Issues arising out of Paragraph 1.2

The terms of reference for 1.2 are:

1.2. Review CRU‟s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

ISSUES ARISING ON Para 1.2 OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE

5. It is alleged that there have been improper attempts to influence the peer review system and a violation of IPCC procedures in attempting to prevent the publication of opposing ideas. It is alleged that there has been an attempt to subvert the peer review process and exclude publication of scientific articles that do not support the Jones-Mann position on global climate change. A paper by Soon & Balunias was published in the Journal Climate Research arguing that the 20th century was abnormally warm.An email from Professor Michael Mann on 11th March 2003 contained the following: “I think we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”  The  allegation is that journals might be pressured to reject submitted articles that do not support a particular view of climate change. In an email to a fellow researcher in June 2003, Briffa wrote: “Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting (an unnamed paper) to support Dave Stahle‟s and really as soon as you can.” In an email to Mann on 8th July 2004, Jones wrote: “The other paper by MM is just garbage. […] I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer- review literature is!” The allegation is of an attempt to prevent ideas being published and the author being prepared to subvert the peer review process for a journal and to undermine the IPCC principle of accounting properly for contradictory views. 

QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS 

 Give full accounts of the issue in relation to the journal Climate Research, the June 2003 email, and the March 2004 email to Mann (“recently rejected two papers (one for Journal of Geophysical Research & one for Geophysical Research Letters) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town over both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised”. 

Are the first two instances evidence of attempts to subvert the peer review process?  

In relation to the third, where do you draw the line between rejecting a paper on grounds of bad science etc, and attempting to suppress contrary views?

 To what extent is your attitude to reviewing conditioned by the extent that a paper will set back the case for anthropogenic global warming and the political action that may be needed to mitigate it?

 What is the justification for an apparent attempt to exclude contrary views from the IPCC process?

6. The scrutiny and re-analysis of data by other scientists is a vital process if hypotheses are to rigorously tested and improved. It is alleged that there has been a failure to make important data available or the procedures used to adjust and analyse that data, thereby subverting a crucial scientific process.   It is alleged that there has been a systematic policy of denying access to data thathas been used in publications, referring to an email from Jones to Mann on 2nd February 2005 which contains the following:  “And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days?—our does! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind”. 

QUESTIONS  TO ADDRESS

 Do you agree that releasing data for others to use and to test hypotheses is an important principle? 

 If so, do you agree that this principle has been abused?

 If so, should not data be released for use by those with the intention to undermine your case, or is there a distinction you would wish to make between legitimate and illegitimate use?

 If not, do others have reasonable access to the data at all levels and to the description of processing steps, in order to be able to carry out such a re- analysis?

 Can you describe clearly the data-sets and relevant meta-data that have been released; what has not been released and to what extent is it in useable form? 

Where has it been released?

 Where access is limited, or not possible, or not meaningful, for legitimate reasons please explain why?

7. The keeping of accurate records of datasets, algorithms and software used in the analysis of climate data.  A key concern expressed by a number of correspondents and commentators has been as to whether datasets, and analyses based thereon, were deleted. 

QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS

 Were formal „data dictionaries‟ kept of the data sets acquired by the CRU at various times from other bodies such as the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and its equivalents around the World?

 Were comprehensive records kept of the way these various data sets were used, the statistical and other algorithms used in processing them, and the various software programmes and modules used to carry out that processing?

 Does a formal library of algorithms and software used by the CRU exist?

 What quality control measures were used to test the various algorithms and software modules developed by the CRU?

 What techniques did members of the CRU employ to ensure the integrity of the various applications used to process climate data?

 What policies are in place to ensure the formal archiving of data sets and resultant analyses for future use and review.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: