Freedom of Information

by Judith Curry

Some interesting issues this week regarding Freedom of Information (FOI), related to Michael Mann and the UVa and also some statements by Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society.

Michael Mann and the UVa

Steve McIntyre reports the following regarding the FOIA requests from ATI regarding Michael Mann’s emails at the University of Virginia:

consent order was entered into today in respect to FOI requests to the University of Virginia under Virginia FOI legislation from the American Tradition Institute. The order in case CL-11-3236 dated May 24, 2011 stated:

it is therefore ADJUDGED ORDERED and DECREED as follows: The Respondent [UVA] shall complete its supply of requested documents no later than 90 days after the date of this order and will supply them in electronic form.

As I understand the order, information claimed to be Exempt Information will be filed under seal and, after examination of the Exempt Information, the Parties have an opportunity for in camera review.

The statement from ATI can be found here:

“This case is about whether the government can put up a pay wall to frustrate the public’s right to transparency. If it can, the public can’t hold government employees to the high standards of conduct they should meet.”

Sir Paul Nurse and Bob Ward

A recent article in the Guardian is entitled “Freedom of information laws are used to harass scientists, says Noel laureate” with the subtitle “Sir Paul Nurse says climate scientists are being targeted by campaigns of requests designed to slow down their research.”

This article is pursuant to the announcement of  a major study by the Royal Study entitled “Science as a Public Enterprise.”  Some excerpts:

Scientists’fundamental concern is that the basic observational data on which scientific knowledge is built should be available to be validated or called in question: the interpretations derived from data should be rigorously tested and data should be available to others to check, to review and to use in building theories or in evaluating science-based policies. The ways that data are generated, manipulated, stored, accessed, used and shared also attract public interest and concern. At the same time, exponential growth in the volume and diversity of data is creating technical challenges to making them available. Issues of quality control, appropriate retention policies, and the utility of storage of vast arrays of ‘raw’ data require urgent attention.

A presumption in favour of data sharing should enable efficient research. A case for open access to research data is most obvious where the research has been done at public expense, or where the research has involved experimentation on human beings who have consented to be subjected to risks for the benefit of the public (as in the case of medical research). But it is also arguably necessary where private companies undertake activities that pose risks to public health. Public interest in openness and disclosure must however be balanced against possible concerns of security, confidentiality, privacy and intellectual property protection. Different scientific disciplines generate and use data in very different ways, for technical, economic and cultural reasons.

Hard to complain about any of that.  Now back to what Nurse says in the Guardian article:

Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.

Nurse said that, in principle, scientific information should be made available as widely as possible as a matter of course, a practice common in biological research where gene sequences are routinely published in public databases. But he said freedom of information had “opened a Pandora’s box. It’s released something that we hadn’t imagined … there have been cases of it being misused in the climate change debate to intimidate scientists.

“I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

It was possible some requests were designed simply to stop scientists working rather than as a legitimate attempt to get research data, said Nurse. “It is essential that scientists are as open and transparent as possible and, where they are not, they should be held to account. But at times this appears to be being used as a tool to stop scientists doing their work. That’s going to turn us into glue. We are just not going to be able to operate efficiently.”

Nurse said the government should examine the issue, and think about tweaking freedom of information legislation to recognise potential misuse. Otherwise, he predicted, FoI aggression could be in future used by campaigners to cripple scientific research in many other controversial areas of science, such as genetically modified crops. “I don’t actually know the answer but I think we have a problem here. We need better guidelines about when the use of freedom of information is useful.”

Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics said the intention of many of those making freedom of information requests was to trawl through scientists’ work with the intention of trying to find problems and errors. “It’s also quite true that these people do not care about the fact that it is causing a serious inconvenience,” he said. “It is being used in an aggressive and organised way. When freedom of information legislation was first contemplated, it was not being considered that universities would be landed with this additional burden.”

“The current fog of ambiguity concerning, for example, drafts of research papers produced in other countries is deeply damaging to our scientific standing,” said Tom Ward, pro vice-chancellor at UEA. “Part of the discussion should be informed by what we can learn from Scottish and US law, which explicitly recognise the need to extend some protection to research in progress.”

Nurse said that scientists were not blameless. At the University of East Anglia, they were too defensive in their responses to freedom of information requests over climate change, but their experience was one among many that highlighted a need for better training for scientists in the most appropriate way to respond to information requests.

He added that the best way for scientists to respond was with more openness. “Scientists are going to have to get used to the idea that transparency means being transparent to your critics as well as your allies. You cannot pick and choose to whom you are transparent,” he said. “Increasingly it is going to be an issue for anyone working in contentious areas. Part of retaining the public’s confidence and trust is transparency and openness, and scientists should accept that that is part of the price of having the people’s trust.”

JC’s comments

I certainly applaud the new Royal Society project.  The FOI issue does raise some thorny points, and it seems like UK law would be improved if it was more like US FOIA law in several respects, including exclusion of research in progress. So I have some sympathy for a few of the points raised by Nurse.

Scientists should be able to communicate freely with each other.  But if you are a government employee, your written and online records (including emails) are fair game for FOI requests.  So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret.  Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.

Nurse uses the word “useful” in context of the FOI requests; usefulness is in they eye of the person requesting, and second guessing motives of the requestor can get you in a lot of hot water (e.g. CRU).

With regards to the issue of of FOI requests being made to slow down research progress.  I seriously doubt that is anyone’s motivation who is making these requests; it seems like they want to see the information, and they have a legal right to do so.  So how much does an FOI request slow down research? I only have one personal anecdote in this regard.  In 2003, a disgruntled employee requested emails concerning personnel decisions.  I turned this request (which was communicated to me by the legal office) over to my admin asst, who went through my emails to identify the relevant ones and remove ones that were legally excluded.  It probably took her two days to do this.  I had a tiny bit of anxiety about the whole thing, I couldn’t remember everything that I might have written, but felt reasonably confident that whatever I might have written  showed decent judgment.  So this might have taken up about 4 hours of my time, plus two days of some minor anxiety, I lost much less research time than if I had a moderate case of the flu.

FOI requests related to research are far less likely if your data is made publicly available with the appropriate metadata, with codes made available upon request. This victim card that some climate researchers have been playing with regards to FOI requests is rather a joke, IMO.  Trying to fight this will get you into hot water.  Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt apparently each have lawyers dealing with these issues; if they are worried about taking time away from research, I think stonewalling and fighting is far more costly in time than just meeting the FOI requests.  They are presumably fighting for some principle or academic freedom, but if you are a govt employee this is a fight that won’t be won.

IMO, Ward’s money quote is this one:

“Scientists are going to have to get used to the idea that transparency means being transparent to your critics as well as your allies. You cannot pick and choose to whom you are transparent,” 

547 responses to “Freedom of Information

  1. the “Noel Laureate” was a good idea

  2. Thanks, Professor Curry, for your persistent efforts to get to the bottom of this global climate scandal.

    The US National Academy of Sciences and the UK Royal Society are “up to their ears” in this mess and will probably both have to be dismantled before the scandal ends.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  3. ” So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.”

    The water will rise to its own level… If scientists want to collude privately, they will simply take JC’s advice here and do it in an unFOIable location. Oddly enough, it’s just like what goes on in politics– but science surely isn’t politics, right?

    • This is what sets alarm bells going for me.

      If you feel the need to collude in private over your research, then i think it is ahrd to claim that you’re an honest, open and impartial scientist. Nurse is actually making them sound worse by defending them. incredible.

    • barn E. rubble

      RE: “If scientists want to collude privately, they will simply take JC’s advice here and do it in an unFOIable location. ”

      But then there’s wikileaks . . . I find it hard to believe that reputable scientists would ever be caught up in any sort of collusion of a nefarious nature. Or perhaps I should say,’caught up in any sort of collusion of a nefarious nature – again.’ I was deeply shocked at what can only be termed ‘collusion’ from the climategate emails. I feel the same as I read up on Mr. McIntyre’s efforts to root out the peer-review process’ of the past . . . sigh . . yes, I know it’s just a PR problem.

      -barn

    • Kent Draper

      My alarm went off also. If you are on my dime, or, I’m paying you to do the work you do, ALL your work should be viewable. That or find private employment. Sorry, Judy, but this statement of yours……
      ” So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.”
      is kind of troubling. If they are on their own time, after work, then ok. NOT while I’m paying for it though. You really don’t see anything wrong with what you said??????
      Kent

      • Kent, I don’t see your problem. In the first instance – pace Ward, Nurse and their like – people requesting info from tax-funded scientists are usually not interested in their correspondence – just the details of the experiments underlying what they have published. If that passes muster, they have no further interest. It is only when scientists have jibbed at providing the data and metadata that would enable their experiment to be reproduced that their interest widens to include correspondence between members of a research team. So to JC’s comment – scientists can collude all they want behind the scenes, but it will avail them nothing in the end, because they want their work published and acclaimed, at which stage it must be open to scrutiny.

  4. Nurse somehow manages to miss the logic completely. If things were as he says they should be, it would be impossible to harass scientists with FOI requests. The information would be accessible and there would be nothing against which the purportedly organised Deniarrs could push.

    The net worth of Nurse’s point seems to be that the data should be accessible to the public when the public doesn’t request it. If the public asks for data that the scientist doesn’t want to provide, then.. well I’m not sure what he’s thinking, but it seems to be that he believes the public should only have access to that data which suits the scientist, rather than what meets legal obligations.

    The public either has a right under FOI law to the information it’s requesting or it doesn’t. If it has a right, but meets resistance, the obstruction is on the part of the scientists not on the part of the public.

    The only evidence that I’ve ever seen of any “organised campaign” was spawned from the ClimateAudit site and anyone reviewing the chronology of those events could only reasonably conclude that what gave rise to that campaign was the obstruction and obfuscation on the part of climate scientists. Jones is very much on record, courtesy of the Climategate files, devoting an inordinate amount of time specifically for the purpose of illegally denying access to information that should have been long-available in the public domain.

    • From the Guardian article:

      “Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics said the intention of many of those making freedom of information requests was to trawl through scientists’ work with the intention of trying to find problems and errors. “It’s also quite true that these people do not care about the fact that it is causing a serious inconvenience,” he said. “It is being used in an aggressive and organised way. When freedom of information legislation was first contemplated, it was not being considered that universities would be landed with this additional burden.”
      (I added the bold)

      They just want to keep the problems and errors secret. …come on, whats wrong with that? …wha?

      Everyone knows how difficult the life of an academic is (being nerds and all) .

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Why should I show you my data when you only want to find something wrong with it’?

        Phil Jones (og)

  5. It seems to me that many in the scientific community still don’t appreciate the cost being proposed or imposed on society as a result of their research. If the cost is several %age points of global GDP forever after, the miniscule cost of a few hours/days of research time is unbelievably trivial. Given that taxpayers have to pay for both, the scientists should suck it up and deliver to the FOI requests. Anything else just treats the taxpayers that pay their salaries and research grants with extreme contempt.

    • John Carpenter

      I agree. The ramifications surrounding energy usage and supply are much more significant than any inconvenience some scientists may have to make to respond to FOI requests. If university/academic scientists want to consider their research as IP, they should stick to commercial endeavors with partner companies where it is appropriate. The study of our environment and climate has no room for an IP mentality once the claims are published.

    • This is a critical point. The AGW in-crowd seek massive, costly changes to world economies while resisting examination of their sources, data and methods even after many flaws have been demonstrated. If they seek to change the world, they must be prepared to be challenged and held to account for the validity or otherwise of their work. That requires full disclosure of all relevant material.

    • It’s an arrogance that goes so far beyond hubris that the Greeks are going to have to come up with a new word. Or we could just coin our own — climatescientitis — an arrogance that knows no bounds.

      “My scientific work requires that billions of people around the world must totally change their lives and incur the ravages of death, disease and hunger, but I steadfastly refuse to be inconvenienced by having anyone check my work.”

      I guess they think they are perfect, too. Playing “god” with peoples lives while considering themselves so perfect that no one else is worthy to check their work.

      Such nice folks.

      • Stirling English

        Klimatologist.

        Pronounced in the German fashion. with a short ‘i; and a hard ‘g’. Spoken slowly and emphatically it can be imbued with considerable contempt. At least when I do it.

  6. “I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

    Someone should remind Paul Nurse that in a science anecdote != evidence. I’m certain I can find far more people who say they’ve been abducted by aliens than he can find climate scientists who are being “intimidated” by FOI requests.

    The data question itself is a little bit thorny. It is understandable that a scientist who puts in the hard yards collecting data would have a proprietry concern about it and view it as “his” (or “hers” as the case may be) However there is also the argument that since it was collected while they recieved pay from the public purse using publicly funded equipment and stored it on a computer paid for by the public then it rightfully belongs to the public and should be freely available.

    At the same time any thinking member of the public would agree that the scientists who collects the data should have first publication rights to that data.

    Perhaps life would be easier with clear guidelines set down? A time limit after which all data collected at public expense must be archived whether published or not?

    As to the background data and workings for published papers, I’m sorry but this goes back to basics. It is not enough to just show the answer, you must show how you arrived at the answer. Any High School maths teacher can tell you this. I’m sure many others who are “sceptical” are sceptical of the results because we are highly sceptical of the methodologies used to get those results. That some people then go to such lengths to hide the data and methodologies as to require FOI requests doesn’t decrease the concerns.

  7. Steve McIntyre

    The University of East Anglia recently refused my FOI request for a regional chronology combining Polar Urals, Yamal and “other shorter” chronologies referred to in a Climategate email in April 2006. Briffa et al 2008 reported on results of three supposed regional chronologies but used the Yamal site chronology instead of this regional chronology. They also refused to provide a list of sites used in the regional chronology.

    They turned it down arguing that (a) it was exempt on the basis that the work was “incomplete”; (b) that both the regional chronology and the list of sites were intellectual property and compliance with the FOI request would interfere with the UEA’s ability to obtain grants.

    Despite enormous public interest in being re-assured that CRU did not cherrypick data, they said that the overriding public interest was in not “denying [CRU] the economic and professional benefits arising from their work”, alleging that this would be lost be releasing the 2006 regional chronology.

    The University of East Anglia was required to enter into an agreement with the UK ICO to comply with the law, but there has not been any change in their conduct.

    We are not talking here about emails, which create many additional issues, but about data pertaining to a prominent data set used by IPCC.

    The people who suffer most from such obstructiveness are not ‘skeptics”, but rank-and-file climate scientists – the “community” and it is they who should be speaking out against this, not just personally but through institutions like AAAS and leading journals like Nature, rather than remaining silent (except for a very few voices, such as Judy.)

    • Steve,

      1. I congratulate you for all that your efforts to get to the bottom of the global climate scandal. You have made great contributions to society through your meticulous climate audit.

      2. You say rank-and-file climate scientists should be speaking out against the practice of hiding data, “not just personally but through institutions like AAAS and leading journals like Nature”.

      3. You apparently failed to grasp that the corruption of government science began soon after President Eisenhower warned on 17 Jan 1961 about this possibility in his farewell address to the nation:

      “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

      4. Institutions like AAAS, leading journals like Nature, Science, PNAS & Proceedings of the Royal Society and heads of the US National Academy of Sciences and the UK Royal Society are “up to their ears” in this mess and will probably have to be dismantled or overhauled before the scandal ends.

      5. Finally, the release of documents requested under FOI from the University of Virginia may mark the beginning of the end for the organizations and institutions that most benefitted from their unholy, secret alliance with world leaders that controlled the purse strings of research grants. That is why they have closed ranks.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      • Take your meds and calm down

      • In what way do you disagree with Oliver? You think scientists should stick together and hide data?

      • Rose Dlhopolsky

        I found the use of the words: “unholy, secret alliance with world leaders” a bit worrisome.

      • So did I.

        I abhor conspiracy theories.

        However “What is, . . . is.”

        Does another other phrase that better fits the observations?

        Perhaps this quote from the farewell address of former President Eisenhower will quieten your concerns and better communicate how scientists were trained with government research grants the way Pavlov’s dogs were trained with dog biscuits:

        “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

        Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

        It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

    • “(a) it was exempt on the basis that the work was “incomplete”; ”

      Published the work which was incomplete? Any logics in it! Data had not been fabricated inline intime with the conclusion published?

      “(b) that both the regional chronology and the list of sites were intellectual property and compliance with the FOI request would interfere with the UEA’s ability to obtain grants.”

      Yes, flawed conclusion exposed will prohibit UEA from otaining future grants. Quite understandable why PJ had to hide the data so that he can continue his living on grants.

    • Why should you get the data when you will only play tricks with the x-axes with the data?
      As you did in your landmark paper as well as the Tiljander series.

      Your tricks may go over well with the denizens that inhabit sites like this one, but the real scientists are on to you, as are some rank amatures.

      • “The real scientists are on to you”

        Okay Sam Spade

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Man, the self-parody is getting thick in here, bob is on about “rank amatures” …

        w.

      • John Carpenter

        Bob, do tells us where you get your chops… or are you among the ‘rank amatures’ (spelled amateurs) like the rest of us deniers around here? I have a guess already…

      • bobdroege,
        Tricks like Mann and the establishment did with Hide the Decline and the Hockey Stick, are precisely why the data should not be kept in their hands only.

      • If I went as far as simply to invite my Legal&Compliance department to a meeting with subject “Ways to avoid having to comply with the law without blatantly breaking it, so that information stays away from evil people that have the right to get it”, I’d be on the dole same-day if not a “guest” of Her Majesty.

    • andrew adams

      You can appeal to the ICO if you disagree with UEA’s decision.

    • David L. Hagen

      “The University of East Anglia recently refused my FOI request for a regional chronology combining Polar Urals, Yamal and “other shorter” chronologies . . . .We are not talking here about emails, which create many additional issues, but about data pertaining to a prominent data set used by IPCC.”

      By refusing to uphold the scientific method of testing models against data, U. East Anglis has removed itself from science.

      The rational response is to exclude all publications by U. East Anglia from being considered as “science”. Recommend all future publications footnote all publications by members of U. East Anglia based on this unobtainable data as:

      “assertions by *** are scientifically untestable by refusal to provide underlyingn data, and have been are excluded.”

      Recommend all IPCC and public reviewers object to all relevant U East Anglia citations as untestable assertions that must be excluded as unscientific.

      • Recommend all IPCC and public reviewers object to all relevant U East Anglia citations as untestable assertions that must be excluded as unscientific.

        More generally, any paper lacking full disclosure, whether or not there are there are oustanding FOI requests, is excluded from consideration in its entirety.

    • Craig Loehle

      The most outlandish part is refusing to release the locations of the field data sites. Keeping secret where the data come from? Really?

      • Latimer Alder

        The translation is that Phil Jones let his dog eat it and he’s too ashamed to fess up.

        Or that he saw this data, thought ‘I can get a quick paper out of that’, wrote it, sent it to Mike Mann for review, then went to lunch.

        After lunch during his snooze the char came to tidy his office and threw the papers away.

  8. Judith,
    I note that you dealt with an FOI request by having your administrative assistant go through the e-mails. Most of us in academia have never seen such a thign as an administrative assistant. Many departments are lucky to have one secretary for the whole department. So if I got such an FOI, I would have to trawl through the e-mails myself, thus being slowed down to a degree.

    • Fascinating …

      “20 percent of UT faculty members teach 57 percent of all credit hours.

      Another 20 percent of faculty members teach 2 percent of all credit hours.

      Nearly 100 percent of research grants are generated by 20 percent of faculty members.

      Nontenured track faculty teach a majority of undergraduates and 31 percent of graduate students”

      http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Bigger-UT-teaching-loads-are-suggested-1392453.php

      Which group are you in Andy?

      • “if 80 percent of the faculty at UT with the lowest teaching burden taught half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, tuition could be cut by more than half.”

      • This is funny: ““It is inappropriate to draw conclusions from incomplete and unverified data,” UT President Bill Powers said”

    • John Carpenter

      Andy, I can appreciate your position. However, as on operator of a small technical engineering related business, I and others on my team, spend months preparing, checking, double checking, reviewing data etc… in preparation for our systems third party audits while still running our day to day affairs. I understand comparing my industrial/business setting to academia is not apples to apples and certainly is not the same as responding to an FOI request, but somewhere there has to be accountability for what you do and what you say you do. Academia could use a more standardized system to address the perceived gap in “quality control” those of us in industry understand vs. academia.

      • Hey, figure how much extra it will cost, and raise the taxes on your business. Get’r done.

      • John, I agree. In my industry we used to reckon on 10% to 20% of budget on checking/verifying etc. Money well spent if errors are spotted early.

      • And any of us who have worked in a regulated industry (medical devices regulated by the FDA) know full well transparency, keeping accurate records, and verifying everything we do is a must.

        Climategate revealed not only an attempt to not share data, but practices so shoddy that they would get you fined and perhaps prosecuted in the private sector.

      • And no doubt the budget for this activity was available.

        The (rightly) strict controls on the purse strings for government research grants often mean that the work is pared to the bone. There are no great profits to be ploughed back into future R&D.

        If grant applications were made that included the full costs of maintaining detailed and configuration controlled records then they would be unsuccesful – that’s the game the grant awarding bodies have set up, it’s their rules to protect our public money from being frittered and to ensure they can fund as many projects as possible.

      • John Carpenter

        Right… here’s a grant, now perform your research w/o any quality standards cause there’s no room in the budget for such trivial aspects of doing science…

        that argument holds no water.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Of course the QC takes place at a minimal level during peer review, but at a much more rigorous level *after* publication. If stuff looks fishy on the surface, comments are published (witness the recent comment/response sequence in Nature relating to phytoplankton levels). It also takes place in follow on research relating to questions raised in published papers (Douglass/Santer from 2007/2008 comes to mind immediately, but there are plenty of other examples out there, McLean/Foster is another one). This is how knowledge is developed. Live with it.

      • John Carpenter

        Rattus,

        The QC I’m speaking about is the ability of academics to have research data available for confirmation by those who have to resort to an FOI to get it, not so much the quality of the claim. I am talking about keeping ones “house in order” to the degree that an FOI does not become some massively burdensome undertaking to produce. FOI’s are going to happen…. academic researchers will need to learn to live with it.

      • Rattus :”This is how knowledge is developed. Live with it.”?

        Not very progressive.

      • John “FOI’s are going to happen” – why should they? The only reason for resorting to FOI is because an initial request was improperly denied. Scientists who post their data and meta data in full online should never face an FOI in their lives. Those who don’t should easily be able to follow Craig Loehle’s example.

      • John Carpenter

        TomFP,

        Yes, you are absolutely right. That’s why I said “for those who have to resort to an FOI…”. I totally agree that one should not have to resort to such a tactic in the first place. Craig Loehle’s example is the type of QC housekeeping I have in mind…

      • Latimer Alder

        In which case, both the granters and the grant recipients shouldn’t be too surprised when their work is looked upon with some contempt by those of us who are obliged by law to maintain far higher professional standards.

      • Latimer Alder

        Dear Louise, dear climatologits,

        Please do lots and lots and lots of really s**t work. Ignore any notion of quality – just get your mates to look at it and nod.

        Here’s lots of money. And don’t forget…quantity NOT quality!

        Thank you.

        The Government

      • If you want climate scientists to do all these things, increase the taxes on your business and you income and pay for it.

      • John Carpenter

        Yes of course…. just raise taxes, that’ll fix everything.

      • Adding a statistician to research projects costs money. 100% transparency costs money.

        All these glorious things you guys in private industry say you do so assiduously, cost money.

        U.VA. gets to charge for transparency. Suddenly nobody wants to pay.

      • Transparency should be built into the system. Then it only has to be built once and doesn’t cost nearly as much.

      • John Carpenter

        JCH,

        “All these glorious things you guys in private industry say you do so assiduously, cost money.”

        Yes it does… and we do have to pass some of it on to our customers… and we have to eat some of it. More importantly, it improves our products and services and sets the bar higher for the competition and we reap the rewards of more business because we take care of the quality of our product.

        This mentality should be embraced by academia as well. If it costs a little more for a better quality product… instead of asking for more tax money… raise your tuitions to pay for it…. git’r done.

      • Let’s see if Judy can fit 100% transparency and a statistician for every research project in her existing budget.

      • JCH
        – Adding a statistician to research projects costs money. 100% transparency costs money.

        – Let’s see if Judy can fit 100% transparency and a statistician for every research project in her existing budget.

        Not having a statistician on the team is like a building highway bridge without a structural engineer, you wouldn’t propose it if you were a construction company, and you wouldn’t fund it if you were a roading agency.

        Why should climate science adopt lesser standards? Perhaps the stakes aren’t so high.

      • Science gets some amount of funding. It’s justified to expect that science uses that funding efficiently. Adding to systematic QC is off from something else. Being too sloppy with quality is counterproductive and reduces efficiency, but so does also overemphasizing QC.

        For the pure science the main form of QC is that provided by the peer control of the science community. For the efficient progress of pure science it’s important that the publication barrier is not too high and that also uncertain results can be published. Often a publication that is partially wrong, but has an important novel idea at the same time, is a very important driver of scientific progress.

        The procedures of pure science are certainly not perfect, but their present form has also good reasons in earlier experience. Technological progress and the possibility to publish electronically both papers themselves and supporting material (including original data) offers new possibilities that have not yet been utilized as well as they could. Publishing raw data is now often easy, while it was earlier totally impractical. This should lead to wider availability of data within pure science.

        The applied research is in many ways different. The science influences the society mostly through a layer of applied research. Developing a new medicine is applied research. Also producing scenario based projections of future changes in climate for the use in decision making is applied research. The same scientists are often involved in both pure and applied research, but they don’t always realize that clearly themselves. Formalized QC is commonly required from the applied research.

        The problem with climate science is that the basic science has not progressed so far that it could provide for the applied research sufficient basis for making analysis with full QC of all essential steps. The big climate models are an essential tool, but they are still not at the level, where they could be validated against reliable data on real Earth system.

        When not doing anything is a decision to the same extent than taking some specific action, the decision makers are forced to choose on the basis of incomplete knowledge. Presently we are witnessing, how differently politicians have reacted in different parts of the world and how far their views are on, what should be done.

      • John Carpenter

        Pekka,

        You and I have been over this ground before. I agree with most of what you say. I disagree that when I advocate for QC in research, either applied or pure, it is an over emphasis. There has to be an emphasis to begin with. Some researchers are better than others with their QC practices, but there is no consistency or standard or guidelines for them to work from.

        The idea that the current system “is what it is” and “has worked for good or bad” over the years is a weak argument wrt keeping good QC practices and is often the very first words uttered from the mouth of someone who knows their system needs improving.

        QC needs to be built into the process from the start, it really has nothing to do with whether the work produced for publication is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The goodness of the work will be tested by those who try to reproduce the result…. but they have to be able to do that.

        When research results are finally published… that is when the QC work (done in parallel with the research itself) becomes important. If the research group has done a good job of keeping the work organized, through proper QC practices, they will be able to respond to inquiries quickly, efficiently and with even higher level of confidence. This, in turn, increases the confidence of all the parties involved. Confidence in the results is what we are after.

        We should not have to rely solely on whether a research group knows how to implement good QC practices or not… we could have a standardized minimum set of requirements that everyone adheres to for proper record-keeping… this is what I mean by QC.

      • John,
        I think that much of our disagreement is based on having different kind of research in mind.

        Quality is an essential part of all research. When describing, how science differs from some other activities to my students, I have often emphasized first that in scientific research all results must be put under doubt and their justification analyzed systematically. In engineering it may be enough to find a solution that works, but in science it might be essential to analyze, whether the method is the best possible and to find evidence for that.

        The first thing to learn for a beginning scientist is being critical to all own ideas and results. There is a close connection between this attitude and QC, but there isn’t necessary any formalized QC methodology available that would help.

      • John Carpenter

        Pekka,

        Fair enough… I actually think we are closer to agreement on this issue than it appears in our dialogue.

      • Come off it, JCH.
        Just the fuel tax taken from twenty or thirty average people in the UK would more than pay a full-time statistician’s salary.

      • I’m not arguing not to do it. Do it. Fine with me.

        But I suspect you don’t want to pay for it. So let’s do the American thing and send the bill to our Grandkids.

      • No need to raise taxes. Just swap some climatology work for some statististics work, ie exchange some quantity for some quality.

  9. The US FOI Act of 1966 arose during the Vietnam conflict precisely because the US Government and portions of the US Military were hiding information which if released, cast Governmental officials and some in the military in a bad light. These were not “State” secrets, just biases, politics, “spinning” the news and just maybe a few white lies here and there. Fast forward to November 2009, we learn that FOI requests were obfuscated or denied by climate scientists because if revealed, documents would show: biases, politics, “spinning” the news, and just maybe unorthodox handling of data. In both the Vietnam conflict era and the catastrophic climate change era holding officials and publicists accountable for what is said and done plays a large role in members of the public wanting selected information, especially when those members of the public are otherwise publicly ridiculed, are held up to scorn or their ideas discounted. A lot of people would love to hit their bully in the chops. And, if that bully has wrapped themselves in the flag, the Constitution, religious shrouds, or, god forbid, academic freedom, there are a lot of people from both sides on the side-lines cheering them on. Climate scientists can save themselves a lot of sleepless nights by adapting to the new communication mediums, pick one, and then show your work, warts and all.

  10. The FOI issue does raise some thorny points, and it seems like UK law would be improved if it was more like US FOIA law in several respects, including exclusion of research in progress.

    And then what’s to stop the climate scientists from just replying that their work isn’t done?

    • Once they publish, then that piece of work is done. If they don’t publish, then that is fine by me as it can’t be referenced by others, such as the IPCC.

      • Further- if they comment on their work or preliminary findings or use it in anyway to back any position (before it’s completed) then it’s fair game.

      • So you admit that this FOI business is just a “game” …

        Thanks!

      • It’s only a ‘game’ to the extent that trying to extract the truth from the entrenched frauds in the climate establishment like Mann and Jones who are dong their level best to stop the truth from emerging, is a ‘game’.

      • “If they don’t publish……….it can’t be referenced by others such as the IPCC.”

        WRONG! Have you read the IAC report of its review of IPCC’s procedures?
        One of the several significant problems revealed by this review was
        use of unpublished and non-peer-reviewed material which had not been critically evaluated or flagged as such. This seems to have been a polite way of saying that IPCC authors were at liberty to write their own material (neither peer-reviewed nor published) which they then proceded to cite as “evidence” without flaging the nature of the material.

  11. The numbers game played by the worst offenders are pretty disingenuous, IMO. If you get 40 FOIA requests that could actually be satisfied by one generous response, counting it as 40 is ridiculous.

    I would agree that in process research should be off limits until it is published, but that should NOT be allowable as a reason to decline to provide data that was also used in a previous published paper. Which is a common occurrence, from what I’ve read.

    Too many scientists have tried to treat data collected largely or completely at public expense as their personal retirement plan for the next twenty years or so.

  12. The way I look at this issue, since the solutions to AGW involve us living under a leftist global government that is going to manage the world’s resources (and hence by proxy, the world’s economies), redistributing our wealth to the world, handing over our high tech and high tech know-how to the world (things the NIEO wanted), then every single bit of work they (climate scientists) do on this issue has to be available to the public before the switch to this egalitarian socialist hell occurs.

  13. Response to Bruce,

    I am actually in more than one group – tenured faculty holding my own in grants and teaching 3 to four undergraduate courses – and mentoring grad students, honours students and training my own assistants. Add to that the “service to the university” that all faculty are expected to do – which means both departmental and university level committees. And I am not, by far, the busiest prof that I know – sometimes I take whole weekends off! But you get the point, most profs’ work days are completely filled.

    I appreciate John Carpenter’s point vis a vis quality control and standardization. Peer review of grant applications and publications is supposed to provide that. Not perfect, but when it works, it works well.

    • Stirling English

      Tough.

      I assume you find time in your busy schedule to cash your government pay cheque.

      Then you can find time to comply with the law.

      Being busy at other stuff is not an excuse outside academe. I see no reason why it should be inside the ivory tower. And if your university schedule is structured to make it difficult, restructure it! You are a senior member of staff, not an undergraduate or bog cleaner.

    • Andy Park post #1 “Most of us in academia have never seen such a thign as an administrative assistant.”

      Andy Park post #2 “and mentoring grad students, honours students and training my own assistants.”

      • John Carpenter

        Bruce, to be fair to Andy… when he speaks of assistants in your post #2, he is likely refering to teaching assistants (TA’s) who help with his undergraduate teaching or research assitants who help with research vs. an administrative assistant, post #1, who would functions more like a “secretary”. Cut him a little slack ;)

      • I know what TA’s and RA’s do. Secretaries usually have a better work environment and some sort of job security.

        Maybe Andy’s are too busy picking up his dry cleaning?

      • “We found several issues that affected graduate assistants which we made a priority to fix:”

        “7. Clarification of what “work” means

        Many assistants were being asked to do jobs and duties outside of their job descriptions; assistants should not be asked to pick up dry cleaning, get faculty or staff coffee, mow lawns, or other tasks; research assistants should not be asked to help faculty prepare a class; teaching assistants should not be asked to perform administrative tasks in department offices.”

        http://gaunited.org/2010/11/09/bargaining-update/

  14. I had all my emails with a handful of coauthors FOI’d last year. The law in Ontario exempts academic emails from release but I still had to put the archive together and supply it to a university staff member so she could go through them and confirm that they were exempt. I can sympathize with academics who face vexatious requests for computer records.

    However, I dislike the narrative that makes the CRU out to be innocent victims of a harassment campaign. The timeline in the Climategate emails shows this completely misrepresents history. I set out the timeline in detail in paragraphs 48 to 62 of my submission to Muir Russell. From 2002 up to winter 2005 Jones received 2 requests for a list of WMO station identifiers so others could replicate his gridcell records, but not for the data itself. The climategate emails (especially from winter 2005) show that his determination not to release data or station IDs predated most requests for the data, even though he was prepared to share his data with colleagues he liked. The increasingly determined sequence of requests for data identifiers, culminating in the requests for the text of confidentiality agreements in the summer of 2009, were a result of a policy of data secrecy CRU adopted years earlier, not the cause of it.

    • > The increasingly determined sequence of requests for data identifiers, culminating in the requests for the text of confidentiality agreements in the summer of 2009, were a result of a policy of data secrecy CRU adopted years earlier, not the cause of it.

      CRU Made Us Do It.

      • Yes they did. CRU kept insisting that the world must change, but they wouldn’t show their work. They had a choice, don’t screw around with the people of the world and they won’t screw around with you. But CRU chose to screw around with the world and, having picked the fight, they were appalled to learn that the world would fight back.

        Yes, in fact, CRU made them do it.

      • Latimer Alder

        Not only appalled, but affronted that anybody who wasn’t a climatologist would have the sheer b****y effrontery to call their bluff and hold them to the Law.

        ‘Surely FoI is only for little people, not for CRU’….as somebody once nearly said in another context.

  15. This is another place where you have to look at the details. For state universities in the US, the STATE FOIA law applies. For example, in VA to file an FOIA request you have to be a state resident. The research exemption is not universal across all states.

    It should be noted that UVa is being quite evenhanded in this. They stiff armed Greenpeace as well. Also, AFAEK, there is no FOIA law anywhere that requires that the author of the documents explain what they did

  16. ferd berple

    What do we call a paper than is published without supporting data or methods, that has not been independently confirmed? A hockey stick.

    If cold fusion had gotten the same free ride, we would now be investing hundreds of billions of dollars in cold fusion rather than wind millions. Anyone care to predict which will prove the more cost effective solution to global warming? I’ve got the answer here on my computer model. I know it is right because it gives the exact same answer I expected to see.

  17. Its not working, is it? The problem with the tactic of denying information and protesting is that no-one believes it any more. So it makes the communication and sales problem worse and worse. The general public concludes that there must be something wrong or they would release it all.

    What this is doing, its producing ever more skepticism about AGW and climate science. You cannot get there from here. The only solution is to publish the lot, immediately. It then might be that all kinds of holes will emerge. But trying to keep it all secret is not going to work either.

    You cannot avoid the conclusion that climate science is really in crisis. It is destroying itself as a credible discipline by the public conduct of its most aggressive advocates.

    • Stirling English

      William Tyndale was the first to translate the bible into common English so that ‘common people’ could read it directly, not needing the intercessions of the established church and the fat, dumb and happy priests. Until then the gospels were only available in Latin, inaccessible to the common man,

      This was a revolutionary move, and resisted by the church as it threatened all their power and influence. If an ordinary man could read the bible without the church, what future for their power and influence?

      The parallels with FoI in climatology are there. The influential scientists wishing to remain as the keepers of the sacred flame. The contempt for those outside their clique. Their belief that they are ipso facto above the law and should have special privileges. And a whole panoply of establishment figures and processes hellbent on supporting their status and power.

      But once the metaphorical genie was out of the bottle, it could never be replaced. The English bible could not be suppressed.

      Same with FoI. The law will come to get them, however much they wriggle and squeak about their privileges. It might take time, but it will get there in the end.

    • Michel – CAGW has been a dead horse for quite some time. Even Obama only mentions climate change as one of many many problems (all of them , long-term stuff).

      Our duty is to facilitate people becoming aware of such an obvious fact, and to isolate the hysterical voices that risk inspiring some “Osama bin Carbon” in the not-so-distant future (“no pressure”, etc). FOI requests will hopefully inspire Universities to publish their data before anybody asks, and that is a good step in the “awareness” campaign.

  18. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, I begin to despair. If I were to make the claim that “some skeptics were being targeted …” or that “the intention of many of those responding to freedom of information requests was …”, your first and very reasonable response would be to ask for, you know, facts. Observations. Names of the scientists in question. Information on how I might know what people’s intentions are when I’ve never met them. That kind of thing, the normal scientific properly skeptical response.

    But instead, you swallow the same absolutely unscientific claims from Sir Somebody Orother and from Bob Ward, and comment on their words as though they had actually said something.

    Judith, they said nothing. They waved their hands and made vague claims that somebody somewhere was being mean to somebody somewhere else. Ooooh, tell them to stop …

    Again I have to say, you need to get away from your ivory tower. If Sir Somebody Orother actually has information on targeted scientists, he needs to either back up his claims or STFU, not wave his hands and make unsubstantiated insinuations of wrongdoing. If Bob Ward has keen insights into my intentions as someone who filed an FOI, and the intentions of others who did the same, he needs to explain how he divined our intentions, not merely claim that he knows why people do things.

    And you need to up your game. I hate to be blunt, but you’re not paying attention, you are playing way below your abilities. You are not applying your sharp intellect to see through their uncited allegations. You can’t simply accept vague foggy claims that “somebody done somebody wrong” and treat them as though they were real, it makes you look as foolish as Sir Orother.

    w.

    • Willis

      It’s actually “Sir Something”, not “Sir Orother” as Sirs should be addressed by their first name.

      ps I’m starting to believe that the Nobel Prize is a bad omen, greatly hampering further scientific contributions.

      • “ps I’m starting to believe that the Nobel Prize is a bad omen, greatly hampering further scientific contributions”

        Nobel Prize is now all political, nothing else traditions.

    • Willis, you misunderstand what I am up to. When I post something here, my primary intention is to open the topic up for discussion. I personally comment on things that I find interesting or controversial, or something for which I can contribute my personal knowledge or experience. I make no attempt to debunk or verify every statement that someone else makes in an article that I post. That would take too much time and frankly would be boring to the reader IMO. If somebody asks me a personal question in the comments about what I think about a specific statement, I usually reply (if I don’t reply, it is most likely because I missed the comment or was very busy).

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Judith, you misunderstand what you are up to, and you totally underestimate the power that you are wielding these days. You are no longer throwing something up on the blackboard for your students to discuss. You have a much wider reach, and with that come wider responsibilities.

        When you give prominence to vague, unsubstantiated claims, and then proceed to discuss them as if they were real, you are not merely “opening the topic for discussion”.

        You are giving those people a free ride, along with giving them your implicit approval. No, you don’t need to “debunk or verify every statement”. But those statements that you do discuss, like the unsubstantiated allegations of Bob Ward and Sir Somebody, you definitely need to consider carefully. The Judith Curry stamp of approval has to mean something. You are debasing the brand.

        Because otherwise, as in this case, you are implicitly approving of their un-cited, unsubstantiated accusations. If Bob Ward’s claims are important enough for all of us to discuss, then surely they are important enough for you to ask Bob to back them up with something other than hot air.

        Instead, somehow that becomes the reader’s job, and you get to wash your hands like Pontius Pilate and claim total innocence as you have just done? I don’t think so.

        Yes, you are free to do that, Judith. You can post up uncited claims and discuss them as if they were real observations or actual, data rather than verbal froth. And yes, you can depend on others to ask the hard questions.

        But no, you can’t do that and at the same time claim to be a scientist. Sorry. Scientists ask the hard questions, they request citations and evidence and data, even from their friends and people that they have reason to believe. Like the bumpersticker says …

        “Friends don’t let friends post uncited.”

        Take a lesson from what Steve McIntyre did in this very thread. He invited Bob Ward to put his money where his mouth is. We’ll see if Bob does that, or if it’s hot air all the way to the ground.

        You, on the other hand, did nothing of the sort. Instead, you gave Bob Ward an prominent place by quoting his nonsense as if it were real, and asked nothing of him in return.

        I can tell you which is the scientific approach of those two … and so can you. If you want to continue to be considered a scientist, YOU have to start asking the hard questions, and not depending on me and Steve McIntyre and others to do so. That kind of “I’m just bringing it up for discussion” claim might work fine in the classroom with 19 year old kids. And in that arena, you get to play the judge, often there’s no reason or requirement that you declare your own beliefs. Indeed, in the classroom being too strong about your own beliefs can interfere with your students’ ability to learn on their own and make their own mistakes.

        Out here in the real world, however, not taking a stand doesn’t make you look like an impartial scientist or an excellent teacher. It just makes you look weak and deceptive, because (whether you have noticed or not) when you post someone else’s claim and make no attempt to investigate it, you are implicitly backing up and supporting that claim.

        I don’t think that you are weak or deceptive, Judith. And I do think you are in fact a scientist. I just wish you’d start acting like one, rather than blindly posting up the claims of people who are making outrageous assertions without offering even a shred of evidence, and then washing your hands of the matter.

        w.

      • Jeff Norris

        Mr. Eschenbach
        I enjoy your posts over at WUWT but I feel you are asking Dr. Curry to be more of an advocate or at least assume the role of a referee. I suspect the power you claim she has is based on the fact she tries very hard to stay away from strong advocacy by being polite and avoiding he said she said games. She welcomes advocates to comment and I think her willingness to respond to most questions is remarkable. My perception is that opponents are more tolerant of criticism in the ranks which is a good thing. Demanding someone is either with us or against us is surely a bad thing.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        If I had been talking to you, Jeff, your response would make sense.

        But I was addressing Dr. Curry, and I await her response. You attempting to answer for her, and put words in her mouth, does neither of you any good.

        Finally, I didn’t demand that Judith be “with us or against us”, nor that she be an advocate or a referee. I merely note that Judith has to be either “with science or against science”, and in this case, near as I can tell she’s in the “against” camp.

        And I also noted that if she posts uncited claims up and then discusses them as if they were real, she is tacitly supporting those claims.

        So how about you let Judith respond to those issues for herself?

        w.

      • Jeff Norris

        Mr. Eschenbach
        My apologies for daring to opine on your comment in what I thought was a fairly freewheeling an open forum. I don’t think I was trying to put words in her mouth but in fairness you could claim I was in yours. I fully agree that if someone in Authority makes a claim they should be pressured to show some evidence to support it. My opinion is that it would be unreasonable to expect Dr. Curry to take on that role on all matters relating to Climate even if she does write a post on it. Mr. Ward is a paid shill, Nurse is probably more politician than Scientist now, you don’t get a Sir or Dame without knowing the right people. If Ward’s or Nurse’s opinion were more scientific or if I felt Dr. Curry was more of an advocate I would agree that she should be very questioning of sources even with which she agrees.
        Regardless I still look forward to reading your posts and value your insight.

      • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

        While I will leave Willis to express his own views, which I must say I admire and respect highly, I will add mine here.

        I do not expect Dr. Curry to “take on that role on all matters relating to Climate even if she does write a post on it”.

        But to the point, she should stand always for *SCIENCE*, which is to say she should not publish, here or elsewhere, drivel that is clearly *NOT SCIENCE* without challenging it, or directly stating that she is not supporting it.

      • Willis I have to say that, as I read them, JC’s reporting of Nurse/Ward’s pathetic blatherings did not appear to come with her approval. Perhaps I’m biased. Like you I wish she were more forthright in condemning outright this sort of twaddle, but that’s not the same as thinking she approves of it.

        And Judith – Willis has a point about realising the weight this forum has acquired. I sense often that you feel the need to blunt your criticism to “keep it nice”. Sooner or later, phrases like “x is not helpful, IMO” will have to be replaced with the like of “x is atrocious science, and should be rejected by any right-thinking scientist”.

        Back in Dec 09 I wrote to you, predicting that repairing your profession would require you to get down and dirty in a way you might find uncongenial. That time has been upon you for some time now.

      • Jeff, thank you for your response, it is right on target. If this is a place that Bob Ward feels comfortable coming to post a comment, that is great. The alternative is the little exercise at engaging Wolff over at Bishop Hill, that didn’t go so well in terms of meaningful engagement before Wolff got disgusted and tuned out.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | May 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

        Jeff, thank you for your response, it is right on target. If this is a place that Bob Ward feels comfortable coming to post a comment, that is great.

        Judith, there are other criteria in this world other than Bob Ward feeling comfortable coming here. All that means, as I said upthread, is that you are not asking him the hard questions.

        Is that what you want, Judith? A bunch of academics here being nice to each other, with the atmosphere oh-s0-collegiate, and nobody talking about the elephant in the room?

        Bob Ward is comfortable posting lots of places, Judith. If you really want to be listed among them, why, pull out the sofas, pass out the tweed jackets with the elbow patches, pour some good-but-not-great wine, and we can all have a cheery time swapping college stories by the fireplace and saying that skeptics are bad people.

        Then all you need to do is censor the replies, and you’ll have your own RealClimate, where Bob Ward would be extremely comfortable.

        If Bob Ward is “comfortable” here, Judith, you’re not doing your job. Do you think that science is about being “Ms. Nice Gal”. It is not. If this were real science, we’d all be uncomfortable here.

        Science is not about “comfort”. It is about putting your ideas out there in public and defending them against people who think that they are wrong. It is about asking the hard questions, and about answering the hard questions. And answering hard questions is not comfortable at all.

        Bob Ward is actively seeking to tear down stuff that I think is important. His ideas are important, simply because they are dangerous. His comfort, however, is immaterial to me.

        Your unwillingness, not just to ask him the hard questions, but to ask him any questions at all, must give him great comfort.

        Is his comfort really what you are after, given the price you are paying for it?

        And if not … start asking the hard questions.

        w.

      • Willis, you really don’t get it. I don’t have any questions to ask Bob Ward, I barely know who he is. If you have questions, you ask him.

      • “If you have questions, you ask him.” Willis, earlier in your tirade you opined that JC doesn’t seem to understand quite what a blog is. I think it may be you that has this disadvantage.

        As someone who loves your tirades, I am mystified that you should devote so much time to shooting the messenger, when it could be more profitably (and entertainingly) employed attacking the message, and those who created it.

        I seriously doubt if any regular visitor to this blog inferred Judith’s endorsement of Ward’s pabulum. We know Judith’s style, and that she is as disinclined to vituperation as you are (mercifully) prone to it. Whether we would prefer her style to be less anodyne is beside the point, which is that it’s HER style, it is pretty consistent, and we know it well enough not to infer endorsement of every silly remark she refers to in her posts.

        FFS lay off Judith and get stuck into Ward.

      • Willis, I will say it one more time. Everything featured in my posts, especially when quoted or cited from other articles, is not something that I personally agree with or support. Sometimes I flat out disagree, other things I personally do not know sufficiently to stand in judgement. My personal opinion on issues is provided on topics that I view to be important, or for which I have substantial personal expertise, or for which I have been otherwise motivated to investigate. The discussion on the threads sorts through the controversial issues and provides added insights. And I do not conduct scientific research about the veracity of individual scientist’s statements about the behaviour of another group of scientists.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Can you explain a bit more about the comment regarding gmail and in-person conversations?
        If I misunderstood you, I would like to apologize.

      • Over the everyday course of being human, we have informal exchanges with colleagues and friends, some of which are emotional and off the cuff. There is no reason that such exchanges need to be documented for the public record. How is having such discussions after working hours on a gmail account inappropriate? On the other hand, email exchanges regarding the IPCC deliberations are in an entirely different category, there should be a careful record kept by the lead authors of the main deliberations.

      • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

        “How is having such discussions after working hours on a gmail account inappropriate?”

        It is inappropriate to the extent such discussions include items related to, based upon, or relevant to research that is funded by the people, for the people’s benefit. Just because one is outside “working hours” (please define which these are – i.e. do you have contracted working hours Dr. Curry?), does not mean one can assume any privacy when the discussion is related to the work one is paid, by the public, to conduct.

        As an analogy, I may not, “after working hours”, take the knowledge that I have been paid for, by my company, to develop a product and then sell on the market as if I owned that intellectual property.

        The time of day that I do work does not change the ownership of that work.

      • This country is taking transparency to the edge of paralysis. This place was built on smoke, cigars, and back rooms.

      • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

        “This place was built on smoke, cigars, and back rooms.”

        Yes, all prior to the huge amounts of taxpayer $s funneled to universities for research. We can easily go back to the smoke, cigars, and back rooms by simply cutting 100% of US government funding for research.

        When one observes such blatant lack of integrity demonstrated almost daily by *scientists*, it does quite appealing.

      • Bad Andrew

        “My personal opinion on issues is provided on topics that I view to be important, or for which I have substantial personal expertise, or for which I have been otherwise motivated to investigate.”

        Dr. Curry,

        Evidently you weren’t motivated to investigate AGW either, before you decided to devote yourself to it.

        Andrew

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Judith, thanks for your reply. You say:

        Willis, I will say it one more time. Everything featured in my posts, especially when quoted or cited from other articles, is not something that I personally agree with or support. Sometimes I flat out disagree, other things I personally do not know sufficiently to stand in judgement. My personal opinion on issues is provided on topics that I view to be important, or for which I have substantial personal expertise, or for which I have been otherwise motivated to investigate. The discussion on the threads sorts through the controversial issues and provides added insights.

        Unfortunately, you are overlooking a fundamental difference between a blog and a classroom.

        In a classroom, if you put someone’s provocative statement up on the board and say absolutely nothing about it, the students will assume that it is there for purposes of discussion.

        On a blog, if you put someone’s provocative statement up as a post and say absolutely nothing about it, people passing by and stopping to read will assume that you support the statement.

        That’s the reality, Judith, whether you like it or not, and whether you “say it one more time” or not. And reasonably so. If someone said to you “Judith, I just posted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion without comment, but that doesn’t mean that I believe them”, you’d laugh that person out of town. But that’s exactly what you are claiming here. And in the real world, that dog won’t hunt.

        And I do not conduct scientific research about the veracity of individual scientist’s statements about the behaviour of another group of scientists.

        Oh, please. When a scientist is going all boo-hoo about some unspecified transgressions against some unspecified people at some unspecified time and place, asking for supporting details before discussing the ethics and implications of the supposed occurrence is not “conducting scientific research” about their statements. It is simply bozo, grade-school level fact checking designed to keep you from looking foolish. Heck, it’s not even fact checking, they haven’t given a fact to check …

        If I came in and said “Judith, could you please give some space in a head post to my claim that some skeptics are getting harassed by excessive FOI requests”, what would you say?

        Seriously, Judith, what would you say?

        You’d say “Which skeptics are those, Willis”. And you’d be 100% justified to do so.

        And more to the point, you’d be 100% foolish not to ask for details. But instead you post up Sir Somebody’s claim with not so much as a lifted eyebrow.

        My advice? Before you post, write on your blackboard one hundred times, “The web is not the classroom. If I disagree with something I quote, I need to either say so or not quote it.”

        Finally, I regret that I speak so harshly. But you truly are out of your element here, and it shows, and not to your credit. I want to shock you, to wake you up. Your voice is important in this debate, but you are not doing what you think you are doing, and you’re not doing your homework. Why should we have to be the ones to ask for the details? We’re not your students.

        Here’s the crazy part. The CRU is once again, right now, doing the exact same thing they did to me and others that led to Climategate. They are using made-up, bogus excuses to deny a Steve McIntyre’s simple request for data.

        And you have time and blog space to put up, unquestioned, Sir Somebody’s claim that the problem is too many FOIs? Too many? Really, that’s the problem? Not lying and evasion of FOIs, but too many FOIs?

        Until the AGW supporters stop with the evasions, you are going to see FOIs. So enough with calling the whaa-ambulance for Sir Somebody’s unspecified scientists who have to respond to FOIs. I have no sympathy for them at all. They said nothing when the FOIs were evaded before. They said nothing about Climategate. Now it’s happening again, and they are still saying nothing.

        And then you want to publicize that Sir Somebody and Bob Ward are crying for the poor scientists at CRU and others getting FOIs … cry me a river, fools. The scientists made their bed, they didn’t speak out against FOI evasion before, they stayed schtumm about Climategate. CRU is doing it again and they have lockjaw.

        And now they’re drowning in FOIs? Good. I hope they choke on them. I’m sick of the evasion, and seeing it happen twice is infuriating. But I’m much sicker of climate scientists not speaking out against this reprehensible behavior. The first time, I could kinda understand mainstream AGW scientists staying quiet about the illegal or unethical evasion of FOIs. This time, I have absolutely no sympathy for them at all.

        The real victim in this, the first casualty as always in war, is the truth. CRU is once again hiding adverse results. The truth is not known because the AGW supporters have it hidden away like some insane uncle living in the attic that no one mentions.

        How ’bout you get irate about that, Judith? Because when you not only don’t get irate about people evading FOIs, but you publish without comment denigrating anecdotes about the use of FOIs and about those of us who have filed them , anecdotes that are fact-free (but vehement) ravings from the AGW faithful, I have to wonder how serious you are about honest science. I mean, I really want to believe that you are serious about transparency and good science, but when you publish and give prominence to gutter mouthings with absolutely nothing to back them up, that kind of yellow journalism makes it hard to take you seriously …

        w.

      • Willis, my target audience is serious, well educated people that spend some time in the technical climate blogosphere. It is not people that do drive-by’s and then take what is written here out of context. Since I’ve started the blog, I am not aware that I have been seriously misinterpreted in the blogosphere (unlike the days of pre-Climate Etc., when I was misinterpreted across the spectrum, from Romm to Morano.) So for the most part, people who bother to stop by here have figured out what I am up to.

        Guess what Willis, unlike you I don’t get “irate”. I try to look at both sides of the issue, open it up for discussion. I have spoken out many many times in support of increasing transparency in data and methods, in case you’ve missed it. Exactly where do you think I said anything that was sympathetic to the people who are evading or feel victimized by FOI’s? Exactly nowhere.

        You are welcome to your rants. Don’t expect me to do the same, or spend oodles of time digging into the latest of who did what. I am not up to speed on all the latest stuff, I leave that to Steve McIntyre, David Holland et al. I am focused on other things. I will speak out on general principles, and have numerous times.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Judith.

        You might think that starting a post about Freedom of Information with a quotation of a Nobel Laureate making unsupported accusations is “looking at both sides”. You might think it is “opening it up for discussions” to repeat Bob Ward’s accusations without comment. I’m just telling you what it looks like from out here.

        When you post someone’s accusations (“… these people do not care about the fact that it is causing a serious inconvenience …”) without comment, Judith, you are taking a side.

        I know you don’t want to hear that. It seems you don’t understand that. But you are taking a side. You are repeating scurrilous accusations with no foundation. That’s not science, that’s just repeating baseless gossip.

        I don’t like that. I don’t like you posting someone’s accusations that I and others are acting in bad faith or that I don’t care about the inconvenience. That is not acceptable.

        I’m sorry if I’m having a hard time explaining this. But you can’t publish those kinds of accusations without comment. It is irresponsible to do so. You are taking sides when you do that. It is as far from science as you can get.

        w.

      • Willis, I guess you missed my comments at the end of the post.

      • Rick Emery

        To All,
        I am enither a climate scientist, but I come to Dr. curry’s site because I know that she will almost have thought-provoking stories available. I can’t say that I fully comprehend all the technical aspects, but it has led me to carry out research in an attempt to better understand the subject. (And it’s normally a hell of a lot easier to understand than Lucia’s posts on the Blackboard!)
        Now, with respect to the story at hand, I did not receive any sense of Dr. Curry either endorsing or condemning the persons mentioned in the story. I personally think that is the best course. Leave it to the reader to determine the truth, instead of telling them what to believe. With that in mind, I agree with those who chastise Bob Ward and Sir Paul. I QC data exhaustively before it’s turned over to my customers because they use it to make decisions that could potentially cost millions of dollars, or result in pilots dying. I expect nothing less than that when the cost could be in the trillions of dollars, and I have no patience or sympathy with whiners who don’t want to be held accountable.

        To Dr. Curry,

        As far as this layman is concerned, you provide a note of sanity in the three-AGW circus that is sorely needed. Keep up the good work.

      • Actually, Willis, I think a blog can also be a backboard whether the teacher puts up a controversial comment, without her own implied or explicit dis/agreement.

        Sometimes Climate Etc is like that. But sometimes the teacher does weigh in. I think most of the class can tell the difference.

        And anyway the teacher lets anyone praise or criticise anything they like….

      • “Instead, somehow that becomes the reader’s job, and you get to wash your hands like Pontius Pilate and claim total innocence as you have just done? I don’t think so”

        I think we both know that this gets done at many places where work is put up for readers to debunk.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        mosh, if the claim were put up there and some comment were made that the readers were to debunk it, that might be possible.

        But Judith has posted Bob Wards’s comment that “these people” (you and I and David Holland and Steve McIntyre) are just out to cause trouble (““… these people do not care about the fact that it is causing a serious inconvenience …”).

        She has not asked anyone to debunk it. In fact, she has posted it entirely without comment.

        So where are you getting the part about how it is “put up for readers to debunk”.

        w.

      • That’s how we do things here. People who come here quickly realize Judith’s style. Much the same way people realize the style at other places.

        Now, to be sure, there are some cheap shot artists who come here and slag her for posting skeptical stuff, as if we are going to catch stupidity on contact. Now I see you doing the same thing from the other side, so it would be inconsistent of me not to disagree with you as I disagree with them.

        It’s like some of the posts done at WUWT. Posts do not reflect the views of the owner, neither do comments. Silence does not mean consent. Like you I put my name to my views. I take Judth to be the same kind of person. She doesnt need to attack or comment on every piece of nonsense. There’s not enough time in the day.

        If she posts the words of someone else and is silent about them. I assume : she doesnt care or doesnt know. I dont assume she agrees. and I dont assume that people catch stupidity on contact.
        I read the mails, and I’m still bright. sort of.

      • Yup.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, mosh.

        So your explanation for repeating ugly unverified rumors is “that’s how we do things here”?

        Does your momma know you are doing that? Because my momma used to bust me for exactly that, spreading ugly rumors without verifying them.

        So thanks, but I’ll pass. You and Judith can spread all the rumors you want, far and wide, and you can explain it to your mommas. I haven’t yet found a good enough explanation for such unpleasant behavior to satisfy my momma, so I’ll let this chance go by.

        And no, it’s not like the posts done at WUWT. Yes, the guest posters may not agree with Anthony and vice versa. But nobody I know of at WUWT is posting unverified rumors in the hope that the readers will a) notice and b) straighten them out.

        Finally, as I said before, in posting up unverified rumors, silence does indeed mean consent. If I post up some whack-job’s views without comment, I am actively spreading those views.

        Perhaps actively spreading someone’s views doesn’t imply consent on your planet. On mine it sure does.

        w.

      • Willis Eschenbach,

        As I ask immediately below, out of order on this thread apparently,

        How does “With regards to the issue of of FOI requests being made to slow down research progress. I seriously doubt that is anyone’s motivation who is making these requests; it seems like they want to see the information, and they have a legal right to do so.”

        equate with consent to the claims you object to?

      • Not that you’ll learn anything from it, but here goes:

        We probably agree in principle on a lot of things, but your self-righteously confrontational, perennially peeved style of expressing yourself has so thoroughly alienated me that you’re on my “scroll past” list. One who is interested in sharing his viewpoint rather than just hearing himself speak might reflect on the utility (or lack thereof) of that particular style.

        Just sayin’.

      • Generally speaking I think the harm that comes from unverified rumors is nil. because we all recognize them as rumors and the issue becomes the guy who spoke.
        with bad science it’s far more difficult to undo the damage.

        we know that from the HS.

        Still, since I defend WUWT to be consistent I have to defend a practice I find less onerous.

        And WRT my mom, you’re assuming she survived child birth. bad move.

      • Willis

        I agree with you, we should suppress all reportage of any views you disagree with.

        That way we won’t have to put up with you having to rebut it by dealing to the reporter rather than what was reported.

      • I am not sure I see how

        “Scientists should be able to communicate freely with each other. But if you are a government employee, your written and online records (including emails) are fair game for FOI requests. So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.

        Nurse uses the word ‘useful’ in context of the FOI requests; usefulness is in they eye of the person requesting, and second guessing motives of the requestor can get you in a lot of hot water (e.g. CRU).

        With regards to the issue of of FOI requests being made to slow down research progress. I seriously doubt that is anyone’s motivation who is making these requests; it seems like they want to see the information, and they have a legal right to do so. ”

        can be described as

        “…implicitly approving of their un-cited, unsubstantiated accusations.”

        I took Dr. Curry’s comments as rejecting the comments made by Nurse and Ward about FOIA requests, particularly with respect to the charge that FOIA requests were designed to slow down research. I am no scientist, but I think I have a fairly decent grasp of the English language. And if I wasn’t misled….

        The issue of whether they can even back up their claims is certainly another valid line of inquiry, but rejecting their conclusions, even without investigating their initial assertion, can hardly be called an endorsement of their views.

        By the way, what’s wrong with requesting data and code to “trawl through [it]…looking for problems and errors.” When the stakes are so high, since that isn’t being done during peer review, I sure hope someone is doing it later.

    • Michael Larkin

      Willis,

      I’m on record here and at WUWT for expressing great admiration for your posts, which have taught me, for one, a great deal about the basics of climate science.

      However, on this occasion, I believe you are way out of line in criticising Judith Curry. I’m not falling out with you, and I still admire you, but I think you should apologise for your presumptive and overly aggressive language.

      • David L. Hagen

        Willis
        Affirm Larkin
        Climate Etc. provides a good opportunity to discuss, debate, and oppose foolishness.

  19. I find this whole thing laughable.

    The very idea that a scientist would be intimidated by sharing their data is pathetic in the extreme. In your specific example Dr Curry, i would suggest that your unease was not about the request itself- but more about the worry (understandable) that you may have said or written something you shouldn’t have. This is not the same as what Nurse is trying to suggest.

    If someone requests your data (and you’re in a position to release it- i.e. not under any confidentiality agreements etc) then you answer the FOI as requested. It is a LEGAL obligation and further, exceptionally good scientific process. If you continue to receive FOI’s, then publish your damn data on your website, it’s not rocket science (natch#).

    These scientists are supposed to be professionals but all i end up feeling is acute embarrassment for my profession whenever i read anything like this. The may not like answering FOI’s, they may feel intimidated by them (which is frankly, pathetic) but it is their job and legal responsibility to answer them. Act professional and grow up.
    As for what should be FOI’able? Anything that uses public money and anything that has been used to inform or will inform public policy/spending/decisions should be FOI’able.

    It really is exceptionally simple and it bemuses me no end why we keep dancing around this complete non-issue.

  20. Joe Sixpack

    Dear Climatologists

    It is very simple.

    My taxes have been used to pay you to collect data on my behalf. If you do not feel able to allow me access to that data, I feel no need to continue paying you.

    What you do on your own time is yours. But what you do on my dime is mine.

    Simple.

    • andrew adams

      So you have no problem if I ask HMRC or the IRS to provide me with copies of your tax returns?

      • Michael Larkin

        WTF has that got to do with anything? Tax information about individuals is confidential information, and rightly so. Climate data, especially after publication of analyses of it, is hardly confidential – and you can’t dispute that, when produced by tax-funded institutions, it is paid for by the public. Maybe you don’t want to see what you’ve paid for, but I sure as hell do.

      • andrew adams

        The point is that the “I’ve paid for it so I’ve got a right to it” argument is absurdly simplistic and that there are legitimate reasons why information gathered by public bodies may not be made available to the public.

        I’m not saying that climate data should be confidential in the way as individual’s personal data.

      • Latimer Alder

        Please name some legitimate reasons why work produced by public-funded climatologists should not be public.

      • aa –
        I worked for NASA for over 40 years. I was one of those people who designed, built and operated the spacecraft systems – and ground systems – that provide the data that you’re arguing about being made public. I worked with the scientists to ensure that their instruments were properly built and operated, and that their data was the best it could be and that they got the maximum output from their instruments and the spacecraft – and that it was properly handled, stored and processed on the ground. ALL on the taxpayers dime.

        Things may be different where you live, but in my world for all those years, a scientist was NOT the owner of the data from the instrument s/he conceived, designed, built and operated (all on the taxpayers dime, mind you). S/he had sole usage of that data – until such time as they published the results of said data. After which, the data was, by law and regulation, public domain and available to all comers. Much of the data was made public immediately – even before publication. The data from the Nimbus program (1960’s and 70’s) , for example, was stored in climate controlled warehouses until at least 2006 – and is probably still extant. ALL data from the Landsat program and others is stored in a central facility in Dakota. It is ALL public domain.

        The idea that climate data should be an exception is particularly dumb because climate data is purported to support the re-ordering of the society we all live in. If the data and science are so good that they support that kind of re-ordering of society, then they should be open and transparent to those whose lives would be affected. The fact that climate data and science are hidden is a wonderfully powerful indicator of the flimsiness/uncertainty of the evidence.

      • well, i’m sure if he was paid by the taxpayer to prepare his returns he should not have a problem, but last time I checked we have to do that for free.
        Or we go to jail. So he just might have a problem with that

      • Rick Emery

        Sorry, bad choice of arguments. A private individual’s tax returns are confidential information. A scientist who has accepted funds from the government in the form of a grant agrees that the results are the property of the government, including work product. I can see holding that information back until it is completed and published. However, after that they don’t have a leg to stand on.

        NOTE: for those of you who read my post from last evening, I apologize for the content. The refresh rate on the post window was extremely low, and I was too impatient to properly finish it. Pretty poor QC, eh?

      • andrew adams

        That is nonsense those items are personal information and can only be disclosed to the individual to whom it is about. End of story FOI is very clear on this.

  21. Thank you for discussing this issue Judith.

    Paul Nurse stood shoulder to shoulder with Phil Jones on ‘Hide the Decline’ on the BBC Horizon Program…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/03/has-the-bbc-has-broken-faith-with-the-general-public/

    That generated quite a lot of interests and a 2000 plus comment series of – Climate Etc posts about Hide the Decline.

    He did the same with Freedom of Information (BBC transcript)

    Paul Nurse (voice over): As well as the e-mails, much criticism of Dr Jones centred on his reluctance to hand over data. The team at CRU had been receiving requests under the Freedom of Information Act, also known as FOI requests, for access to their scientific data.

    Phil Jones: Well, we started getting some requests in, in about 2007, and we’d responded to those.

    Paul Nurse: These are Freedom of Information requests…

    Phil Jones: Yes. And they were specifically for basic station temperature data and also for the locatiions of the stations. The situation got a bit worse in July 2009 when we got 60 requests over a weekend.

    Paul Nurse: Over one weekend?

    Phil Jones: Over one weekend, when there was clearly some sort of co-ordination between…

    Paul Nurse: Was that from different people?

    Phil Jones: Different people. But there was clearly some co-ordination of the requests because they each asked for five countries in alphabetical order. I thought at the time it was just to waste our time, in order to deal with these requests and maybe to get the data together.

    Paul Nurse: So this is an interesting dilemma that we have here really, because obviously science is based upon open access to data. But obviously you can also be disrupted by having, if you like, more legalistic attempts to get data or simply trying to waste people’s time. How do you sort of balance that?

    Phil Jones: Well sometimes we get requests and, sometimes not through FOI, just from other scientists, we point them in the right direction as to where they might get the data. But when it became more, sort of, through the FOI, it really then became clear that it was some sort of harrassment.

    Paul Nurse (voice over): This event raises questions about the openness of scientific research. Dr Jones and his team clearly felt persecuted. However, scientists do have to be open with their data.

    It might be useful to think about the Human Genome Project, where similar issues came up about a decade ago, and there was clear discussion about this, and in the public genome sequencing laboratories, a real commitment, dedication to getting that data out into the public as soon as possible. And I think maybe there’s something to be learned from that, for climate science.

    There were at least four independent reviews of the work of CRU. The reports found there was no evidence of dishonesty. They said splicing the temperature data wasn’t misleading, but this technique should have been made plain. They said generally the unit should have been more open. But crucially, they found no evidence of deliberate scientific malpractice.

    This seems to have been the “greatest scientific scandal” that never really took place. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to me at all, why it got blown out of proportion. It makes me wonder whether as scientists, we’re not perhaps well suited to dealing with situations like this, and perhaps let them run out of our control. I mean, the world is changing, the digital world with blogs, with tweets and so on, we’re perhaps not used to dealing with that, not able to cope with the sort of maelstrom of media attention that fell upon UEA during this event. I think there’s something to be learned here. We’ve got to think about how we defend our science, how we project ourselves to the public.

    In the end, the integrity of climate science was not faulted. But somehow a leak of some ten-year-old e-mails did real damage to its reputation. In all the clamour, the science seems to have been left behind. I’ve come to meet James Delingpole, one of those who led the campaign.”

    ——————-

    2 things that jump out to me….

    He allowed Phil Jones to get away with – We responded to those requests…….

    Ie it was a NO, you can’t have the data – does not get adressed..

    Then Paul Nurse states:–

    “But somehow a leak of some ten-year-old e-mails did real damage to its reputation.”

    A clear attempt to mis-represent to the millions of BBC viewers, that the emails were all ten years old, When in fact they were up to a few weeks old, including the latest request for information and refuasl of it..

    Paul Nurse must either know this, and choose to spin it, or is totally ignorant of the whole ‘climategate’ affair.

  22. Jack Hughes

    Scottish blogger Bishop Hill points out some of many errors in Nurse’s claims.

    For example the English FoI act states:

    14 Vexatious or repeated requests.

    (1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious.

    The reality is that the CRU people broke the law.

  23. Judith, It is good to see the interest in the Royal Society’s new study and in the coverage in today’s edition of ‘The Guardian’. However, your abstract at the beginning of your article misses out parts of the article and gives the wrong impression of who said what. For the record, I was responsible for the “money quote”. Here is the final few paras of the article which you omitted:

    Nurse said that scientists were not blameless. At the University of East Anglia, they were too defensive in their responses to freedom of information requests over climate change, but their experience was one among many that highlighted a need for better training for scientists in the most appropriate way to respond to information requests.

    Ward agreed that most universities do not have a very good grasp of the requirements of freedom of information law. But he added that researchers should be able to have confidential conversations with colleagues and researchers in other universities, and that it was increasingly difficult for researchers to do that by email.

