordy.” (If I’m a lay person, then a lay person was allowed by JEM to peer review his paper with Dr. Greening, which ultimately held up its publication for more than a year. Not bad for a lay person.) His Closure was also full of misrepresentations about my Discussion paper.

So, I sent a rather heated email to the JEM staff, asking them why Dr. Bazant was allowed to completely ignore the 2000 word limit in criticizing me and my Discussion paper, when I complied with it in good faith. I told them there were three ways to fairly resolve the situation.

First, JEM could pull my Discussion paper and his Closure paper from publication. JEM refused to do this. In hindsight, I’m actually glad they didn’t choose this option. The results of Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper are ludicrous, and demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of his theory. Even though I was treated unfairly, on balance I’m glad both papers were ultimately published.

Second, JEM could allow me to revise my paper free from the 2000 word limit I had originally complied with in good faith. If I was allowed to revise my paper without worrying about the word limit, I could have included all of my criticisms of his paper, and included mathematical equations to support my arguments. JEM refused to do this. This would have been the preferred option, but for some reason, I was not allowed to resubmit a revised paper exceeding the 2000 word limit.

Third, JEM could force Dr. Bazant to revise his paper to comply with the 2000 word limit. This was not preferable, but at least would have leveled the playing field. I would rather everyone have the same opportunity to fully develop their arguments and let the public decide who to believe. Unfortunately, this is not what ended up happening. After several rounds of email correspondence, JEM decided that they would ask Dr. Bazant to revise his paper to comply with the 2000 word limit, and remove the offensive language I had identified.

You can imagine my surprise again when I learned last week that both of our papers had been published in the October issue of JEM. I was never given another opportunity to review Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper before it was published. If you read through it, you can see why. Dr. Bazant was not required to comply with the 2000 word limit, as the JEM staff promised me he would. My rough estimate is that in his Closure’s response to my Discussion is between 4000 and 6000 words in length.

His Closure paper still derides me for not including equations in support of my position, without mentioning that there is no way I could have done that and still complied with the 2000 word limit, and that I was not allowed to revise my paper by JEM staff. Any fair peer review would not have allowed him to say this. JEM knew full well I was required to comply with the 2000 word limit, while Dr. Bazant was not.

In fact, he spends 2000 words responding to the steel temperature portion of my Discussion paper alone. JEM allowed him to use that much text to respond to my one paragraph on his misrepresentations of the steel temperatures reported by NIST. Dr. Bazant is clearly held to a different standard at JEM. How can JEM possibly be seen as a fair and balanced in this situation?

Dr. Bazant’s steel temperature response also raises a serious issue which should have been caught in a fair peer review process. He basically argues that even if he did misrepresent the steel temperatures NIST reported, that doesn’t matter because much lower steel temperatures would still have caused the collapse. However, that is a red herring. Even assuming Dr. Bazant is correct that lower steel temperatures could have caused the collapse, did that give him the right to misrepresent it in the first place? This was apparently never asked, and Dr. Bazant was allowed to mislead JEM readers with voluminous, irrelevant argument.

There are many other problems with Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper that should have been caught during peer review. I plan to write separately on all of them, but do need to mention one more. If you look at the first full sentence on page 919 at the first link above, you see the results of Dr. Bazant’s mathematical equations. He basically claims that when the upper block of floors impacts the lower, intact steel structure, that the upper block suffers a dent of between about 1 inch and 1.5 inches, before completely destroying the lower section of floors. Does that make any sense at all? An inch and a half dent? When the upper section of floors slams into the stationary steel structure below? The absolute absurdity of Dr. Bazant’s results is the main reason I’m happy his Closure was allowed to be published. Dr. Bazant appears to be going to extreme lengths to prop up the gravity-only driven collapse scenario. For clues as to why, I recommend page 4 of Kevin Ryan’s paper on the connections between NIST and nanothermite here: (PDF 82kb)

Conclusion

I hope this story gets across the struggles we face in publishing articles in mainstream technical journals. It is one of many I could have told. I have been a co-author on other published papers with Dr. Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan. After every single one of those is published, someone like Ryan Mackey writes to the editor of the journal criticizing their publication standards. He never addresses the substance of our papers, but instead tries to make the editors regret publishing our papers, basically because he says their journal will be seen as not credible in the scientific community. We are then forced to correspond further with the journal editors, with sometimes humorous exchanges that I won’t share without my co-authors’ consent. It usually ends with the editors recommending that Mackey submit his own response paper for publication (as I did for the Bazant/Verdure Paper) but he never does. It’s a constant battle we face.

I also hope other scientists and engineers out there join the fight, follow our lead, and try to publish papers in mainstream technical journals on this subject. Take my story to heart and don’t let it happen to you. Insist that you be treated fairly from the outset.

James Gourley

Michael Wolsey interviews James Gourley

Very enlightening interview! Well worth listening to!!

Direct download link and Visibility Webpage --> http://visibility911.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=244059#

Agreed

excellent interview, well worth the time

James, Thanks so much for sharing this!!

James is such a nice, caring and gentle guy, but I would hate to be on the other side of a courtroom against him! Gourley, Jones, Ryan, and others who spend countless hours burning the midnight lamp oil on these papers and legal aspects are real heroes in my book. And they are such nice people!...they care for humanity! These folks wear their "hat" extremely well!

I refuse to let these folks stand alone in their fight. I feel like it is the duty of those of us who are not qualified to write Scientific Journals to spread the word about 9/11 Truth. That is my hat. I hope it is the hat of countless others to help get the message out there! That is a major way that we can assist these professionals!...to get the word out there on the streets!

NORTH TEXANS FOR 9/11 TRUTH
http://www.northtexas911truth.com/
(Videos) http://tellstruth.webs.com/joinus.htm ;)
(BROADSHEET-FLYER @ 100 for $7) http://www.911blogger.com/node/18142

Well Done James!

You have illustrated that even the all important peer review process is political. Many of us have suspected this, but you actually experienced it. Thank you for giving the rest of us a window into the way the process works. And congratulations on getting published! We are fortunate to have such a talented and tenacious attorney working on the side of 911 Truth. I appreciate you and your epochal works for the cause.

Congratulations!

Nice work James. Re your experience with the journal - really not so bad at all IMO. Publishing is frequently hard work, and some times it seems as though there will be no end to the hurdles put in front of you. Of course I find it rather ironic that the journal found your work too "argumentative", given the tone of B&Z's response, which they published. But this is par for the course, really. Famous figures get a free pass and newbies have to struggle.

I really admire your talent and guts in moving into a new field and successfully publishing a strong response in such a controversial case.

Tim Howells

A fine illustration

of the various forms of gatekeeping that prevent 9/11 truth from emerging. Even science is a politicized institution.

Request:

James - would you consider making available a full exposition of your arguments? Perhaps within the peer reviewed Journal of 911 Studies, or here, as an addendum to what has been published. I provide scientists and engineers with material such as this; I do not want their learning to be, in effect, restricted by JEM staff.

I definitely plan on putting

I definitely plan on putting together a longer paper with a more detailed critique of the paper. However, it's been almost a year since I last looked at or really thought hard about this issue. So, it's not something I could turn out overnight. My real job is actually keeping me very busy right now, and probably until near the end of the year. But I do plan on writing a paper with equations to support my position, and I will probably try to submit it to JEM and see if they will peer review & publish it. As you can probably tell from my essay above, I'm still feeling a little burned from my experience with them, but I would like to give them one more chance to make things right. I would, of course, invite Dr. Bazant to respond to my paper, WITHOUT WORD LIMITS, if he wants to do so.

Good work, James... Note that Bazant...

takes a swipe at me by name in his response paper (response to James Gourley) -- for example, he refers to Steven E. Jones as an "Associate Professor".
If you look at my web pages at BYU (still available), you will note that I'm a Full Professor of Physics... (Moreover, I accepted early retirement as a Full Professor.)

Further, Bazant failed to reference the paper on 9/11 research he mentions as co-authored by Jones, so one has no opportunity to view what paper he is talking about... which should not have been allowed in a peer-reviewed paper.

Nor did he reference my work on "cold fusion", which he mentions without citation. Perhaps he meant my paper in Scientific American, July 1987, entitled "COLD NUCLEAR FUSION." Yes, Scientific American... you may wish to check it out.

These errors by Dr. Bazant in his latest paper in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics -- which I have specifically identified here-- should not appear in a scholarly paper and should be corrected.