    “There’s no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public,” he said. “There’s a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don’t reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they’re doing behind the scenes.”

    He added that the best way for scientists to respond was with more openness. “Scientists are going to have to get used to the idea that transparency means being transparent to your critics as well as your allies. You cannot pick and choose to whom you are transparent,” he said. “Increasingly it is going to be an issue for anyone working in contentious areas. Part of retaining the public’s confidence and trust is transparency and openness, and scientists should accept that that is part of the price of having the people’s trust.”

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Part of retaining the public’s confidence and trust is transparency and openness, and scientists should accept that that is part of the price of having the people’s trust.”

      Rephrase that last bit as

      ‘climatologists must accept that that is part of the price of regaining the people’s trust that they have so spectacularly and stupidly forfeited in the last ten years. They have a mountain to climb, and there is no guarantee that they will reach the summit’

      • I’m am reminded of ULabour’s approach to getting people to trust them … hire more spin doctors.

        Likewise Nurse’s approach to getting people to trust the science … is to attack them for ever doubting the experts …. or as his predecessors so kindly put it:

        “for not taking anyone’s word for it”.

        But from a group of people who repeatedly make claims like: global warming is responsible for increased cold weather, I doubt they would recognise the irony.

    • Bob Ward as usual does not know what he is talking about.

      “most universities do not have a very good grasp of the requirements of freedom of information law.”

      Not true. Most universities have a central administrator whose job it is to inform staff of the procedures and rules and help staff deal with the request. My uni has clear instructions telling me that if I receive a FOI I should forward it to this team. Ward’s own University, LSE, has a detailed web page on the subject, referring to ‘your FOI champion’ and a flowchart of procedures.
      Does he really not know this?

      In the case of UEA of course there is a FOI person who advised CRU how to deal with the requests. The problems arose because Jones “managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit” and tried to persuade others to delete emails relating to Holland’s May 2008 request.

    • Well, Bob, Steve M is self-funded apart from “tip-jar” donations from posters on his site. And I doubt that you can get more transparency than Steve provides. Can you name someone seeking data who has power and money behing him/her, rather than merely integrity, a sense of duty and determination? Nurse hasn’t “named names,” here’s your chance.

    • Steve McIntyre

      Here’s a suggestion to Bob Ward. Write a public letter to the University of East Anglia asking them to forthwith provide me with the Yamal/Polar Urals regional chronology that I requested and the associated lists of sites.

      This is a limited and reasonable request. Not providing it will have two bad consequences for the “community” that Ward purports to represent. Refusing to provide the data not only is evasive, but is perceived by the public as evasive. And each excuse used for the refusal will be probed, thus committing the university to far more work than simply releasing the requested data.

      It’s important that people like Ward and Nurse move beyond pious platitudes urging scientists to be more open and transparent. Pious platitudes have been uttered for two decades.

      On a related topic, Shub Niggurath has observed that IPCC has adopted policies to be even less open and transparent. For the last IPCC report, it was possible for me, as a reviewer, to request a copy of the review comments on the First Draft, for example. IPCC has changed its rules so that they will not be available to me or other reviewers until after the publication of the Report itself.

      • The simple truth is that we all know if the evidence supported their assertions then we wouldn’t need to ask for it. Instead we are repeatedly denied the evidence they say supports their assertions and told instead to accept the unsubstantiated statements of the experts.

        Isn’t it ironic that the Royal Society’s motto is: “Nullius in verba”. This is an adaptation of a quote from Horace, Epistles, book I, epistle 1, line 14, where the Roman poet (First Century BC ) points out that no one is bound to believe in the words of any master (Latin, “Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri” meaning “I am not bound to believe in the word of any master”), that is to say that we must have individual experience and reason in the constitution of our knowledge, without depending upon the citation of authority.

        What Nurse is doing is entirely at odds with the high ideals of the Royal Societies original founders. It’s a scandal that someone so contemptuous of the basis of science ever obtained such a position.

      • Here’s another suggestion.

        In the interests of openess and transparency, the charlatans and snake-oil salesman lurking around in the background of that piece of academic fraud, the Wegman Report, can come forward and tell us exactly what role they played in it.

      • Deep Climate could say who he or she is. That would be open and transparent too. By Michael’s logic, they must be also hiding something.

      • Teddy,

        Sounds like your enthusiasm for transparency just took a dive.

      • Really? I intended the opposite tone.

    • Bob, thanks for your comments and for highlighting additional parts of the interview. My apologies for the misattribution of my favorite quote in the piece, i will correct the main post.

    • Mike Jackson

      I agree with Bob Ward that:
      At the University of East Anglia, they were too defensive in their responses to freedom of information requests over climate change ….
      To say the least! I have made the point elsewhere that their behaviour was reminiscent of a five-year-old caught with his fingers in the cookie jar. In their desperate attempts to avoid releasing the data they gave every impression of someone who has thrown together a collection of bits and pieces which sound plausible and meet their agenda but which they fear will not stand up to close examination.
      Which of us as children has not done something similar?
      That, in a nutshell, is the reason why they are not trusted.
      It is also the reason why those who smelt a rat, as Steven McIntyre did with MBH98, pursued (and still are pursuing) the information. All they had to do was come clean in the first place and there need never have been a problem.
      They fact that they didn’t (and Jones famous “why should I …? reply to Warwick Hughes was a classic example of my Cookie Jar Syndrome) has massively increased the level of skepticism both among reputable climate scientists and among laymen like me who simply do not trust the claims of people who behave in this way. The actual science is no longer relevant because the question that hangs over the whole affair is “what are they hiding?”
      I have always believe that one of the fundamental principles of science is that if someone casts doubt on your conclusions then that is, or is supposed to be, sufficient to –at least — provide your challenger with sufficient evidence to allow him to test your hypothesis. Presumably, as a scientist, you want to get the right answer, though it is apparent that all UEA was interested in was the “right” answer and challenges to that, both here and in the USA, have resulted in obfuscation, deliberate delays (which still continue), ad hominem attacks on those who simply have reservations let alone the outright skeptics, and a united front by some other parts of the scientific community and PR hacks whose financial backing is considerably in excess of anything that the skeptics could even wish for, all aimed at protecting a scientific hypothesis which cannot be tested because those who “own” it refuse to allow such testing and place very obstacle in the way of those who are inclined to disagree.

      • “Presumably, as a scientist, you want to get the right answer.” About 10 years ago, Ian Castles and David Henderson, leaders in statistics and economics, totally discredited the national accounts computer modelling on which all IPCC scenarios are based. (Those who did the modelling for the IPCC were not experienced in this field.) In transcripts of discussions with IPCC staff, several welcomed the Castles-Henderson critique as helping them to get more accurate projections. But it was clear that this would lead to significant downward revisions of projected temperature rises. The hierachy closed the gates and pulled up the drawbridge, the work was never corrected. The IPCC clearly demonstrated that it was not seeking truth but promoting a statistically-unsound scare story.

      • Faustino, do you have any supporting documentation for what Castles and Henderson had to say on this topic?

      • I second this request. Your accusations are very strong, but without credible documentation they are nothing more than hearsay.

      • Yes, in Australia, but I’m currently travelling in the UK. I may be able to find a link – for example, some of the material was published by The Economist at the time, but some of it I may have obtained from Castles (since deceased|).

      • Yesterday I did a simple search and found a bunch of stuff on it, including contrary papers.

      • Judith, I googled “castles-henderson critique” and got a lot of hits. The first is from Ray Evans of The Lavoisier Society, at http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/climate-policy/economics/castlesonIPCC.pdf

        This looks a good starting point, and Lavoisier would have all the material I have in Oz, and probably more.

        John B, there is significant supporting material. Ian Castles was head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics when they developed an approach to National Income Statistics which has since (prior to the IPCC modelling) been adopted as an international standard. This was a factor in him becoming President of the world’s leading statistical body. Earlier, Castles’ critique of a major WHO publication led to its wholesale revision. David Henderson was head of economics and statistics at the OECD.

      • Actually, most of the hits were irrelevant, I’ll try to check The Economist archives.

      • Here’s a link to a 2003 Economist article on the C-H C. It has a link to their material, but it doesn’t work. I’m not yet in the Econ’s archives, may need a subscription.

        http://www.economist.com/node/2189568?story_id=E1_NTRJVGR

      • Ah! The good old days when The Economist was still worth reading!!!

      • Yes, it does seem to be less rigorous than of old.

      • When I hit “lavishly funded,” I moved on to this.

      • JCH, bed-time, I’ll read that paper tomorrow. Re the abstract, through not using internationally-accepted PPP (Purchasing Power Parity measures, looking at what incomes can buy rather than nominal currency relativities), the IPCC modellers had absurd rates of growth for non-OECD countries; I recall that in one scenario, South Africa’s 2100 GDP exceeded world income in 1990. The GHG impact was assessed by assuming emissions-intensity of this growth. Projected emissions (and therefore projected temperature rises) were grossly exaggerated. A secondary factor was that assumed emissions-intensities ignored the universal pattern of reducing intensity as economies move to a less-emissions intensive information and service economy. Thirdly, from 1990-2001 (the date of the C-H C), emissions rose significantly more slowly than was assumed by the IPCC teams. To the best of my knowledge, none of these errors have been corrected, so, irrespective of AGW science, all IPCC scenarios exaggerate prospective temperature increases. It is surely of concern that the IPCC refused to address these issues.

        In 2001, my back-of-an-envelope calculation suggested that the change in the IPCC’s most likely and preferred scenario by 2100 would be not significantly different from zero. (Crashed again, off to bed as soon as I get this posted.)

      • Henderson is now a fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, you can probably contact him via iea@iea.org.uk Here’s a mention of some more recent work. I might be able to get my wife in Brisbane to e-mail the papers I have, she’ll be asleep right now.

        Climate Research News March 28 2009:

        David Henderson’s paper entitled ‘Economists and Climate Science: A Critique’ is due to appear in the coming issue (Volume 10 Number 1) of World Economics.
        This article presents a critique of the characteristic treatment by economists of issues relating to climate science, which appears as uncritical and over-presumptive. I draw on a range of illustrative cases, with the main focus on six recent and important contributions. I argue that the authors and sources concerned, along with other economists, have (1) accepted too readily the idea that received opinion on global warming is firmly grounded on scientific findings which can no longer be seriously questioned, (2) placed unwarranted trust in the official advisory process that governments have created and rely on in this area, and (3) disregarded evidence which puts that process in question. Hence there is a missing dimension in their treatment of policy aspects: they have not caught on to the need to strengthen the basis of policy, by making the advisory process more objective and professionally watertight.
        The paper concludes:
        Among economists today, both within and outside official circles, it is widely believed, or just presumed, first, that prevailing scientific opinion as to the reality and threat of AGW can no longer be seriously questioned, and second, that the established official advisory process from which that opinion chiefly emerges is objective and authoritative. This is not the right point of departure. In the handling of climate change issues generally, by economists among many others, an alternative framework is needed – less presumptive, more inclusive, more professionally watertight, and more attuned to the huge uncertainties that remain. A leading task of policy, currently unrecognised as such by many economists, should be to establish such a framework and procedures that give effect to it.  Until the case for precautionary action on these lines is more widely recognised within the profession, the contribution of economists to the climate change debate will fall well short of what it could be.
        David Henderson was formerly Head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the OECD, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Westminster Business School, London.

      • Henderson, an economist, says the IPCC may be right about warming, and that a carbon tax or cap ‘n’ trade scheme may be necessary, BUT, in his particular area of expertise, (international markets, development, and currencies) he says the IPCC models are crap.

        Reminds me of whazzitname, Reiter, the bug/epidemic guy, who says the IPCC may be right about warming, etc etc, BUT, in his particular area of expertise, (insect borne disease) the models are crap.

        Then there’s the astrophysics guy, Happer, that says IPCC may be right that the Earth may be warming, BUT his studies about CO2 in the atmosphere of Venus and his expertise in insolation and infrared retention indicate that the way “carbon” is handled in IPCC model, is crap.

        Then there’s the sea level guy. And the tree rings history guys who aren’t climatologists. And let’s not neglect the statisticians. Many of whom express concerns about this or that feature of the overall package which doesn’t jibe with their own understanding of their own fields.

        The IPCC may still be right, and the models less than crap. But as the guy on the radio says, when you mix part ice cream and part crap, the result is closer to the latter than the former.

      • Sorry for the bitty responses, but the net here tends to crash every few minutes (there it goes again), so I’m quick-firing. Judith, I’ve asked Des Moore in Australia if he can e-mail you C-H C papers.

        JCH, contrary papers I’ve seen tend to be from people such as John Quiggin. I know him and his work, and although he did some good work long ago, he is not highly regarded in economic circles, tending to have linked with green activists such as Ian Lowe, and has nothing like Castles’ experience in this field. By contrast, one of Australia’s most highly-regarded (globally) economists, Warwick McKibbin, who inter alia has done economic climate modelling, supports C-H.

      • Sorry, “lavishly funded” tells me he’s biased. Might be right, but he’s biased. He knows his audience, and what he knows is they have a fetish for IPCC abuse.

        The paper I was referring to was written by Bjart J. Holtsmark and Knut H. Alfsen.

      • I don’t think that either Castles or Henderson were “lavishly funded” when they did the work in 2001. Henderson may have had more support in recent years. I don’t know Henderson, but knew Castles, a man of modesty, integrity and very high professional standards.

      • What are you now taking Willis’ advice and asking for supporting documentation?

      • Ho, Hum! Not speaking for Judith, but historically as an economist I would always provide justification. Having retired with long-term ill-health in 2002 (since recovered), I no longer have the sources or personal capacity I once had, so often draw on memory and can’t immediately locate old sources; so I may make claims for which I know there is substantion, without having the latter to hand.

    • Bob, thanks for the post and I realize you are defending actions of colleagues but your statements are puzzling and seem incorrect to me. You stated in your post about the article:

      “There’s no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public,” he said. “There’s a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don’t reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they’re doing behind the scenes.”

      The first statement may be directed towards the scientists so they become more open but public companies and government are in a similar position. The more important the work the more it is scrutinized and the more it should be demonstrable. Maybe its time these climate scientists join the 21th century. Most the people that I heard of that are making the requests are quite transparent so you should explain that comment. If they are not transparent, anyone can challenge them on their blogs. They seem to be quite obviously open to me. Besides it should be the ones making the claims that should have to demonstrate them not everyone that has question. If the requesters make counter claims or are harassing people then they that should also be demonstrated, otherwise you are just spinning a message with no basis.

      • Here again Bob Ward shows he has no understanding of even the most basic principles of FOI.

        From the ICO:
        “As a general principle the Freedom of Information Act is applicant and motive blind. In other words it does not matter who the requestor is or why they want the information.”

        So Ward’s sneering about sources of funding and what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ is competely irrelevant.
        You might think that a policy and communications director at LSE would have the basic facts correct, but apparently not.

    • “There’s a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don’t reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they’re doing behind the scenes.”

      Completely irrelevant.

      FOI places a legal obligation on the universities. Tribalism was clear to see in the climategate emails, especially from Mann, and of course exists on the “other side” too. But, the essence of FOI is that your “worst enemy” can ask you for information (for better or worse) and you are legally obliged to provide it (subject to limited exceptions). That’s the whole purpose of the legislation. That’s it – end of discussion.

      As with most legal obligations to disclose information, complaining that it takes up your time or is “intimidating” just doesn’t wash. I hate filing my tax returns but I have to by law and I know what response I’d get from the tax man if I said it was inconvenient, etc.

      I find it puzzling that Nurse’s and, with respect, your own remarks about FOI just aren’t “grown up”.

    • Bob,
      Thank you for posting here.
      The excerpt you quote sounds very appealing.
      How do you reconcile this with the latest from the UEA regarding their refusal to comply with the FOIA laws?

    • From https://judithcurry.com/2011/05/25/freedom-of-information/#comment-70490

      …highlighted a need for better training for scientists in the most appropriate way to respond to information requests.

      So scientists need training in basic honesty and openness now? What kind of people have they been letting in till now?

      There’s no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public…

      Public institutions are fundamentally different from private ones in that way, since they are funded by money seized from taxpayers (the political process), whereas private ones must rely on consent (market process).

      There’s a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don’t reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they’re doing behind the scenes.

      What double-standards? The transparency requirement stems purely from being publicly funded.

  24. Hello Bob – so you do agree that the motives behind the requests are irrelevant to the FOI debate? And therefore much of what Sir Paul states is not important ?

    I don’t think you’ll ever allow yourself to say as much but it doesn’t hurt to try

  25. imagine the world going up in flames because the scientists aware of the risk didn’t want to handle FOI requests and were fussy about copyright?

    Talk about getting one’s priorities right!!!

    • Wasn’t the vice chancellor of UEA who said something along the lines of: we can’t provide you with the critical evidence that would prove our position on global warming because we want to comply with the very tightest interpretation of the copyright law?

      Just imagine it. The massive campaign to save humanity is shouting: “URGENT! URGENT! It is absolutely for everyone in the world to change their lifestyle, change laws, indeed completely throw out human rights of evil denialists if they get in the way … URGENT, MUST ACT,

      ….oops hang on! Hang on! The UEA don’t have copyright to publish their data. PUT THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM DOOMSDAY ON HOLD THE UEA DON’T HAVE COPYRIGHT TO PUBLISH THEIR DATA!

      If even people at the heart of this “global warming” treat it as just another here today gone tomorrow research project that has to worry about trivial details like copyright, doesn’t that speak volumes about how much they really believe this is a serious problem?

      • Scottish Sceptic: I’ve noticed that incongruity as well.

        It seems that climate change is the crisis beyond all crises in the 21st century. Everyone will be required to change everything at great expense and inconvenience except of course for climate scientists and climate change activists.

  26. Judith,
    I’m not sure you’ve quite gotten the drift of where the “message”
    of Sir Paul is truly coming from.

    Sir Paul Nurse (Nobel, Medicine – 2001) and Bob Ward of the
    Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics
    have publicly made the call in The Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/25/freedom-information-laws-harass-scientists

    eliciting input from individuals, organizations, and institutions
    for the great British Royal Society’s effort to study:

    http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/Downloads/Influencing_Policy_-_Themes_and_Projects/2011-05-12-Science-as-a-public-enterprise-Call-for-Evidence.doc

    According to the Royal Society’s website:

    The study will be led by Professor Geoffrey Boulton and a high-level working group. The society has launched a call for evidence and we are seeking input from academia, business, industry, Government, interest groups and members of the public to inform this important project. We welcome submissions as soon as possible, and before the 5 August 2011.

    You seem to have lightly skipped over the point that the
    “study” will be led by Professor Geoffrey Boulton, who
    directly participated in the Muir Russell investigation but his
    18 years with UAE weren’t revealed to Parliament until after
    the investigation was in progress.

    http://www.examiner.com/environmental-policy-in-national/global-warming-investigation-led-by-inspector-clouseau

    The top name of the Royal Society’s “high level working group” ?

    Phillip Campbell, Editor, Nature magazine.

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/02/nature_editor_resigns_from_cli.html

    Who’s Bob Ward ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Ward

    A suspicious mind might entertain the notion that the Royal
    Society “project” involves a stacked deck from the start.

    • Another inquiry? How nice!

      Just as I predicted: like WMD, “Weather of Mass Destruction” will have inquiry after inquiry after inquiry everyone completely vindicating all concerned and not one convincing anyone.

      I’ve often heard it said that the only reason the UK political elite run inquiries is to so bog down any opposition in the process of the inquiry that they don’t have time to engage in effective opposition.

    • The whole issue is not really that new to the Royal Society either.

      From numerous entries on Isaac Newton on the internet:
      In 1672, Newton became a member of the Royal Society—a group of scientists committed to the experimental method. He presented one of his new telescopes to the Royal Society along with his findings on light. The Royal Society set up a committee led by physicist Robert Hooke to evaluate Newton’s findings. Hooke was a scientist employed by the Royal Society to evaluate new inventions. However, Hooke had his own ideas on light and was slow to accept the truth of Newton’s findings. This surprised and disappointed Newton, who even considered not circulating his discoveries in the future.

      While it is sometimes said that Newton was too sensitive to critical evaluation of his work, he was merely concerned that the time spent justifying past findings was preventing him from making new discoveries.

  27. Joe Lalonde

    Judith,

    Interestingly enough.
    My research is my own property.
    I am not paid by anyone nor receive any grants.
    So no one can order me to hand over research that I am exclusively the holder of as it is private property and not public property.

    I choose to share what I have come across or discovered. I have no obligation to have to share this.

    • Then we have no obligation to believe your discovery. You can’t call it a discovery either, it’s a Only claim to a discovery if you can’t demonstrate it.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Want to bet?
        Mechanics is very easy to recreate and so is measuring distances of circumferences and distances. So, are pressures and compression.
        Speeds and changing the speeds of rotation back to the creation of this planet which means all other parameters MUST change as well.

        It is just how much interest you have in finding out how the planet operates in a mechanical form.

    • You don’t have to share – true.

      However, you may not always get to choose to share.

      For example, you need an export license (or fit under an exemption) to send technical information abroad.

      Try to publish an article on a how to build a pocket nuclear bomb and you may find you cannot “share”.

      Or try to present a paper on a brand new encryption process, and you may also find you cannot “share”.

      So, sometimes the Government can order you to hand over your private research, or stop you from sharing – depending on the subject matter.

      • Joe Lalonde

        True.

        But then with the WWW, it can be sent out to many governments or people to prevent the subversion of this technology or science.
        I try to open the minds and doors that science is far more complex than the current generalized theories and the interactions of many areas creates mind blocks to an individualized system.

    • Lord Frijoles

      Joe Lalonde said:

      “My research is my own property. I am not paid by anyone nor receive any grants. So no one can order me to hand over research that I am exclusively the holder of as it is private property and not public property.
      I choose to share what I have come across or discovered. I have no obligation to have to share this”.

      While it is true that what you do with your own money and in the privacy of your home/lab is totally a private matter, please don’t make any public announcements regarding anything “you have come across or discovered”. In fact, we are not even interested to know that you are doing “private science”. By all means, carry on with your “private science” inside your own house/lab, but please do not come out until and unless you are prepared to defend your “discoveries” publicly and transparently.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Lord,

        You have no idea the massive amount of knowledge I had to gain as not make myself look foolish in not knowing an answer.
        Mechanics of planetary science was NEVER considered.
        So, I created the mechanics to show how motion can compress and release mass/gases. How motion of centrifugal force has a great influence in planetary mechanics. How our concept of a circle in motion is NOT one of an orb in motion.

      • John Carpenter

        Great… when can we read about it for ouselves? You write lots of vague statements about all this planetary mechanics… yet why should anyone believe you? Please don’t tease us any longer… out with something more concrete we can sink or teeth into. By posting little tidbits here and there, you seem to want people to know what you do… but not the details… how come?

      • Joe Lalonde

        John,

        I really do not care if people believe me or not.
        It is do you want to expand your knowledge into areas never considered before?

        The technology was never developed to understand what is effective efficiency. Planetary science is a very effective system of loosing as little energy as possible. I strictly deal with measurements with a great many drawings and angles in motion for deflection and rotation.
        I have developed technology that can show how centrifugal force can compress and release energy by the speed of rotation.
        Simple mechanics but they have a complex interaction with the planet.

      • John Carpenter

        “It is do you want to expand your knowledge into areas never considered before?”

        Of course I do which is why it would be enlightening if you were to condense your knowledge into a summary report of some sort. Then others could begin to consider what you do. You have to start somewhere and if you have broken new ground, then share it or don’t bother talking about it.

      • Latimer Alder

        John

        Don’t bother. Herding cats would be easier. Joe does not do disclosure of his theories.

        If you are seriously sad, you might pause to reflect why that might be. Otherwise, just tune him out.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Latimer,

        Simple mechanics, simple mathematics and a circle in motion is beyond your scope.
        So, I had to give up on you.

      • So what are the basics and conclusions of Joe’s ideas ?

      • Joe Lalonde

        Punksta,

        A circle in motion by current science is incorrect in physics.
        It is strictly based of a circle and the measurement of the circumference. Based on the Picasso’s table over 300 years ago.
        It is far more complex than this as centrifugal force was never figured out so it was deemed a pseudo-science.
        When using a proxy of weights with coil springs(a coil spring is an impossibility by current physics), this can show compression and storing of energy by circular motion.
        This gets far more complex when putting this into planetary mechanics.

      • Joe
        I confess I’n not seeing what this “A circle in motion” stuff has to do with climatology.

      • Lord Frijoles

        Joe;

        You may not want to “look foolish in not knowing an answer”, but you certainly do not look very clever with your grandiose claims about this and that without a shred of evidence to back them up.

        You just don’t get it.

        You say that you don’t care about what others think of your “private science” stuff, and yet, you are here on this forum basically saying “look, I am doing great science on my dime, but I won’t make it available to anybody and I don’t care what you inferiors think of me because I am a genius and you aren’t!”

        A little humility would help you immensely.

        As I said before, you need to make your theories/discoveries available to public scrutiny, and unless you do that, you won’t be taken seriously by anybody.

  28. Beth Cooper

    Seems clear to me:
    Archive your data.
    Show your data.
    It’s not ‘your’ data, It’s EVIDENCE.

  29. “I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

    I don’t know about UK FOI law, but the US law I’m familiar with (Virginia) only requires release of eligible records that already exist. Requiring the creation of a new record (such as the annotations referred to above) is barred.

  30. Keeping different versions of documents in an organised filing system is trivially easy, I do it at work all the time, and MS Word provides all the version comparison and annotation tools needed. It should take no time at all therefore to comply with such FoI requests.

    Further, If universities and other publicly funded research establishments haven’t installed document management systems (which automatically maintain multiple versions and so hold version tracking information) and made their use mandatory for academic and research staff, then they also are failing in their duty.

  31. In my opinion, the real”culprit” in this sordid saga of temperature data accuracy is the WMO-the UN Agency which was created some 6o years ago as a custodian of world temeprature and other weather data. Why did the WMO let Dr Phil Jones to be the sole custodian of temperature data of many Nations, esp in Africa, whose data are available nowhere else but at CRU in Esat Anglia UK? The WMO has dropped the ball here!

    Global temperature data in raw format must be availbale to anyone, irresepctive of his/her credentials. The reason offered by the UK Royal Society President that “it is too time consuming” is NOT convincing at all!
    The climate science community at large must also share the balme for allowing this simple verification of global mean temperature to
    be on “hold” for so long.
    Madhav Khandekar IPCC Reviewer 2007

  32. Q. Can we trust climate scientists?

    At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

    Mike, I presume congratulations are in order – so congrats etc !

    Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! 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. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it !

    A. No

  33. Nurse may be adistinguished scientist, but he is way far away from reasonable standards and ethics on this one.
    Academic arrogance is a very unappealing trait.

  34. So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.

    Those expediencies are great, but how about a little self-examination: you probably shouldn’t be doing those things you wouldn’t be proud to see on the front page of the New York Times!

    If credibility is a concern, then your closing shot about transparency is key. Hiding machinations on gmail probably isn’t on the path to credibility.

    • I would argue that expressing opinions about a colleague or the colleague’s work is not prima facie “machinations.” At the same time, you might not want to see this on the front page of the NYT.

      • If it is your “best professional opinion”, then let ‘er rip (and it would be a good thing for it to make the front page of anything). If you’re just calling someone ‘kooky’, probably best left unsaid. YMMV (this can quickly get into matters of ‘technique’ rather than right/wrong, “Dr Bozo is a great guy, though his XYZ result is a bit unusual…”).

        If I didn’t think you already had a pretty good “best professional opinion”, and respectable standards of professional integrity I wouldn’t have bothered commenting; not trying to throw stones. I’m sure you didn’t get to be where you are in your organization without experiencing how significant perception can be to reality. Is the private ‘gossip list’ worth the possible perception hit (not to mention possible morale / personnel problems it could cause for your organization)? Will your relationship with a colleague really be that damaged if an email you wrote gets out saying, “that argument isn’t compelling and here’s why”? Challenge your folks with excellence rather than placating them with expedients; the good ones will love you for it.

        Another good, quick test to compliment the “front page” test, is the “would I say this to their face” test. Ethics isn’t usually complicated, but it can be hard.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | May 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

        I would argue that expressing opinions about a colleague or the colleague’s work is not prima facie “machinations.” At the same time, you might not want to see this on the front page of the NYT.

        So you’re willing to say unpleasant things about someone behind their back, but not to their face? That is definitely “machinations” to me, but I’m not sure if I understand you here.

        It sounds to me like you are doing what Jones did—figuring out ways to avoid the FOI requests … if so, are you sure you want to go down that road?

        And if not, how are your plans for avoiding FOI requests any different than Phil Jones’ plans for doing the same thing? You say:

        But if you are a government employee, your written and online records (including emails) are fair game for FOI requests. So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.

        Advising people to hide their actions and to communicate off-line in order to to avoid FOI requests is really, really foolish. If you truly care about the issue, advise people that they can avoid FOIs by being transparent in their work. Scientists should answer requests for data before they are made, by PUBLISHING THEIR DATA AND CODE WITH THEIR PAPER.

        Because your advice (which, whether you like it or not, boils down to “here’s some ways to avoid accountability for your words and actions”) is not merely immoral and anti-scientific. In some cases it may also be illegal. In your shoes, I’d consult a lawyer before I went too far in advising people how to evade legitimate FOI requests …

        And even if it is legal, Judith, do you truly not see how nefarious it makes you look when you advise people how to evade FOI requests?

        And are you not aware that you are saying that people should be less transparent and that they should avoid responsibility for their words, and what that does to your reputation as a scientist?

        Because I don’t want Phil Jones to move all of his incriminating words and actions offline to gmail as you blithely advise. I want him to be busted for his incriminating actions … and your “FOI Evasion For Dummies” list above, counseling people to use gmail accounts and google groups to avoid responsibility for their words and action is, frankly, stomach-turning …

        Instead of advising them to move their secret plots and nefarious ideas offline, Judith, wouldn’t it be better to advise them to cease their involvement in things that need hiding from the …

        Aw, never mind. I’m not sure I’m getting through here.

        w.

      • Rob Starkey

        somebody (though correct) seems especially crabby today

      • W is finding out that you can easily take the Judith out of the warmists, but you can’t as easily take the warmist out of the Judith.

      • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

        I agree with Willis that what I have read is Dr. Curry providing encouragement to avoid FOI requests.

        I also agree it is time for *scientists* to stand up and act like scientists and to publicly denounce those who are trying to obfuscate rather than elucidate.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This is incredible. Judith Curry says:

        I would argue that expressing opinions about a colleague or the colleague’s work is not prima facie “machinations.” At the same time, you might not want to see this on the front page of the NYT.

        Willis Eschenbach says this means she is “willing to say unpleasant things about someone behind their back, but not to their face.” The reason? She doesn’t think talking about a colleague’s work inherently indicates some sort of attempt at machination. She thinks saying things like, “His work is garbage” could just be expressions of opinions rather than an attempt at keeping his work from being published (or some other sort of machination).

        As I said, incredible.

  35. D.R. Williams

    Judith Curry wrote:
    ” So if you are a government employee, just get over it, and make sure you don’t put things in writing or send emails that you might subsequently regret. Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.”

    It would seem, Dr. Curry, that you don’t quite get it.

    Any government scientist that wishes to be exempt from FOI laws has a simple expedient–conduct their research using their own time and money. As long as they take the taxpayer dime, their work belongs to the taxpayer. Sham arrangements such as you describe certainly won’t shield what is discussed using government computers and telephones, or indeed any work communication conducted during working hours.

    As to whether “outside working hours” might be an acceptable dodge, I’d submit that any government scientist making such a claim will be viewed as having something to hide, and immediately convicted in the court of public opinion.

    The other option, of course, would be to work in private industry, which is not subject to FOI laws. A thorough reading of corporate employment agreements is recommended for anyone who is under the impression about the obligations so incurred.

  36. Judith Curry’s suggestion to “Get a gmail account, use google groups, or talk on the phone.” to avoid FOI may well run afoul of an institution’s policies, and will not be immune from all legal searches, and will make it look like you’re trying to hide something if you use them for official purposes.

    http://gcn.com/articles/2010/05/19/deputy-cto-reprimanded-emails.aspx
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/06/crew-calls-for-house-investigation-into-obama-staffers-use-of-personal-email-meetings-with-lobbyists.html
    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/09/10/palin-email-privilege/

    Keep personal matters on a personal email account and keep your work-related email on a work account.

    • As I understand it, this is a non issue in the U.S. for state employees (e.g. at state universities); apparently the Federal Records Act would apply to government employees e.g. at NASA GISS.

      • That depends entirely upon which state. In Texas, for instance, the “Open Records Request” under state law requires more, and quicker, disclosure than does the comparable Federal “Freedom of Information” request.

        Should a scientist at University of Texas ( A&M, Dallas, or elsewhere) be tempted to withhold the lab results supporting a state-funded research paper, I’m inclined to suspect an ORR is a better lever to pry that data loose with than an FOIA.

        I think the situation is comparable in other states, but not ALL states. So , as usual, YMMV.

    • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

      Where I work (private sector) this is called an integrity violation. That is the fastest way to termination in our company. One strike and you’re out.

      Very disappointing to see someone of Dr. Curry’s stature promoting this type of behavior.

    • Not judging either way, but where I work, also in the private sector, all external email sites are blocked by a firewall. My work email is not known by any of my friends. There is a zero tolerance policy for anything that could be remotely considered prejudiced, sexist, or sexual. Interesting that things would be so much more lax in the public sector.

  37. Dr. Curry,
    Your advice regarding gmail and other end runs about accountability while understandable are worth reconsidering.
    The net effect of carrying out your ideas will be to further erode public confidence and support in science and scientists/academics.
    Do you think that tax payers will appreciate being treated like this?

  38. I’d like to toss in another thought about non-response to FOI requests by climate science researchers. Half a century ago, climate science was a relatively obscure part of meteorology. Efforts such as the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) provided fresh data to the subject at a time when computer analysis was just becoming available for researchers. As might be expected, computer data analysis and storage techniques were considered secondary to the research subject under study. As climate science progressed, increasingly sophisticated analysis techniques were applied to vastly greater amounts of data with code and data maintenance remaining a secondary concern. As I followed the discussion about code and data availability when Mann’s first hockey stick was published, I was pretty sure I knew one of the major reasons for his reluctance to provide the requested info.
    Computer software and data management techniques are a technology in and of itself. While current techniques are not difficult to understand or implement, they do need conscious effort. Without that effort, collecting and packaging exact data images and code versions can be very difficult and very time consuming. Those groups that performed poorly in this area were typically reluctant to allow outsiders to see their data and code. To do so would simply be embarrassing, as well as make it hard to defend the quality of their work.

    When Mann’s data and code finally came available, it became obvious that which of his data were used and what code was used was incompletely defined. I imagine that it was quite a daunting task to contemplate to repackage their work for outside inspection. I doubt that Dr. Mann was actually trying to hide some sort of dishonest work. I’m sure he believed his work was solid scientifically. I also believe that the analysis error that was found later was not something Mann knew about and intended to hide.

    The point of all this is that providing data, code, and documents to satisfy a FOI request can be quite simple and quick if proper techniques are used. Complaints about the effort necessary to to answer them is probably an indication of poor quality control techniques used in the original work. Sorting through emails may be an exception, but requests for that kind of information would probably be much less likely if the original work was make available.

    Default assumption: Not wanting to show work == Poor quality work.

    • Latimer Alder

      You need only read the comments of the hapless Ian Harris in Harry_Read_Me from the Climategate liberation to see just how far out of their depth with IT and its professional application to scientific problems the CRU guys were.

      They were no better at it than I was as a chemistry grad student 35 years ago.

      And yet – amazingly – they were somehow entrusted as custodian of one of the most crucial datasets for ‘the greatest problem the world has ever seen’. Yet I wouldn’t trust Harry’s colleagues to walk to the end of the road and post a letter without getting into serious geographical and procedural difficulties.

      If I referred to them as ‘talented IT amateurs’, I would be overpraising them. They aren’t even talented. Just ‘amateur’..in its worst sense.

  39. David Holland

    Judith,
    There is a certain amount of misinformation and disinformation in the Guardian article and not all is what it seems to be. It has very little to do with the British Freedom of Information Act. Readers of CA will recall the ease with which the Met Office, Ofcom and the Universities of East Anglia, Reading and Oxford avoided requests under the British FOIA. In over two years nothing of significance about climate change or the IPCC assessment process was released. There was a two year backlog of complaints with our Information Commissioner who was greatly under-resourced and they all knew it.

    Climategate changed that and the Commissioner has now made enough rulings so that public authorities no longer dare ignore the fact that environmental information is excluded from the FOIA which has so many convenient ways to refuse disclosure. Environmental information in Europe is subject to the Aarhus Convention from which our Environmental Information Regulations descend. It has the presumption of disclosure.

    Myles Allen explained what Sir Paul and others are upset about. It is about the IPCC and the requests from myself and others for procedural documents, the zero and other drafts together with the review comments and responses and Review Editors’ reports as they become completed and are distributed within the Working Groups. That is how I think an “open and transparent” assessment of climate science at public expense should proceed.

    It is what the 1993 “Principles Governing IPCC Work” say and believe it is what the Aarhus Convention has required since 30 October 2001. What Aarhus is about is giving rights to the public worldwide in respect of environmental information held by, or that should be held by, European public authorities. It grants rights not only to the information but to participate in the decision-making processes on environmental matters.

    The IPCC assessment comprises a series of discrete stages with a decision at the end of each taken in formal meetings. These are self-evidently decisions on environmental matters. The minimum requirement for there to be participation is that the public can – before decisions are made – read the relevant documents and discuss them in journals, at meetings, on the Internet or with their political representatives, if they do not like what they see. The IPCC working groups do not have to take any notice of the public, but when the SPM is released the public and their political representatives will be better informed than they were last time.

    Climate scientists may not like it, but this is the law in Europe. Right now I suspect WGI is rather pleased with itself for having, at the last minute, slipped into the recommendations, from the IPCC task force examining the InterAcademy Council Review, a confidentiality rule for drafts. This was tucked away in one of 35 multi page documents at the 33rd Session of the IPCC. It may be that the Panel never saw it or failed to read it properly and did not realise that it contradicts the IPCC Principles and the Aarhus Convention.

    Those members of the IPCC who are also parties to Aarhus are in breach of Article 3(7) if they had the opportunity to but did not vote against it. The new confidentiality decision may delay disclosure forcing the decision higher up the legal ladder but ultimately it may not stop it. Nor incidentally may gmail or using remote servers or clouds.

    David Holland

    • The confidentiality of the drafts hardly slipped through the panel unnoticed. Here is what Earth Negotiations Bulletin tells on discussion on that point

      On confidentiality of draft reports, discussion revolved around what material to make available, when and how. A key issue was the need to protect authors while ensuring transparency of the process. Delegates also discussed the meaning of “confidential” and its application in different jurisdictions given varying freedom of information regulations.

      The final decision was described as follows:

      On confidentiality of draft reports, the Panel decides that drafts of IPCC reports and Technical Papers submitted for formal expert and/or government review, expert and government review comments, and author responses to those comments, will be made publicly available upon finalization. The Panel considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation.

      In the analysis part of the Bulletin, we have one more comment:

      In changing the rules of procedures, balance had to be found between making the drafts and comments of reports publicly available, while protecting authors, respecting work done in confidence. As explained in the conference room paper prepared by the Co-Chairs of the contact group on procedures, “On one hand, there is a need for transparency and openness of the assessment process. On the other hand, publicizing drafts has serious drawbacks. There is a risk that drafts contain errors or statements that are still unbalanced and that have to be corrected at a later stage. These could prematurely circulate in the public domain, creating confusion, and that would be a bad service of IPCC to society.”

      http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12500e.html

      • David Holland

        The first quotation you give is not from any published IPCC document that I have found. And it only talks about transparency which the IPCC have, to a very limited extent, now written into the Appendix A procedures. AR4 did not even want to be slightly transparent. The public authorities are also willing to talk about transparency. But what is the problem with being “open” as the IPCC Principles say its assessments should be and as it is so often advertised to be?

        I really do not mean to be offensive but which part of “open” do you think climate scientists understand differently from me? To my simple engineer’s mind it is a binary issue like pregnancy – you either are or you aren’t. Remember Sir John Houghton wrote of the TAR in 2002 for the Royal Society of Chemistry:

        “ .. all parts of the assessment process need to be completely open and transparent. IPCC documents including early drafts and review comments have been freely and widely available – adding much to the credibility of the process and its conclusions.”

        Well, who can tell me where (other than in 8 unindexed boxes of printout in a Harvard library) can I find any IPCC document to show how the “hockey stick” became the poster child of the TAR? The TSU for the TAR WGI was Sir John’s employer the Met Office. He was a Co-Chair of the Working Group. Were his instructions to publish the documents disobeyed or did he think all members of the public visit Harvard from time to time?

        The plain fact is that openness and transparency was and is only a marketing slogan – part of the appeal to authority, like the alleged thousands of scientist that form the consensus.

      • All quotes of my comment are from the bulletin linked after the last quote.

        My purpose was to indicate, how the decision making process was seen by some people who have followed it. All these decisions are made by government representatives, not IPCC scientists. Politics and national interests are certainly important in that process.

      • David Holland

        The IPCC went to the IAC for advice on its procedures. The confidentiality proposal, which was added into the task force report on its consideration of the IAC suggestions, did not come from the IAC report, which has been in the public domain for months, but from WGI. It was not, as far as I can tell, published as a proposal before the plenary. The creation date of the document in which I first saw it is 12 May 2011. Do you know if it was published beforehand so that governments could instruct their officials how to vote on the matter?

        It still looks “slipped in” to me. If it was all carefully thought out and properly understood why did the proposal not include the removal of the words “open and transparent” from the role of IPCC as described in the Principles Governing IPCC Work?

        We now have two contradictory decisions of the IPCC. One agreed repeatedly since 1993 and unamended says the assessment process is to be undertaken on an open and transparent basis. The new decision says that the assessment is to be undertaken on a strictly confidential basis until after the SPM is published when limited transparency will be provided.

        This is a gift to critics of the IPCC

  40. I have no sympathy for government employees, or employees of government owned business or beneficiaries of government grants who complain about Freedom of Information, Official Information etc requests.

    These facilities are common to most western democracies and are there for the simple fact that voters and tax payers have rights (within reason) to be able to obtain information that is being collected, analysed, assessed etc on their behalf.

    If you chose to work for or benefit from government money this is a minor inconvenience you must face. For almost ten years I was anexecutive in a government owned company that was subject to information act rules and processed them for the company with our legal team and usually the CEO. Yes the requests can be annoying, yes they can be time consuming and yes sometimes they can be fishing expeditions. But if you have nothing to hide then what is the problem? There are usually ways for the entities that are subject to these rules to adequately protect themselves from releasing commercially sensitive information and there are usually means for the applicant to seek a review of the decision to withhold from an independent third party. It may be time consuming, but again my experience is that the independent reviewer will tend to want more disclosure than less.

    The primary driver of many requests is what I call a reality-perception discontinuity. The external perception is that there is something to hide, something not quite right etc, the reality in the majority of cases I have been involved in is that there isn’t. In my line of business this is often driven by the complexity of the business environment compared to how it is perceived by external parties. The reality is the more you try to fight, the more you feed the perception of hiding and the higher the probability is you are actually hiding something!

    I do say to staff, be thoughtful about what you write down, email or talk about (phones are often recorded) primarily because it can be taken out of context, but I see this is as no different to what people should be doing in the normal course of business. If these poor scientist think an information act request is hard, thank god they are not suject to anti-trust investigations, which I have also been involved in and make this stuff look like morning question time at school when you are six!

  41. Alpha Tango

    I do hope someone is creating an FOI request to require Sir Paul to produce the data he used to back up these assertions ;)

  42. If one side in a debate is constantly fighting for the release of more information to the public, and the other side is constantly trying to restrict the public’s access that information, guess which one the public should trust?

    From attempts to avoid FOIA, to keeping adverse views out of the peer reviewed literature, to attempting to silence critics (either directly by regulating the internet or indirectly by demonizing them), to declaring “the science is settled,” progressive CAGWers not only want to take the policy decisions away from the electorate, they want to keep the public from even knowing the facts on which they should base their votes.

    By all means, let’s hear some more elegant rationalizations for hiding publicly financed research results from the public. If you can’t keep those stoopid voters from voting in ways you don’t like, at least you can try to keep them in the dark between the elections.

  43. Watch for people to use “on going research” to justify the hoarding of data.

    You will see people who are paid to collect data ( say ice cores) who will then publish papers using the data and they will refuse requests to release the data on the grounds that they are not done with it yet.

    If journals adopt standards of reproduceable research. You wont have people resorting to FOIA. For people like Mc and me FOIA has been a LAST resort.

    first you ask the author of the paper. then you ask the journal. then you FOIA.

    • Jeff Norris

      Evil minds think a like :) Check the FOI saga of Douglas Keenan http://www.informath.org/apprise/a3900.htm
      QUB has advised that the raw data was collected over a period of 40 years, and is now being used for research. This does not suggest to the Commissioner that the data is unfinished or incomplete, rather that, whilst the research utilising this data is ongoing ie the analysis of the data, the data itself has already been collected and is therefore not unfinished or incomplete.
      I take this to mean that the university claim was denied. If you are suggesting that it will be used as an excuse to delay I would agree. Do FOI laws have the idea of precedent in the familiar legal sense? I guess I am asking are they capable of self amending by saying that is or is not a validate reason to withhold data based on a previous ruling in a simliar request.

  44. Willis Eschenbach

    GaryW | May 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply

    … I doubt that Dr. Mann was actually trying to hide some sort of dishonest work. I’m sure he believed his work was solid scientifically. I also believe that the analysis error that was found later was not something Mann knew about and intended to hide.

    While your naiveté on this matter is charming and speaks well to the size of your heart, it is also quite depressing and speaks poorly to the size of your research capabilities. Mann knew very well that his results were not scientifically supportable. Google “BACKTO_1400-CENSORED”, he censored his own data and hid it away because he knew it didn’t support his case.

    Do your homework first, the depth of your ignorance regarding Mann is shocking. Among the people who post here are some who were involved in the actual sequence of events, read all of Steve McIntyre’s accounts of Mann’s wrongdoings, read Ross McKitrick’s accounts, before you totally blow any remaining credibility you might have.

    w.

    • Willis,
      Thanks for your comments. I guess our difference in opinion on this is that you believe he was dishonest by design where I believe he was arrogant and incompetent. The final results are probably indistinguishable. I guess I should accept your judgement on this as it does give him credit for achieving his goal rather than simply producing poor quality work.

    • Google “BACKTO_1400-CENSORED”, he censored his own data

      This is a particularly ignorant canard. Censoring data is a perfectly normal statistical process. And no, it doesn’t mean “hide it from the public”. Or rub out the data you don’t like.

      • Nick Stokes – Mann censored his own data and hid it away in a “Censored” directory alright. Whatever meaning you give to “censoring”, it doesn’t change the consequences.

      • Nonsense. Marking the file as censored just means that it is data that was subject to a measurement limitation. And what basis do you have for saying that it was “hidden away”.

      • Oh Mann

        I’ve got a bridge to sell. Wanna buy?

      • Your link in no way supports your case. It seems you have no interest in what is meant by censored data.

      • Pat Cassen

        omnologos – Look up “censored data” in an applied statistics text.

      • Plenty of references here.

      • Please stop the obfuscation. There is a history behind that file, and if it had been named TOBEPUBLISHEDINAFULLPAGEOFTHENEWYORKTIMES still it would have been (a) hidden and (b) censored.