Can a request for correction be sent to JEM?

Dr. Jones,

It seems obvious that Dr. Bazant was trying to bias the reader using the cold fusion mention without citation. Many are not aware that your work in that area has been fully validated, and is very different from that of Pons and Fleischmann. Most are not aware that you concluded that while there are reactions the amount of energy produced precludes it from being a viable energy source, and that the paper published by Scientific American in July 1987 discusses this evidence and your conclusions.

The error in your title and failure to reference the 911 research paper he mentions are also unprofessional of Dr. Bazant.

Can a request for correction be sent to JEM?

Good point by Tony re the

Good point by Tony re the reference to SJ as a "nuclear cold-fusion expert" - very unprofessional and misleading on the part of Bazant. This should be brought to the attention of the journal and a clarification should be published. Bazant just leaves that hanging, which will lead many to believe that SJ was a proponent of the wildly exaggerated claims re cold fusion, rather than the person who helped clear that whole issue up.

Szuladzinski - A specialist in homeland security?

I think it is interesting how our good friend Bazant describes the other commenter: Gregory Szuladzinski who is principle of Analytical Service Pty Ltd.: http://users.bigpond.net.au/ANSER/

"The interest of Szuladzinski, a specialist in homeland security, ..."

While Dr. Szuladzinski does seem to have some background and perhaps consulting on-going in military applications, this is his own list of specialties:

We specialize in structural dynamics and have experience in diverse range of applications including buildings, containers, aerospace structures, automotive structures, ships, machinery, piping and pressure vessels.

Nothing even close to "homeland security" is listed. Why didn't Bazant choose to described Dr. Szuladzinski as a "Finite Element Analysis consultant" or "modeling specialist"? Is it because Bazant knows something about Szuladzinski we don't? I really doubt it... rather I suspect that Bazant has "homeland security" (or rather the DHS) on his mind. This reminds of when Prof. Jones described of being approached by someone claiming to have DHS connections when attempting to dissuade him from pursuing legitimate 9/11 research.

So, what exactly is Bazant's relationship with the DHS? Are they funding his "research"?

EDIT: I had not noticed before (the "homeland security" bit confused me) but Dr. Szuladzinski is challenging Bazant's conclusions:

The conclusion is that the motion will be
arrested during the damaged story collapse and the building will
stand.

...
In summary, the postulated failure mode is not a proper expla-
nation of the WTC Towers collapse, as concluded from several
criteria used previously.

EDIT 2: I have now had some email correspondence with Dr. Szuladzinski. He seems very friendly and is preparing a response to Bazant's rebuttal.

Tenacity and Dedication

James Gourly certainly has plenty of both. It gives me real hope. After reading about the CTBUH roadblock, I was getting a little depressed. I'm feeling better now. Thank U.

Will the longer version be published?

Wonderful work here Mr Gourly, Keep up the outstanding work.

Will your original, unabashed, version be submitted to the Journal for 911 Studies?

Peace

Dan

As far as I know,

James was the first 9/11 truth advocate to work toward publication in a mainstream scientific journal.

His professionalism and straightforward approach has been an inspiration.

Charles M. Beck

Charles M. Beck has also submitted two papers to the Journal of Engineering Mechanics:

http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0609105
http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.2846

We should check the status of these papers in the peer review process.

Charles M. Beck has a third paper which apparently has not been submitted:

http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.4792

These are serious papers that we should make sure get published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals.

A tribute to your

A tribute to your perseverance!

This experience is very typical in terms of journals becoming the home for "favorite" authors and automatic rejections of views opposing the views of the favorite authors then is common. So although it all feels pretty outrageous, I'm actually very surprised that JEM showed the ability to put the evidence first in this case, even as they also gave him preferential treatment. The vast majority of Journals find ways to keep controversy out, regardless of how strong the case is, and then getting to the truth takes that many more months or years.

The controversy here may just be fascinating to some to get them interested in the paper when they ordinarily would not have been, or would have made an automatic judgment. Good call.

The difference here is that you stuck with it and refused to be a part of that game.

I reposted this also at the STJ blog and on the forum.

Thank you!

A rebuttal...

When does the rebuttal to Bazant's closure take place? He offers some convincing arguments.

"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it." -1993-John Skilling, Head Structural Engineer WTC Towers