      • As a troll you’re doing well. As a “communicator” you suck. Omnologos is talking about one meaning of the word and you’re talking about a different meaning. If you’re interested (which I presume you’re not) find out what was in the file – and then figure out “why” it’s there. You’d find that your interpretation is correct – and so is that of omnologos. So this entire discussion is nonsense – except as “obsfuscation”. Which then makes omnologos right again.
        :-)

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        It doesn’t matter if “censoring” data is a normal thing to do. The problem is what was censored was verification results which showed Mann’s conclusions were unsupportable. He hid these results, and thus he mislead everyone. He knew his results were unsupportable, and he intentionally hid this fact. Even worse, he presented the verification results from this same calculation (R2) when those results were favorable for him (the 1820 step). He then lied when asked about this calculation.

        Talking about the name of the directory does nothing to respond to the issues at hand. All it does it try to misdirect the conversation. Either you don’t know what the issue is, and thus you are ignorantly dismissing people, or you do know what the issue is, and you are just avoiding it.

        Regardless, there is no justification for what was done.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Oh, and to be fair to Mann, I can’t guarantee he did was the one who did these things. By “Mann,” it should be understood I mean, “Mann and his co-authors.” They all share responsibility, but I don’t know which ones did which.

      • I wish you people could state a coherent case and back it up. Willis’ charge was:
        “Google “BACKTO_1400-CENSORED”, he censored his own data and hid it away because he knew it didn’t support his case.”

        Nothing about verification results, and I have not seen anyone else claiming that such results were in that directory.

        And “hid it away”? I did look up the CA thread and it showed how to download it from Mann’s public ftp site – now gone from UVA, but apparently that’s where CA etc got it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        In fairness to Willis Eschenbach, I misspoke. R2 verification statistics weren’t containd in that directory. Instead, what was contained was PC calculations done without bristlecone proxies. This showed the same point as R2 verification statistics showed (MBH’s results were entirely dependent upon a small amount of tree ring data), but it was a different issue. It basically proved the same point in a different way. I accidentally conflated the two due to being hasty while making my post, and the fault is entirely my own. There are a lot of things to keep straight, and I slipped up. I apologize, but I feel it is worth pointing out I wouldn’t have problems like this if not for the sheer amount of covering up that has gone into defending Mann’s work.

        As for being found in a public directory, that’s a cheeky defense. As soon as it was discovered this directory had been found, it was taken down. That the people attempting to hide the directory did a poor job, and thus it was discovered, doesn’t somehow mean thy made it available. It means the secret was discovered due to them being bad at hiding it.

        In any event, you haven’t said a thing which contradicted the point made about the censored directory. Yes, I misspoke, but the overall point was the same. The censored directory shows Mann knew his work was unsupportable, and he published it anyway.

        In regards to the R2 verification statistics, that issue was actually proven through an examination of Mann’s source code (made available, I believe in response to Congress’s request).

        But again, I apologize for getting mixed up about the various types of dishonesty practiced by Mann and his cohorts. I’m only human.

      • Well, I went to the CA threads, and to the CA stored directories. Let’s deal with:

        “As soon as it was discovered this directory had been found, it was taken down. “

        The first mention of it on CA that I can find is Dec 10 2004. There’s a more extensive post Mar 28 2006 which indicated that at that date it still was there on the site, next to the BACKTO_1400 directory. The PC files themselves in the BACKTO_1400_CENSORED dir are dated 21 May 2000. They were there a long time, and for at least 15 months after CA wrote about them. In fact, they seem to have come down only after Mann’s move to PSU.

        And no data had been “censored”, in the sense so fondly used here. The data in the CENSORED directory was a subset of that in the BACKTO_1400 directory – it was present in both places.

        “if not for the sheer amount of covering up that has gone into defending Mann’s work”
        No, it’s the sheer amount of muddled accusations, each used to support the other, but not backed up.

        “The censored directory shows Mann knew his work was unsupportable”
        You have nothing to support that.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Nick Stokes, you claim I “have nothing to support that.” That is untrue. This is the most important claim you’ve made, and you’re making a direct claim about me, so let’s focus on this one issue. I’ll describe what the censored directory shows, and you tell me where you disagree. It’s a simple issue, so it should be easy to reach an agreement on it.

        The censored directory showed PC calculations done without bristlecone proxies. These PC calculations found no hockey stick. This means Mann’s temperature reconstruction depended upon the bristlecone series for it’s shape, and they had done calculations which showed so.

        That is all that has ever mattered in this issue, but so far, you haven’t discussed it. So tell me, do you dispute anything in that paragraph?

      • Brandon, you said
        The censored directory shows Mann knew his work was unsupportable
        and your latest comment does nothing to support that extravagant charge.

        All you have now is the observation that it is possible to select a subset of the data from which PCs can be computed which don’t have a marked HS shape. That is a very different proposition, and actually not surprising. Mann used the whole set.

        But there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of Mann’s work here, which Steve M has promoted. The proxy study is not about the blade of the HS, but the shaft. It’s the contrast between the fairly constant temperatures of the past (proxy) and the known rise of the last century that is significant. The fact that some proxies may not show a recent rise does not create doubt that such a rise occurred. The instrumental record is more convincing when it’s available.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Nick Stokes, your response is nonsense. You claim I’ve now given a “very different proposition,” but I’ve done nothing of the sort. All along, the “proposition” has been Mann’s conclusions depend entirely upon a small subset of his data given undue weight, and that makes it unsupportable. This is especially true since his paper claimed to be robust to the removal of tree ring data. There is no change in my “proposition.” Instead, all there is is you misrepresenting my position.

        This pattern continues as the “fundamental misunderstanding” you claim McIntyre has promoted is one nobody who knows anything about the subject believes or promotes. The entire problem of the hockey stick is Mann’s methodology artificially inflates hockey stick shapes. By definition, this deflates variability in the shaft portion of the reconstruction.

        The short version is this. The censored directory shows Mann knew his paper’s conclusions depended entirely upon a small subset of his tree-ring data (bristlecones). This is the problem with his work Steve McIntyre has highlighted all along. Nothing has changed about this “proposition.”

      • “By definition, this deflates variability in the shaft portion of the reconstruction.”

        That’s not true. Steve has plotted some of the PC’s that he found in the directory here. In fact it doesn’t say what subset they relate to, and no-one has checked. But presuming they are the one’s listed in other files that were found, then they have little variability. If Mann had used those as a basis for his results, there would have still been just as much hockey-stick, but with the proxies not following the instrumental upward in the last century.

        And I can just imagine what CA and co would have to say about basing the results on a selected subset of the data.

        But again, you haven’t shown:
        1.The censored directory shows
        2.Mann knew
        3.his work was unsupportable – well, OK, you’ve asserted the last.

        And you certainly haven’t shown anything about your version of “censoring”.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Nick Stokes, I said Mann’s methodology inflated hockeystick shapes, and thus it deflated the variability of earlier portions of the reconstruction. Your response was:

        That’s not true. Steve has plotted some of the PC’s that he found in the directory here. In fact it doesn’t say what subset they relate to, and no-one has checked…

        This contains two glaring problems. First, you flatly state I’m wrong, but nothing you say indicates any reason to believe so. In fact, nothing in your paragraph is even relevant to my comment. My comment was about the impact of Mann’s faulty methodology, and nothing you said addresses that. What I said is completely true, and it is widely known.

        Second, you claim nobody has checked what subset the PCs relate to even though Steve McIntyre has done just that, as have others (including myself). You are just making things up about people at this point. You then go on to say:

        But presuming they are the one’s listed in other files that were found, then they have little variability. If Mann had used those as a basis for his results, there would have still been just as much hockey-stick, but with the proxies not following the instrumental upward in the last century.

        This is nonsensical. You claim there would have been just as much of a hockey stick if Mann had used those PCs as the basis for his results (something nobody has suggested he should have done), but you offer no explanation as to why that would be true. You are telling us a hockey stick would come about from data which has no hockey stick. You then repeat your absurd implication by saying:

        And I can just imagine what CA and co would have to say about basing the results on a selected subset of the data.

        Nobody has said Mann should have used the PCs from the censored directory. Nobody has said Mann should have used a subset of his data for his analysis. This is some strange implication based entirely upon your imagination.

        You’ve managed to avoid discussing the actual meaning of the censored directory by making up some ridiculous idea nobody has advanced but you. I don’t know how you came up with such a strange idea, but it’s completely wrong, and it makes any serious discussion impossible.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I want to emphasize something. Making a temperature reconstruction with PCA involves combining (a certain number of) PCs into a single series. This combined series is the final result. Now then, you can think of each PC as an individual series, and the final result comes from averaging them together. This means you cannot get any sort of signal in your final result which is not in a PC.

        In Mann’s work, he got a hockey stick within the first two PCs due to his faulty methodology (it is in PC4 with his mistake corrected). When he used the same methodology, but removed bristlecone data (censored it), none of the PCs had a hockey stick. This is seen in the link Nick Stokes provided just above. This means there was no hockey stick in the (bristlecone-excluded) data, and thus it would be impossible to get a hockey stick out of the data.

        Nick Stokes is completely wrong to say:

        If Mann had used those as a basis for his results, there would have still been just as much hockey-stick

      • Let me deal with:
        “Nick Stokes is completely wrong to say:”
        You just didn’t read (and you misquoted) what I said, which was:
        “there would have still been just as much hockey-stick, but with the proxies not following the instrumental upward in the last century.”

        The hockey stick consists of a flat proxy-based section up to about 1900 and a subsequent rise, measured primarily by instrument. Mann’s plot showed the proxies also rising in that time, but if he had used this reduced set, they would not have. But we know the temperature did rise, which is the basic HS result.

        And you say:
        “Nobody has said Mann should have used the PCs from the censored directory. “
        Well, what on earth are you saying?

      • Hockey Stick
        So what is the state of play on this Nick?
        1. It rests crucially on bristlecone data, known to be unreliable.
        2. It’s ‘basic result’ was to airbrush out the MWP.

      • I think the thread is too worn to get into the merits of bristlecones. Here’s the state of play as I see:
        1. The word censored in the filename just refers to the common statistical term censored data, and trying to beat up some controversy on the name is just ignorant
        2. No data in the “censored” file was “censored” – all the data that is there was used.
        3. The data subset in the file does show little temperature variation right to the end. But we don’t need proxies to determine the recent warming. The blade of the HS is established by instrumental readings.

      • “known to be unreliable”

        No. The extent of non-climatic influences on 20th century growth trends remains an open question. The evidence for ‘large’ non-climatic influences is on the slim side. The evidence for negligible non-climatic influences is stronger but not decisive. Bristlecones most certainly are not known to be unreliable.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Nick Stokes, this is my last comment in this exchange. I have no faith in the possibility of anything coming from a discussion with you.

        First, you claim I misquoted you, but the quote I provided was perfectly accurate. This is yet another example of you simply making things up about people.

        Next, you claim the hockey stick would have still existed even if Mann’s work didn’t show it. Only, the discussion has been about Mann’s work. Mann’s reconstruction was faulty, and that’s all. You are basically saying Mann’s paper could have been completely wrong, but it would still have been right because the modern temperature record justifies the conclusion. This is complete nonsense. Even if you could absolutely prove the hockey stick shape is an accurate representation of historical temperature, Mann’s work would still have been wrong. Mann would have still hidden data which showed his work was wrong. Finally, you say:

        Well, what on earth are you saying?

        This is a ridiculous question. I have made the same point over and over, and you’ve never addressed it. Expressing exasperation at not knowing my point while repeatedly ignoring me when I state it is all sorts of silly. I’ll quote a couple examples of me making the point, and then I’ll withdraw from the exchange. I have no desire to deal with you making things up any more.

        The censored directory showed PC calculations done without bristlecone proxies. These PC calculations found no hockey stick. This means Mann’s temperature reconstruction depended upon the bristlecone series for it’s shape, and they had done calculations which showed so.

        The short version is this. The censored directory shows Mann knew his paper’s conclusions depended entirely upon a small subset of his tree-ring data (bristlecones). This is the problem with his work Steve McIntyre has highlighted all along.

      • I am still waiting for Brandon Shollenberger to either retract this statement and apologize to those he falsely accused…

        “As for being found in a public directory, that’s a cheeky defense. As soon as it was discovered this directory had been found, it was taken down. That the people attempting to hide the directory did a poor job, and thus it was discovered, doesn’t somehow mean thy made it available. It means the secret was discovered due to them being bad at hiding it.”

        Or to provide further evidence to contradict Nick Stokes’ evidence here…

        “The first mention of it on CA that I can find is Dec 10 2004. There’s a more extensive post Mar 28 2006 which indicated that at that date it still was there on the site, next to the BACKTO_1400 directory. The PC files themselves in the BACKTO_1400_CENSORED dir are dated 21 May 2000. They were there a long time, and for at least 15 months after CA wrote about them. In fact, they seem to have come down only after Mann’s move to PSU.”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Lazar, I freely admit to having been wrong on that point. I didn’t comment on it because there was plenty of other things to discuss. Nick Stokes pointed out my mistake, and I assumed people would recognize he was right due to me not contradicting him. Apparently I was mistaken, so I’m sorry I didn’t explicitly acknowledge the issue sooner.

        And if it matters, I apologize to the people I incorrectly accused. As before, I had mixed up this incident with another.

      • Brandon,

        Thank you.
        You are showing people the right way to do things.
        That is useful.

      • As regards taking down directories when they had been found by non-believers, in the Climategate Mann cautions Jones (or was it the other way round?) to make sure that data is not inadvertantly left accessible, noting that McI had just stumbled onto some data they had been trying to hide.

      • Dontcha know, in statistics “Hiding” means “putting aside data in directories anybody could find if they were lucky or had a couple of hundred years of time to spend looking into obscure ftp servers“.

  45. Or maybe she just means what she said and not all that other stuff you are trying to read in between the lines.

  46. Hank Zentgraf

    Judith,
    The major government agencies which fund climate research could simply require all appropriate data to be made available in usable form on the internet before any public disclosure of intermediate or final results. If an individual scientist refuses, he/she is off the list for future funding.
    Where are the agencies on this subject?

    H.

  47. Green Sand

    The last thing the President of the Royal Society wants to happen on his watch is for a world wide high profile branch of science to be found “wanting”.

    As this particular branch is being used to dictate the future life styles of the western world the resulting political pressure must be phenomenal. A further complication is that the RS and its members have been fundamental in the “exoneration” of the science via the CRU inquiries.

    Maybe the stance being taken today is a defence of the whole of science. If malfeasance is found in the high profile realm of Climate Science, then what of the RS and all the other scientific disciplines, will their findings be accepted or met with the majority of citizens being sceptical and untrusting?

    This is the risk the establishment appears to be running. The powers that be have made their stance, if it is then subsequently proven to be a house of cards, the lack of public trust will be profound and long lasting.

    However all may not be lost if the “establishment” seizes the moment and demands full declaration and transparency. Then even if the house of cards falls down they would still maintain the trust needed to govern in a democracy. I fear that the position being taken by the President of the Royal Society’s shows that we may be too far down the line for such an intervention.

    They also appear to have ignored that this has global implications and investigations are taking place under different legislations.

    We live in interesting times.

  48. We regularly get wheel inventors around here, with more-or-less reasonable suggestions on how to improve the sharing of data.

    Let me state for the n-th time that the problem has been solved already. For space-related examples just read this blog of mine.

    When even super-secretive Kepler mission is more open than the CRU, you know there is something very wrong going on.

  49. I think the President of the Royal Society has more than amply demonstrated that he is not fit to hold the post any longer and there is no confidence in him to be objective, open and politically unbiased. Sorry Sir P, but it’s time to go.

    • What actually happened is that the Royal Society got co-opted in the CAGW bandwagon and upon leaving office Lord Rees, finally aware of the infinite troubles with the Consensus, uttered the word: “Nurse!“.

      The Baron of Ludlow meant: “Call a nurse, this Royal Society of ours is scientifically comatose, let’s revive it asap”. Unfortunately, perhaps in part due to the large number of hearing aids used in the room, everybody else misunderstood the Astronomer Royal words as supporting the ascent of Sir Paul.

  50. The warmist’ group will invariably jump on any accusation that includes the term “conspiracy” (thereby introducing obfuscation).

    Perhaps “cabal” would avoid that issue (and may be more accurate).

  51. Willis – Judith just told us there’s only so many fights one can pick. Presumably there’s also only so many poisonous fights one can pick, and taking McIntyre’s and Holland’s side might appear very poisonous indeed to a “mainstreamer” under heavy attack for this blog and B.E.S.T. already . What Judith doesn’t realize is that the most prominent vocal and integralist warmists won’t treat her any more nicely because she decides to be good to them this time. As a matter of fact of course when the B.E.S.T. results will come out Judith will be leaned against more than ever before, as she’s been showing quite a few weak spots. Perhaps they’ll try to sell her a bridge or two, or argue her into irrelevance.

  52. I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

    The head of the most prestigious scientific body in the “British Empire” heard a scurrilous rumor and didn’t take the 5 minutes necessary to verify it. Instead he went to one of England’s “major media outlets” and repeated that rumor. Stunning dereliction of duty that. They really are their own worse enemies.

    • Not checking data; relying on someone else’s word; whining about publishing work. Sounds just like the sort of leadership the RS needs. Oh! Wait a minute. It has it!

    • Willis Eschenbach

      I am neither concerned nor surprised that Lord Somebody is not taking five minutes to confirm a rumor. He’s the head of the Royal Society, after all, not a scientific institution.

      I am both concerned and surprised that our gracious host has repeated the rumor without taking five minutes to confirm it.

      w.

  53. latest from WUWT. .. Obama and Cameron have joined the dark side and “emphasized” data sharing and open science data policies. Bob Ward and the snubbed Royal Society will be pleased.

  54. Craig Loehle

    After a request (not FOI) for my data, I got it in order (2 hrs time) and sent it. The next several requests for the same data–10 seconds to hit reply/attach/send.

  55. This argument is a non-starter.

    It seems clear that many institutions and scientists have expended orders of magnitude more effort blocking these requests than it would have taken by simply complying. UVA / Mann is a poster child for this.

    There are are two chests laying on the ground, one is unlocked, and the other has a large number of complex locking devices keeping its contents from view. Which one do you want to look in?

    Don’t count me as unsympathetic though, the reality of science and engineering is a lot messier than the majority of the public probably believes. They think we are all running around in shiny modern laboratories wearing our bright white coats and keeping impeccably neat notebooks of all our very serious work.

    Who wants to shatter that myth of science?

  56. William Norton

    To Bob Ward:

    Quoted from one of your comments:
    “There’s no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public,” he said. “There’s a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don’t reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they’re doing behind the scenes.”

    Who ever wrote that has not been through a legal discovery process. In the Professional Engineering world, we live with the fact that all our conversations, emails, designs, and supporting calculations may one day be publicly disclosed in a court of law, and we prepare our record files accordingly. Academia is coming late to the party.

    By the way, once you understand the rules, compliance is not really a problem; it is the professional way to do your job – that is unless you have something to hide.

  57. I can’t believe somebody’s still convinced it’s a matter of being nice to each other…dear Judith: nobody will ever thank you for being nice to them. Romm’s recent rant-attack against Muller tells me the knives are out for BEST already. If you’ll report little or no difference they’ll say you have been a pointless waste of time. If you’ll report anything significant they’ll say you are a Koch stooge. Either way the uberwarmists will gang up thinking nothing of treating you like a poodle or a neo-Nazi. And you place value in those people finding comfort in your blog’s comment section???

    Remember the early Christian Church…they’d tolerate a million brethrens but every single Apostate had to be wiped out from the face of the Earth. It’s going to be far easier being McIntyre and Eschenbach than Curry.

    Recommend you use the intervening time to assert yourself. Si vis pacem…

    • I don’t try to be nice; rather I try to be civil. I don’t care what the likes of Romm have to say about me. I talk about subjects that either interest me or I think are important, and I do my best to be civil and maintain my personal and scientific integrity in the midst of this. When somebody that people are talking about stops by to engage, I find that to be a good thing for this blog and for communication and engagement generally in the climate debate.

      • See, I don’t take Dr. Curry’s reply here as an endorsement of the idiocy of claiming that the practice of the early Catholic Church was that “every single Apostate had to be wiped out from the face of the Earth.” People say all kinds of stupid things, I don’t expect her to respond to all of them.

      • I’d rather you be, rather than just be civil. Whatever will remain of us than our ideas?

        As for people stopping by “to engage”…engagement is not a one-way street. Has Bob Ward “engaged” with anybody, or simply posted a comment in order to make another of his wild statements?

        Stopping by to talk without listening is actually like having a little knowledge…it contributes nothing to this blog or anything else, and helps build up rather impenetrable walls.

      • “Whatever will remain of us than our ideas?”

        There’s this thing called actions, or what the Christians call “works.” Treating others decently would be one example. Outside the blogosphere, those matter.

  58. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, here’s how Steve McIntyre dealt with Sir Somebody:

    Is this a Nursery Story?
    May 25, 2011 – 9:42 PM
    In an interview with the Guardian, Paul Nurse says in connection with FOI:

    I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating

    I haven’t heard of any incidents in which anyone requested “drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive version”, let alone “lots of requests” of this nature to multiple scientists.

    Are any readers aware of any such requests? Or is this more fantasizing by climate scientists? Like the time reversal mechanism assumed by Nature when they blamed data obstruction by climate scientists back in 2005 on FOI requests in summer 2009.

    He didn’t just quote Sir Somebody, and then sixteen paragraphs later say well, maybe it’s not happening. That just gives Sir Somebody free publicity. Instead, he asked flat out what on earth Sir Somebody was talking about.

    In other words, before taking up the topic for discussion as Judith has done, he first has queried the facts in the case.

    That’s science. First get your facts straight. Second, the discussion. If you do it the other way around, as you have done here, you end up with a fight rather than a discussion … because you don’t have your facts yet.

    Here’s Steve’s next move:

    Posted May 25, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Permalink | Reply | Edit
    Sent to Royal Society:

    In a recent interview with the Guardian, Paul Nurse stated: “I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating”

    I am unaware of such incidents. Could you please identify what specific institutions have received FOI requests for “drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions”.

    Regards,
    Stephen McIntyre
    Climate Audit

    Steve is busy trying to find out the facts, BEFORE he presents them to the world.

    You are busy congratulating yourself on the fact that Bob Ward feels comfortable here.

    I hope you see the difference between science and your approach.

    w.

    • Sorry Willis, my idea of science is not pursuing the details of people’s alleged FOI requests. That is auditing. That is what Steve McIntyre does. That is not what i do. As for the “motives” of the people making FOI requests that seem to be at the heart of your issues here. I think I know McIntyre well enough to understand his motives in this regard. Other than blogospheric interactions, I know nothing about either you or Holland. I don’t make inferences about other people’s motives, but since you bring up the motive issue, I am starting to wonder about yours.

    • Actually, her rejection of the allegation was in the fourth paragraph of her own comment. Not that anybody is counting.

      So I take it now the objection is not the supposed endorsement of the allegation, but the failure to ask more questions before rejecting it. Somehow not quite as pithy a condemnation.

      Anybody here ever heard of Emily Litella? Sometimes it’s better to just say “Never mind.”

  59. The drivel produced in support of propping up the secrecy-based ‘consensus’ is truly amazing.

    * In what way is it “intimidating” for a publicly-funded scientist to have to show their work to the public ?

    * How time-consuming is it to provide pointers to supposedly already-published work ?

    None of these issus would even arise in the first place, if all work done was stored in publicly accessible places as a matter of course – eg ftp servers. This would make accessing things like earlier drafts of papers a doddle.

    So I have a different suggestion for changes to FOI law, at least as far as climate science is concerned : Any FOI request that is declined, for any reason whatsoever, results is an automatic and immediate $10000 reduction in public funds to that institution.

    • Latimer Alder

      @punksta

      ‘In what way is it “intimidating” for a publicly-funded scientist to have to show their work to the public ?’

      Phil Jones answered this some while ago.

      ‘Why should I show you my data when you;ll only try to find something wrong with it?’

      I wish I’d thought to try this line on my Masters examiners.

      ‘Dear Prof. xxxx

      I feel very intimidated by you asking to read my thesis. So I won’t show it to you. You’ll juts have to take my word that it is dead good and wonderful and my best chums Mick and Keef say so too.

      I;m sure this little procedural hiccup won;t affect your ability to grant me my Masters…and to grant further funds to study whatever I want to. After all it saves you from having to do all that reading :-) Win-win situation!

      Yours, LA.

    • This would also apply to McKitrick presumably?

  60. “I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

    It would consume no time at all if it was all online in the first place. As it should be.

    And any scientist who is “intimidated” by having their work and progress checked, must presumably be incompetant and/or dishonest, and should thus be sacked.

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      I’m intrigued. Why would you want to look at an early draft of a published paper?

      • David Schnare

        Neb:
        My doctoral dissertation was a retrospective on the decison-making process within a scientific institution. The draft papers were invaluable in documenting the process. The conclusions of this review allowed advancement in development of the decision-making process. It also built considerable confidence in the institution when it was shown that they were using a self-correcting process that had the capacity to produce higher quality decisions than if they did not use self-correction. I suspect such a study of Mann’s work might help produce a similar outcome at UVA

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Thanks David,

        It’s an angle I hadn’t considered at all. Is there a copy of the dissertation anywhere I might be able to read it? Did you use FOI laws to get hold of the drafts?

        Cheers,

        Nebuchadnezzar

  61. I forgot to point out the sheer silliness of this statement by one Bob Ward:

    “There’s no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public,”

    Mr Ward doesn’t know a thing about working in the financial industry, where no email and no file and no phone call is ever “yours” and of course everything can be used against you in a court of law by extremely highly-paid lawyers whose only job and objective IS to find something wrong with what you wrote or even said over the phone. (And no, it’s not even FOIA…it’s the financial regulators, rather less understanding than your run of the mill UEA FOI officer).

    Likewise for working in the health and care business, where it’s not amateurs the ones asking for copies of all correspondence asap once again to put you in real trouble, not in front of meek self-imposed ignoramuses and/or complying SciTech parliamentary committees.

    From now onwards, I’d be wary to mention anything said by aforementioned Bob Ward in matters of climate, unless carefully confirmed by independent, reliable sources and/or as part of some nerdy climate-change joke.

  62. Ross McKitrick | May 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Reply
    I had all my emails with a handful of coauthors FOI’d last year. The law in Ontario exempts academic emails from release but I still had to put the archive together and supply it to a university staff member so she could go through them and confirm that they were exempt. I can sympathize with academics who face vexatious requests for computer records.

    So why didn’t you release the emails anyway?

    • At least in the U.S., it is illegal to publicly release any information regarding a student, that is one major reason for academic emails to be exempt

      • Agreed, I was asking why McKitrick didn’t release his emails with coauthors. Afterall it would be interesting to know what communications he and McIntyre had with Wegman prior to the infamous report.

  63. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, as happens in this mysterious world, my online connection went out yesterday, they’ve been working on the microwave tower. This gave me a day to cool down and consider exactly what it was about your post that I objected to so strongly.

    First let me say that you have my apology for whenever in all of this I have gone over the line. I’m a passionate guy, sometimes to my great detriment. I’ve been fighting this fight for a while now, and I have less patience every day with the kind of unverified scurrilous personal attacks from the eminent Sir Pauls and the distinguished Bob Wards of this world. Not attacking my work and the work of other scientists with whom they disagree. Attacking our motives. I let that get the best of me, my apologies.

    What I object to is your casual acceptance of their urban legends as though they were facts (e.g. that “lots of scientists” are being harassed by FOIs asking for drafts of their work, and that those making FOI requests don’t care if it causes “serious inconvenience”). Phil Jones and others have been making variations of this same bogus “poor me I’m swamped by FOIs” argument for some time now. In no case has it been shown to be true. Might be happening, but to date I’m not aware of evidence that it is happening, let alone to “lots of scientists”.

    It seems to me that as a scientist, your first interest would not be in discussing the implications of these specious, frivolous claims.

    It would be in a) first pointing out that as they stand they are urban legends, and b) determining if they were true. If the allegations are true, then it is an issue that should be discussed and if it is a problem, rectified. If the allegations are not true, game over.

    I mean, until we have the names of the scientists who are being harassed, or some actual information about the motives of those requesting information, or some kind, any kind of facts about actual occurrences … what is there to discuss?

    However, you have said that you are not interested in asking Bob Ward (or, presumably, Sir Paul) if what they are relating has any basis in fact.

    Finally, the accusations made by Bob Ward, the ones that you are unwilling to determine if they are true, are accusations against me and my friends and acquaintances.

    To summarize. You re-published unpleasant accusatory urban legends about people making FOI requests, which includes me and my friends. You refused to ask for any facts that might support the legends. You said you don’t think they are true … which is curious, because there’s not enough information in the allegations to determine their truth content, they’re fact-free. Sir Paul’s accusations don’t even rise to the level of personal knowledge.

    Did I say “personal knowledge”? Forget personal knowledge, his statements don’t even rise to the level of “hearsay”. Hearsay is “I was told by …”, but urban legends are third-hand, not second-hand. “I was told of …” is how every urban legend starts, including Sir Paul’s version.

    My sticking point is that you want to discuss inter alia the abuse of the FOI to harass scientists, without first pointing out that what Sir Paul has put forth is at this point an unverified rumor, an urban legend, an unsubstantiated anecdote, a perfectly fact-free statement, 100% air. It contains nothing that can be checked, established, or verified in any form.

    Do you see the problem? You are asking us to discuss urban legends, urban legends which attack me and my friends and impugn our motives, as though they were actual scientific statements about the real world. How many times do we have to establish that these claims are not true? The problem has never been too many FOIs, it’s always been too much hiding of data and code and methods.

    Anyhow, that’s why I lost it when I read the allegations and innuendo reprinted yet another time, claims that the tragic victims in this case are the poor mainstream AGW climate scientists who are the blameless targets of the of callous, uncaring FOI-wielding ruffians like me and my friends.

    Riiiiight …

    And this time I get to read this nonsense on a scientific blog run by someone I admire. As a result, I let my blood get angrified again, generally not a good thing. I’ve said before that I’m a reformed cowboy, and yeah, you’re right, the reform wasn’t 100% effective. I’m a work in progress. Mea culpa, as the Romans had it, or in modern terms, my bad …

    My best to you, Judith, and thanks for your patience in all of this,

    w.

    • While I can understand your frustrations on this issue Willis, as a regular scrutiniser of forums such as this, I cannot see that Judith has done anything other than the very thing you seem to think she has neglected. My initial reaction to her post was exactly that this was clearly a pile of rubbish and it seemed that was the reason for the topic, underlined by the way it was framed. So I personally find your reaction extremely hard to fathom. I completely got that it was nonsense in the first place.

      What makes this forum my favourite of all climate blogs is exactly judith’s dispassionate style. The last thing we need is yet another Climate Progress or WUWT, where one voice in the debate ridicules the other. I like this site precisely because the debate is framed in such a way that an intelligent observer can follow as balanaced and reasoned discussion as is possible on this most vexatious of human issues.

      If it’s all right with you, I can tell for myself when something is unsubstantiated nonsense, or spinning or misrepresenting a situation such Sir Paul did in the quoted article. All Judith had to do was just show it to me. These guys tend shoot themselves with their own weapons – you really needn’t worry. Extraordinary claims such as CAGW require extraordinary evidence, and requests based on the transparency of evidence in the case of claim change is justified all day, every day, and twice on Sundays. Sir Paul’s objections might be justified if a) they were true – and they don’t ring true, and b) if they were regarding some esoteric branch of science the consequence of which did not require upheaval of the world economy.

      I understand your objections to the misrepresentations of your work and views, but I honestly think your frustration is misplaced here.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Agnostic. You say;

        If it’s all right with you, I can tell for myself when something is unsubstantiated nonsense, or spinning or misrepresenting a situation such Sir Paul did in the quoted article.

        That’s perfectly all right with me, Agnostic. But surely you are not making that claim for all who read this blog, are you?

        Here’s the issue for me. I have a rule of thumb that has been very useful to me, that

        The first person to put a paper on the table wins.

        This is because the first paper on the table establishes the starting point of the discussion. People may come up with objections or changes or refinements, but they are all centered on that first paper on the table.

        In this blog post, Judith has structured it so that the first paper on the table says that I and others are uncaring ruffians using FOIs to beat up innocent scientists.

        That’s the starting point. That’s the initial claim. That’s the subject for discussion.

        I object strongly to starting there, with a personal attack on me and my friends and other people who have filed FOIs. Call me crazy, but lies about my motives and actions don’t strike me as a good starting point for a scientific discussion.

        And that’s exactly what Judith did. She repeated false accusations as the first paper on the table. She made uncited claims the starting point of the discussion.

        Yes, a ways down the page she says she knows Steve McIntyre and doesn’t think he has bad motives, but she doesn’t know about the rest of us … and that’s supposed to make it OK that she started out with totally unsubstantiated, fact-free personal accusations?

        I’ll stop there and let you reply.

        w.

      • ?
        The first thing linked to is Steve’s blog.

      • “That’s perfectly all right with me, Agnostic. But surely you are not making that claim for all who read this blog, are you?”

        Well actually, I kind of am….

        I read most of the comments on a lot of the topics here, and I think this is not a ‘drive by’ kind of place as Judith put it. This is where you come when you have made it past a superficial understanding of the science and the issues. As such, I doubt very much any one reading this blog (with no extant bias) would come away thinking there was any real substance to Sir Paul’s claims. Come on, we just aren’t that thick.

        Really, it’s the whole business of dealing with FOI from an academic standpoint that is at the heart of judith’s post and that’s what is interesting. Reading bloggers from legal or commercial backgrounds, it seems other professions have to deal with a much greater deal of accountability than acedamia is used to. Now, with the extraordinary sociological implications of their research, they are going to have to be.

        “In this blog post, Judith has structured it so that the first paper on the table says that I and others are uncaring ruffians using FOIs to beat up innocent scientists.”

        Well, no she didn’t. Firstly Steve MacI post on the UV was first up, and secondly, I think the broad thrust was to do with transparency and accountability. I sympathise completely with your frustration that yours and others FOI requests and were characterised by the guardian article in such a scurrilous fashion, and you are more than within your rights to point it out. I and others like me, being of honest disposition, will be duly outraged on your behalf.

        But it’s not judith’s style to point that out, to make it explicit. Her relative impartiality is what I personally most like about this blog. She just leads us to water, but it’s up to us if we drink or not. In this atmosphere, the nearest thing to an actual debate takes place and I feel I get best overview of the whole climate change issue, yays and nays.

      • “That’s perfectly all right with me, Agnostic. But surely you are not making that claim for all who read this blog, are you?”

        Willis, this is getting ridiculous. A few posts ago you showed signs of having discerned that – now you seem to have relapsed.

        Willis, unless you can produce some evidence to the contrary, I am confident that you are the ONLY visitor to this blog, warmist or realist, who interpreted Judith’s post in the way you did.

        For goodness sake get over it – you are sounding like tonto.

      • Rick Emery

        Willis,
        I agree with you that their arguments are a load of manure. However, we part ways as to how Dr. Curry presented them. When even a layman such as myself can smell the odor, there is no need for her to address the (in)substance of their points. I would submit that merely making this available for those of us who are honestly trying to determine what the true answer is, without injecting her views, helps to reinforce my view of her as a trusted source.

        As far as being a reformed cowboy, that is kinda like being a former redneck (me) – it ain’t possible!

        Keep up the posting – even if we don’t agree, your posts are never boring…

  64. The Hockey Stick
    So it depends crucially on the use of bristlecone pines, which are known to be unreliable. But did Mann know this?

  65. Nick Stokes –

    The “censored” thread can’t go anywhere as you wouldn’t concede even if ClimategateII contained Mann’s outright confession…

    Anyway:

    1. The word “censored” is a double-entendre as it would have been a common statistical term had the existence of the directory and its data more widely known.

    2. No data in the “censored” file was “used”. If you “use” data, then it is NOT censored.

    3. If proxy data shows little temperature variation right to the end, and the instrumental record shows an HS increase near the same end, then they cannot be measuring the same thing, and their data can’t be glued together as conveniente.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      omnologos, your second point is wrong. In statistics, it is common to “censor” data and still use it. What you do is remove a certain amount of data and run your tests. These results are then compared to the results you get if you run the tests with all of your data. This comparison gives you information about the robustness of your conclusions. However, those conclusions are based upon the full data set.

      Now then, the results of the censorship were hidden in this case, but that normally wouldn’t happen.

    • The actual research question is: Can we extract information on the temperatures before 1850 from the proxies. The idea of Mann and others is that the records may contain such information and it can perhaps be extracted, when the proxies are summed together with appropriate multiplicative coefficients. The problem is that even if there is a real temperature signal, it’s hidden amongst a lot of noise.

      One further idea is that the dependence on temperature continues after 1850. Therefore the coefficients can be estimated looking at the period after 1850 in the proxies. If they all would show a temporal development that correlates well with the instrumental data the task would be easy and the results reasonably reliable. Each of the proxy series could be scaled to fit as well as possible this period, and the earlier history would be given as an (possibly weighted) average of these scaled time series. Unfortunately the proxies do not behave so nicely that this approach would give a clear result using a large unselected set of proxies, and selecting on the basis of the correlation may lead to the spurious result that McI and McK demonstrated.

      (I have looked at a small set of Arctic proxies in the direct way without recourse to PCA getting more or less the same results as published papers, but with different error bars. One large problem with my simple analysis is that the proxies were a selection that may well be biased.)

      Mann et al tried to find more efficient approaches. They picked the PCA as the basis of their analysis, but didn’t use it as it’s normally used. That opened their work to critique of the type of McI, McK and Wedgman. The situation is not totally clearcut, because the critique doesn’t acknowledge everything that Mann has to support his unorthodox way of using PCA tools. The point is that he was using the tools, but not doing standard PCA, and he had some justification for his choices.

      My impression is that his discussion of the methods was lacking and the methods had significant weaknesses, but they had still some real power. The later studies with modified methods have provided partial confirmation for the outcome, but there is still a lot of uncertainty on the more detailed validity of the results. It’s known that more or less all methods that give reasonably narrow statistical error estimates have a bias towards reducing temperature variations, but estimating the strength of this bias is very difficult.

      • Pekka – how to reconcile your words with Lord Oxburgh’s, talking about Phil Jones:

        Q36 Graham Stringer: Did Professor Jones say, when he was in the discussions, that it was actually impossible to reconstruct temperatures over the last thousand years?

        Lord Oxburgh: I don’t believe he said it, but it probably would have been true.

        (and yes, read the rest of his response)

      • How could I interpret the answer more that can be read from the link?

        It’s certainly true that many climate scientist don’t believe that the temperatures of last 1000 or 2000 years are known as accurately as the most optimistic error bars indicate. I know that such opinions have been expressed by some main stream climate scientists here in Finland. I know also that people collecting the paleo data in the field in Finland (both dendrochronologists and lake sediment researchers) are not any more convinced on the results of the statistical analysis. They have actually been quite vocal on their views and some of them are skeptics on the whole climate change as hinted by the presentation of Kari Mielikäinen at WorldDendro 2010 conference.

        My own conclusion is that the accuracy of proxy-based temperature time series is poorer than in optimistic estimates, but I don’t think that this fact affects much the overall knowledge on climate, as we know equally poorly the forcings of that time period.

        I haven’t seen convincing evidence on purposeful wrongdoing or deceit, but there are clear signs of the common faults of scientist: Too much trust in own research, trying to give the results more value than they objectively deserve, and too much resistance in accepting critique, in particular, when the critique doesn’t come from another scientist of the same specialty, and is presented in a way unfamiliar to the scientist.

        The “tricks” are part of the same general failure. The scientists convince themselves that they do the right thing, when they manipulate a little the way the results are presented.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pekka Pirilä, for me, the takeaway point from Mann’s work has always been the same thing, and it has little to do with his methodological shortcomings. It’s the same for both his original hockey stick and his paper about ten years later. The hockey stick is always derived from a small amount of available data. In his first paper, bristlecones were the sole source of the hockey stick. In his more recent paper, bristlecones (basically) and the inappropriately used Tilljander series were the only sources.

        Methodological issues are worth discussing, but ultimately, they distract from the main point. The “signal” in the hockey stick is found in a tiny amount of the data (and usually in proxies with severe and known issues). The seemingly constant search for new tools for analyzing the data misses this point, and consequently, no real progress is made.

        Personally, it seems to me the best thing which could be done for paleoclimatology is to stop trying to use new and fancy tools. Simple methodology combined with a greater focus on collecting new data would be far better.

      • Just a detail: The Tiljander series has never had any significant influence on the outcome, because it’s not correlated with the instrumental history. In the early part of the period it’s correlation went in the right direction, in the latter part in the wrong direction for reasons speculated by the authors of the study.

        It has become a symbol of the weaknesses of the methodology, and it may hint that many other data series are also of little value, but it hasn’t had significant influence on the results.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I’m not sure what makes you think this, but you’re mistaken. The Tiljander series is quite important for Mann’s reconstruction. The Tiljander series is the only reason Mann’s reconstruction could get a hockey stick without bristlecones. If you remove both the Tiljander series and the tree ring data, Mann’s reconstruction fails validation. Even Gavin Schmidt has acknowledged this.

        If you take out the Tiljander series, the reconstruction is basically the same as in MBH. Include bristlecones and you get a hockey stick. Don’t include them, and you don’t get a hockey stick.

      • Brandon,
        I have checked the influence of the Tiljander time series myself. I have also seen results of the published papers before and after correcting for the error made. It’s definitely of very little significance for the results.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pekka Pirilä, when you say this, are you talking about just the main reconstruction? If so, I agree. As far as I have seen, nobody disputes that. The problem is what happens when you exclude tree ring data. Mann’s paper claimed you could do so without changing it’s conclusions, but that claim is only true if the Tiljander series are included.

        I’m not sure whether or not there is any disagreement between us, so to find out, could you tell me if you agree with the following two sentences?

        The reconstruction is robust to the removal of bristlecones if you include the Tiljander series. The reconstruction is not robust to the removal of bristlecones if you exclude the Tiljander series.

  66. Has Steve McI ever posted all his FOIA requests to UEA with the dates, times, and their responses? My understanding is that the first few were politely responded to, and maybe only by about number twenty in a week (for example) did UEA start to get annoyed, but we can’t judge this for ourselves unless we see how the whole correspondence played out.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Steve McIntyre has generally posted about each FOI request he makes, but he hasn’t collected it all into one location. As for your “understanding,” there is no basis for it.

    • Nullius in Verba

      You can tell the timeline from some of the more famous email comments:

      “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.”

      “I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.”

      i.e. the annoyance (and intention to resist) started before the first FOIA request.

      This is well known and well documented, so you would think it would reflect badly on the anti-FOIAers’ credibility to keep on making the claim. But I’m not complaining – it makes it particularly easy to make the point.

    • I researched this a little more. Between July 25 and 29, 2009, CRU received 58 FOIA requests, primarily from Steve McI and CA followers (spurred on also by Steve Mosher) at the following thread
      http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/
      This was reported in NatureNews at http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090812/full/460787a.html

      To me this was a spurious set of requests, supposedly for academic research, but actually just asking for CRU’s confidentiality agreements with every country in the world in batches of 5 per request. I think this was done that way deliberately to flood them with requests, so it lends credence to the theme of the post.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Jim D, while that is a lovely theory, I was involved, and it’s not true. Here’s what happened.

        My FOI for the data had been repeatedly turned down, ultimately on a claim of confidentiality. So had Steve Mcintyre’s request for the data which had been shared with other “friends of Phil” researchers, once again on a variety of grounds that ended up on confidentiality. So we (folks from ClimateAudit) decided to file a Freedom of Information request for copies of the supposed confidentiality agreements.

        However, there was a concern that CRU would once again try to evade the FOI, as they had done several times. We were concerned that they would say that an FOI request for e.g. “any and all confidentiality agreements” would be turned down on the basis that it was too broad.

        So it was decided that, rather than ask for every confidentiality agreement and get turned down, we’d ask for them five at a time. That way they couldn’t evade the request on the grounds that it was too complex.

        Of course, those FOIs all asked for the same thing—the confidentiality agreements. If I was running the FOI for CRU, I’d have stacked the FOI requests up, found the few actual confidentiality agreements (three from memory), and published them. It didn’t matter if it was five or fifty FOI requests, since they all asked for the same thing. And at the end of the day, there only turned out to be a very few of them, the whole thing might have taken half a day to deal with the whole fifty or so FOIs …

        So no, contrary to your claim, this was not done “deliberately to flood them with requests”. We had no thought that it would take them a long time to deal with the individual requests. Publish the data, email the requesters, done. It was not done to slow them down, how could it do so in any real sense? All the FOIs asked for the same thing.

        It was simply an attempt to prevent CRU from continuing to improperly evade our legitimate FOI requests based on one of a host of bogus excuses.

        w.

      • Why didn’t you simply appeal? That’s the remedy provided.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        To be clear, CRU refused an FOI request by completely making up an excuse. CRU lied in order to refuse a legitimate FOI request. In turn, a campaign began in which a number of FOI requests were made for the material CRU had lied about existing. You claim this “lends credence” to the baseless understanding you offered before…

        In reality, this example shows the evasion of FOI requests had nothing to do with the actions of Steve McIntyre and the like. Indeed, the very excuse you offer to explain their actions (a flood of requests) was a direct consequence of the evasion of FOI requests, not a reason for their evasion.

        Besides, all of those requests could have been answered with a single form letter. All CRU had to do is make their confidentiality agreements available. Since they claimed those agreements exempted them from meeting certain FOI requests, they should have been able to provide the agreements with almost no effort.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        I took a look at one of the countries from which CRU could not provide an agreement, Sweden (because they responded in the negative when CRU asked them for permission to release the raw data). Academics could get it for free if, and only if, they signed a non disclosure agreement. Much of Western Europe (including the UK) had similar limitations because the conservative (in the European sense) governments felt that selling historical data to commercial met services could be a way to offset some of the costs of operating the national met service.

        It sucks (I think the historical data should be freely available) but that is the reality of conservative political mandate. Have fun, do you want liberals who are actually committed to openess, or conservatives who want to make money from government data?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Rattus Norvegicus, what are you trying to say here? You freely admit there was no confidentiality agreement with Sweden, so nothing about Sweden could have prevented CRU from releasing the requested data.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        No, if you look at the SMHI site, you can see the agreement which SMHI requires of all academics. It basically says “you can have the data, but you can’t release the raw data to anyone.” The letter from SMHI (published on WUWT, which led me to this discovery) said that they could release processed data, but that raw data had to be obtained from SMHI. And guess what? Looking at the open access agreement, you had to agree that you wouldn’t use the data for commercial purposes and that you wouldn’t release the raw data to third parties.

        That is the way it is. Deal with it.

      • Here in Finland I have been involved with research using historical meteorological data. That’s not at all straightforward. Very little data is freely available and confidentiality agreements are always required concerning other data. Delivering it to third parties is always forbidden.

        With temperature data the situation has gradually improved but for much of the other historical data the situation is as before. The Finnish Meteorological Institute is supposed to earn part of its costs by selling historical data.

      • Latimer Alder

        @nick stokes

        CRU were caught lying in an attempt to evade their responsibilities under UK Law. It was a childish and petulant thing to do. And betrayed the weakness of their case.

        You have sympathy with Jones. I don’t. Four years before these events he wrote:

        ‘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’

        Which shows a clear prior knowledge of FoI and expresses hs determination to find ways to evade it.

        Memo to Climatologists:

        Just because you are academics, you are not immune from the Law. The more you wriggle and scream about it, the bigger fools you make yourselves look and the lower your credibility sinks.

        Outside in reality land we are obliged to comply with some pretty onerous restrictions on what we can do and the records we have to keep. You get no sympathy from saying that;s its difficult or upsetting to comply. Those are te excuses of the five year old who doesn’t want to go to school.

        Grow up….or stop taking our money.

      • Latimer,
        UEA was not caught lying. They took a view that was different to yours. The Law (that you cite) says that the way to resolve that is to appeal the decision. Not to engage in nuisance activity.

      • Well of course the UEA was caught lying.
        You don’t seriously believe they ‘lost’ all the signed agreements over which they took such a strong stand do you?

      • UEA said they were bound to confidentiality agreements. UEA could not produce any of them. Either UEA was not as bound as claimed or there was no agreement. Either way UEA was caught lying.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Nick Stokes

        ‘We have all these agreements that mean we can’t comply with the Law’

        ‘OK, show us the agreements’

        ‘Unfair…!!’

        Lying is the only way to describe it.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK Nick, have it your way.

        PC Plod: Allo allo allo what have we here then my merry lads at CRU? We’ve had an FoI complaint from Canada!

        CRU Jones (for it is he!): Ohmigod I thought you’d never find us here in rural Norfolk. Anyway I can’t show you my data coz its covered with confidentiality agreements

        PCP: Mind if I just check the agreements, Sir? The allegation is of a serious breach in the Law.

        CRU Jones: Well I don;t actually have any to hand, but you can just take my word for it that they’ve got me wrapped up as tight as a duck’s arse so I can’t show you them.

        PCP: Well Sir, of course we trust you, but we also have this incriminating writing from you about deleting data rather than fessing it up if anybody asks……It would be very helpful if we could see the confidentiality agreements from all 200 countries.

        CRUJ: Err…all 200 is pushing it a bit

        PCP: 100?

        CRUJ: Still a bit high I fear

        PCP: 25?

        CRUJ: A tad elevated.

        PCP: OK what can you provide?

        CRUJ: (gulp) 3!

        PCP: Thanks. Oh look, they don’t say what you tell me they say

        CRUJ: Cripes! My master plan so easily exposed…..I must call Mikey and Gav for advice

        PCP: Would you like to accompany me down the station. It might be a good idea to bring an overnight bag…..

      • I think that UEA believed that they were bound by agreements. The fact that they can’t prove it, if that is the case, doesn’t mean that they don’t feel bound. And indeed may be bound.

        In the times when this data was gathered, formal agreements were not particularly important. You knew the data was not to be published, and just didn’t. The idea that a third party might come along and say, produce that agreement or we’ll publish the data, just didn’t exist.

      • Latimer Alder

        The Law doesn’t take into account the feelings or wishes of institutions (even assuming that an institution can be shown to be capable of having feelings or wishes…which I doubt).

        Jones and his cohorts may have been upset to the point of having regular hissy fits or biting the carpet or kicking Tiddles the Dog. It makes no difference at all.

        They said they had agreements that made them immune from FoI. They coudl not produce such agreements. They deliberately lied about the existence thereof.

        When the sucker punch ‘show us then’ came they had nowhere left to go but whingeing.

        Criminal: But I could not have committed the murder. I was elsewhere and have documents to prove it
        Constable Benton Fraser: Where? Show me the documents!
        Criminal: er um, ah well, I never thought you’d actually ask.
        Constable Benton Fraser: Detective Kowalski – the handcuffs please.
        Criminal: You got me bang to rights you crafty Canuck!
        Constable Benton Fraser: And a very good day to you too Sir.

      • Why do we always have people around, who enjoy condemning others more than anything else?

      • I think that UEA believed that they were bound

        Given their overall duplicity, eg with the stooge “Investigations” into Climategate, is that realistic?

        And you don’t think it was an invention to bolster Jones’s “Why should I show you my data…” overall attitude? ( To say nothing of the deafening silence from the UEA in response to it? )

      • Why do we always have people around, who enjoy condemning others more than anything else?

        Because it sticks in the craw of some people that fraud can take hold in science in such a big way.

      • “Given their overall duplicity, eg with the stooge “Investigations” into Climategate, is that realistic?”

        Here we have a fine example of the circular reasoning of the conspiracy theorists: multiple independent investigations completely demolished the myth of a “climategate”; therefore the investigations are part of the conspiracy and evidence of how deep the corruption goes.

        You can’t touch that kind of fanatical belief with mere facts.

      • Other than the feeble parliamentary one, there were no “independent” investigations into Climategate.

        UEA, for example, paid some carefully chosen pals and trusted sympathisers with proven CAW beliefs about £300,000 to exonerate them. No searching questions asked, no evidence taken from anyone who might rock the boat, etc etc. Essentially, the accused acted as his own prosecutor, judge and jury, and returned a verdict of Not Guilty. Big surprise.

        So Yes, the corruption does run that deep. And what is still needed is a proper judicial enquiry, into both Climategate and the ensuing coverup efforts.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “multiple independent investigations completely demolished the myth of a “climategate”; therefore the investigations are part of the conspiracy and evidence of how deep the corruption goes.”

        A few people conspired to break the law on freedom of information, and yet multiple investigations (you say) failed to detect it. Neither did they present the evidence or context to explain it. What else is one to conclude?

        If you don’t want a reputation for corruption, don’t pass over such things without thoroughly examining them, and bringing the evidence (one way or the other) to light. The same may be said for the scientific community generally.

      • “A few people conspired to break the law on freedom of information, and yet multiple investigations (you say) failed to detect it.”

        The facts failed to support your paranoid concept of a conspiracy, but the repeated failure of your accusations to sway multiple groups of investigators did nothing to shake your faith.

        That indicates that rationality and your belief system have parted ways.

      • Rob
        That the UEA’s bribed stoolpigeons exonerated them means nothing. Your belief that this was even remotely objective or independent is but a lunatic fantasy on your part.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Robert, You seem to place an unseemly weight on the opinions of investigators. I don’t care about the investigators – their views are not relevant, or worth paying a moment’s notice to.

        We can read the details for ourselves. We have read them for ourselves. It would not matter if the official investigators declared that two plus two is five, written in beautifully official gothic Copperplate script on a scroll of beaten gold and wrapped it all up in an official red ribbon, when we can clearly see that it’s not.

        And anyway, the enquiry found “The Review found an ethos of minimal compliance (and at times non-compliance) by the CRU with both the letter and the spirit of the FoIA and EIR.” An official finding of non compliance with the letter of the law is not quite the impression your words give, is it? Oh, but multiple investigators have examined the enquiry reports and have declared the CRU totally exonerated by them, so I guess the enquiry can’t possibly have said that, can it?

        If you wrap enough layers of “official investigation” around it, I guess you can insulate yourselves from any harsh reality.

      • From the pages of the Finnish Meteorological Institute we can read:

        Data that is purely used for research and educational purposes requires that both parties sign a contract specifying how and for what purpose the data is to be used. In such cases the data is given free of charge but there is a charge for assembling and delivering the data based on the amount of work needed. This charge is based on the laws and regulations concerning the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The delivered data is strictly confined to the research that is specified in the mutual contract.

        I think this is similar to the practices of many other European countries.

      • Latimer Alder

        And the *actual* contract signed between Finland and CRU said what?

        A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on.

        Much of the requested data went back to before Internet days, so you cannot rely on *today’s* way of doing business to illustrate *yesterday’s*.

      • I have no actual knowledge on the specific contracts, but a fair basis to guess. This guess is supported by what I have read and heard later, but for that I cannot provide references.

        At the time the contracts were written they were likely to contain strict limitations for the right of use. As far as I know UK didn’t have FOIA at that time, but its more recent. Thus there would not have been basis for the kind of reservation, Swedish text has now (and also the Swedish case may be influenced by this timing issue).

        During the last year or two there has been also in Finland discussion on the open availability of the historical climate relevant data. Therefore it’s likely that CRU and others are now free to publish raw data, but that would be a very recent change. At the time of the contested FOIA request delivering raw data on the Finnish stations by CRU was almost certainly contractually forbidden.

      • Pekka,
        I had a lot of sympathy for Jones there. I think you and I have both been in the situation where you are asking someone for data, and they have no particular reason to give it to you. There’s only downside for them. So they ask you, exactly what you want to do with it. And you explain in careful detail.

        Jones put together a pioneering world data set back in the 1980’s. Formal confidentiality agreements were unknown. It worked on trust. He gave assurances. The world benefitted.

        So he’s uncomfortable about breaking those assurances now. Maybe he can be forced to. If so, it should be done with due process.

      • Oh I see, Jones had given verbal asurances that data would not be passed on to anyone not precommitted to CAGW and in agreeement with his own views. Well that’s ok then.

      • “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on.”

        For a man of no honor, who cannot form relationships based on trust. Get a reputation for that sort of crap in the business or academic worlds, and with or without written contracts people just won’t deal with you.

      • do you want liberals who are actually committed to openess, or conservatives who want to make money from government data?

        In principle, this is indeed an issue.
        But as far as I recall, the Swedes denied that such conditions were being applied. Which is why CRU couldn’t produce any such agreement. Jones & co were just lying.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Not true.

        I went to the Swedish site and looked at their access agreement. They quite clearly (when translated from Swedish, and because it was legalese, Google did a good job, legalese is not colloquial) academics could have free access to the raw data as long as they did not disclose it. Commercial operations had to pay. This was very clear.

        When CRU requested permission to release Swedish data the Swedish MET office said that is was fine to release the processed data, but that raw data should be obtained from the Swedish MET office. This is what led me to their NDA agreement…

        Curiosity is a great thing. It leads you to the truth.

      • Regarding the Swedish data:

        STOCKHOLM INITIATIVE
        Göran Ahlgren, secretary general
        Kungsgatan 82
        12 27 Stockholm, Sweden

        March 5, 2010

        Climate scientist delivers false statement in parliament enquiry

        It has come to our attention, that last Monday (March 1), Dr. Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU), in a hearing with the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee made a statement in regards to the alleged non-availability for disclosure of Swedish climate data.

        Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released, to explain his reluctance to comply with Freedom of Information requests.

        This statement is false and misleading in regards to the Swedish data.

        All Swedish climate data are available in the public domain. As is demonstrated in the attached correspondence between SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), the UK Met Office and Dr. Jones (the last correspondence dated yesterday March 4), this has been clearly explained to Dr. Jones. What is also clear is that SMHI is reluctant to be connected to data that has undergone “processing” by the East Anglia research unit.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/05/swedes-call-out-jones-on-data-availability/

      • Rattus
        The slender thread from which your serial question-ducking appears to hang, is the notion that because there is what appears to be a standard NDA agreement on the Swedish Met Office website, therefore
        1. CRU signed it
        2 . It was being enforced.

        A flight of fancy, to put it mildly. What you completely lack is evidence.

        As it happens I also believe the public has a right to science it has funded. Does anyone know if/when the Swedish and other data ever made it into the public domain?

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        No Punksta, it is you who are holding on to a slender thread. The letter (quoted in one of the replies to my post, and the letter which led me to the NDA) said DO NOT RELEASE THE RAW DATA, HAVE THEM GET IT FROM US. The letter from SMHI makes both of your points moot.

        As far as your “public has a right to the science it has funded”, in general I agree with you. However, are you a Swede? Nah, you are an American. Swedes have a right to the data developed by SMHI (and they can get it for free if they promise not to make commercial use of it or release it to third parties) but they only have a right to it under the limits of Swedish law. I suspect those limits are contained in the standard NDA on the SMHI site.

        Look, there is an ideal world in which all of the data from every station in every country would be available. Then there is the real world where the only freely available data is that which is included in GHCN. It’s the way the world works.

      • You mention a letter. I can’t find the link, but you imply it comes from the Swedes. It thus make nothing moot. You need to provide something emanting from CRU – the Jones/CRU claim was that there were Agreements. Where are they? Not lying you say, just lost through sheer incompetance. All of them. Yeah, right.

        And what of Mosh’s points, the confidential data not being restricted etc etc?

        And the point about not being Swede is by-the-by. I can just ask a Swedish friend to ask.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Not issued by the Swedish MET office. It was instead issued by “The Stockholm Initiative” a group which is, shall we say, inactivist in it’s position on climate change policy.

        Be careful of your sources, and WUWT is one of the least trustworthy ones.

        While it is true that Swedish MET data is freely available to academics, it is only available if the academic requesting it agrees to keep the raw data confidential. The Swedish MET service wants to be able to sell historical data to private forecasting services (think Accuweather, who BTW would be nowhere w/o NOAA data and model forecasts).

        As far as what SMHI said: SMHI said it was fine if CRU released processed data, but that raw data should be obtained directly from SMHI.

      • And from a letter to Jones from Marcus Flarup of SMHI:

        “Dear Prof. Jones,
        SMHI has in a letter, dated November 30, from UK MetOffice, received your request regarding the release of data from the HadCRUT dataset.

        Given the information that the version of the data from the SMHI stations that you hold are likely to differ from the data we hold, SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site.”

        Clearly the Swedes did NOT object to their RAW data being cited – but did not want their name associated with the flaky reconstructions Jones had used it to create. Who can blame them?

        Rattus – the Swedes were never a genuine obstacle to Jones sharing his work – live with it.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Look, little Tommy Boy. I actually went to the SMHI site and read the open release agreement. It said, in no uncertain terms NO RELEASE OF DATA TO A THIRD PARTY. PERIOD. That is an NDA in anybody’s book.

        In addition, SMHI, in the very letter you cite says “don’t release the data”. They are objecting to the release of the raw data. Can’t you read? If you go to the SMHI site and read the NDA that academics are required to sign (or at least click a check box) it is fine to release processed data, just not RAW data. Got it?

      • But where is the alleged agreement Jones said exists but couldn’t produce? Did the CRU dog eat it, it was Jones lying in puruit of his ususal data-hiding agenda?

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        You can read it on the SMHI web site. Sorry, I am too lazy to do your homework for you. It is there, but it is in Swedish.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        CRU posted a page for the confidentiality agreements. Sweden wasn’t mentioned on it. Sweden didn’t come up until later.

        Nevermind the initial excuse by CRU has specific qualifiers, and none of those qualifiers have ever been found in anything. Even if someone wants to accept the idea confidentiality agreements would prevent CRU from releasing data, the excuse it offered is still wrong.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Yeah, they did that for the paper agreements that they did have. However, you can look at the SMHI page and see something which is fairly typical of countries which see MET offices (like the UK and France) as sources of revenue want academics to agree to. NOAA is rather unusual in this respect, the Canadian MET office (Environment Canada) requires payment for data not included in their publicly available data!

        Stuff that isn’t in GHCN is generally covered by NDA as far as I can tell from looking at various met services. I’m not saying all, just all that my attention has been drawn to for whatever reason. In general this is because they want to sell the data to private forecasting services. This is why this crap exists. It sucks. I’m an American and I am all for open government. Data published by the government should be available for all to examine and use for free. But that is not the case in most of the rest of the world. The US were pioneers in government openness and we still lead the world.

      • Since you flatly ignore the central point, Rattus, I must repeat it:
        Jones claimed there was an agreement, but couldn’t produce it.
        So he was lying – live with it.

        Or do you go with the agreement-eating-dog explanation? While deciding, do bear in mind Jones’s other Climategate activities calculated to sabotage the science process.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        No, you can go to the SMHI site and read the f’in agreement. It is right there online.

      • Can’t find it searched on Google {site:.smhi.se download agreement accept} and it ain’t there. Can you give the link?

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Sorry, I dug it up many, many months ago. But if you find the link to download data you will run into it. That is how I found it.

      • Its right there online.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK..the nett of this whole saga is that CRU didn’t have a copy of the Swedish confidentiality agreement.

        And even if they had such a copy it explicitly allows them to make it available via FoI anyway.

        Let’s be charitable and just assume that CRU’s record keeping abilities aren’t up to ‘world class standards’. Or even those expected of a bright seven year old sent to the local shop to buy a pint of milk and some sweets for going.

        Which I take to be a terminal bummer for an organisation tasked with being the custodian of ‘one of the most important datasets in the history of humanity’.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Yes, everyone please do.

        It says at the top:
        “Through this page you can download the series of data from 52 Swedish meteorological observation stations.

        The data series are freely available for non-commercial private purposes, including agency operations, research and education. The following license applies to the use. When downloading data count this Agreement as approved and signed:”

        Buried in the body of the licence, in para 4.2 it says:
        “4.2 For the event data obtained by the State or local authorities or the equivalent and as such subject to open government, the parties are aware that this party under certain conditions may be required to disclose information that is housed in a public document that would otherwise be confidential under paragraph 4.1, above, to third parties. Such disclosure shall not constitute breach of contract under this Agreement. Licensee agrees to the disclosure of data under this provision to inform the recipient that they are covered by the directory protection under § 49 (1960:729) on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works.”

        ‘Forgot’ to mention that bit, didn’t you?

        There is absolutely no restriction on people like McIntyre and Eschenbach accessing the data, certainly not if via FOIA, what they can’t do is republish it themselves. If they want to give anyone else the data, they have to refer them to the Swedes who will give it to them freely. That way, the Swedes guarantee there is only one version out there, that they have control of – it can’t get corrupted, ‘corrected’, adjusted, truncated, extended, misrepresented, or cherrypicked. And the Swedes make sure they have the same licence agreement with everyone.

        Why do we have to go through this routine every time? Why does it always have to be trickery and misdirection, that has to be painstakingly tracked through the labyrinth and disentangled? I’m not saying it was you, but somebody must have known when they came up with this story.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Here is the important part:

        3.2 Licensee may not have the right to use the data or products provided under this agreement for commercial purposes and not for development or production of meteorological, hydrological or oceanographic value added-value services. Licensee may also not allowed to redistribute, sell, assign or otherwise transfer data products or documentation without further processing to third parties unless the parties have received written permission from SMHI.

        But here is the rest of it…

        1st License

        1.1 SMHI say in accordance with this agreement a non-exclusive use of data
        and / or products posted on SMHI’s domain, data.smhi.se.

        1.2 Data and / or products provided under this Agreement may only
        used for non-commercial research and educational activities, non-commercial
        private purposes or non-commercial agency activities.

        2nd Intellectual property rights

        2.1 SMHI holds all intellectual property rights associated with the data or
        products covered by this Agreement, either
        for its own account or, where appropriate, for pre-existing holders.

        2.2 Use of data in accordance with this Agreement shall, as appropriate, include
        reference to the SMHI as rights holders or equivalent.

        3rd Access rights

        3.1 Data and / or products obtained in accordance with this Agreement may only be used
        in non-commercial or non-commercial private purposes.

        3.2 Licensee may not have the right to use the data or products provided under this agreement for commercial purposes and not for development or production of meteorological, hydrological or oceanographic value added-value services. Licensee may also not allowed to redistribute, sell, assign or otherwise transfer data products or documentation without further processing to third parties unless the parties have received written permission from SMHI.

        4th Privacy

        4.1 The Licensee has no right to publish, communicate, link to or otherwise disseminate the contents of the data and / or products obtained in accordance with this Agreement to any third party.

        4.2 For the event data obtained by the State or local authorities or the equivalent and as such subject to open government, the parties are aware that this party under certain conditions may be required to disclose information that is housed in a public document that would otherwise be confidential under paragraph 4.1, above, to third parties. Such disclosure shall not constitute breach of contract under this Agreement. Licensee agrees to the disclosure of data under this provision to inform the recipient that they are covered by the directory protection under § 49 (1960:729) on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works.

        5th Warranty and liability

        5.1 SMHI guarantee, if not otherwise specified, the data and / or products
        delivered in accordance with this agreement, subject to normal quality control. SMHI
        does not guarantee the accuracy of the information supplied data representing or
        that they can be used for the purpose the user intends.

        6th Force Majeure

        6.1 SMHI is not responsible for loss or late delivery of data or products
        depends on the circumstances but SMHI control that could not be predicted or prevented.

        7th Termination, effect of breach of contract, etc.

        7.1 In the event Licensee is not complying with its obligations under this Agreement and not
        remedy such breach within 60 days after written
        observation with reference to this point, SMHI owns the right to terminate the agreement immediately.

        7.2 In the event that Licensee violates paragraph 3.1 or 3.2, above, or develop applications for a commercial purpose or value added-value service, he shall, within 30 days after written demand pay an amount corresponding data value of harvested data to SMHI. Data value is determined according Ecomet rules for pricing. In addition, SMHI receive a free non-exclusive license to the developed application or value added-value service with the right to use in commercial activities. This will not affect SMHI right to take action in response to breach of contract under paragraph 7.1 above.

        7.3 The term commercial activity is defined as activities that professional
        return for payment, that is likely to generate
        variable revenue, whether carried out in a registered business organization, under government authority
        or not. With variable income ‘means income that varies with sales volume.

        8th Transfer

        8.1 Licensee may not assign its rights or obligations under this Agreement with less than that obtained written consent from SMHI.

        9th Termination

        9.1 Where the contract was terminated by regulation in paragraph 7.1 or 7.2, above, shall
        Licensee delete or destroy the data or products covered by this agreement
        and no later than thirty days after the termination of the contract to confirm that they occurred.

        10th Additional to the Agreement

        10.1 Supplementary to or modification of this Agreement shall be in writing and signed by both parties to be valid.

        11th Any dispute, choice, etc.

        11.1 Any dispute concerning this Agreement, its interpretation or in other legal relationship arising therefrom shall, if the parties can not resolve the dispute by negotiation, be settled in civil courts.

        11.2 For the cases both parties are government agencies, any disputes that can not be
        settled through negotiations, through mediation. Mediators appointed by the Parties.

        Eat me.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Nullius, when read in context (oh, that little important bit that you forgot. Funny how deniers forget that) it has nothing to do with what the recipient of the data can disclose. But then you don’t know how to read a contract ro a law, do you?

        I hope you didn’t get screwed on your mortgage!

      • Latimer Alder

        Open and shut case. The circumstance of an FoI request is specifically catered for in the agreement.

        Clause 4.2 applies. CRU can show their Swedish data to McIntyre et al. There is no confidentiality restriction from Sweden.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        No dimbulb, it involves a request under *Swedish* law. Still can’t read, can you?

      • Latimer Alder

        I don’t see any discussion of Swedish Law applying to FoI requests in other countries.

        Please point it out.

      • Well done. So had CRU been able to produce the agreement Jones was eager to hide behind, it would have said there was no problem letting McIntyre have the data.

        So whether or not agreements were in fact signed, the option of saying there were agreements preventing distribution to McIntyre, but that they had mislaid them, was the only one that could satisfy Jones’s desire to hide the data for his own reasons.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Sorry, got that wrong. It may be available under FOIA if it is “contained in a document that would otherwise be [subject to section 4.1]”. Not clear if an unaltered copy of the data would be subject here, it would need to be litigated.

        It is just not clear, one would have to have a Swedish lawyer take a look at this one, but I have a feeling that (as Steve and friends lust after) unaltered data would not be subject to this, but it would be difficult to find this out. I know a few US lawyers, but no Swedish lawyers.

        Logic would dictate that allowing disclosure to anyone who made a direct request for the data would defeat the purpose of the agreement in the first place so the interpretation that Nullius is proposing seems silly on it’s face. I still hold that section 3.2 is controlling here since the request is for the actual data and not (as section 4.2 seems to envision) for a document which might contain that data, but it is debatable.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Logic would dictate that allowing disclosure to anyone who made a direct request for the data would defeat the purpose of the agreement”

        I think you misunderstand the purpose of the agreement. It’s aim is to ensure that the Swedes retain control over the master copy of the raw data, and that everybody gets it from them. It’s not to stop it falling into the hands of commercial or non-academic people.

        All Phil had to do was give the website for the download page, and say “you have to get it from here, I can’t give it to you.” In the event of FOIA, the Swedes acknowledge that FOI law supercedes their attempt to maintain data purity. However, the recipient of the FOIA’ed data would have to be told it was subject to copyright, and they therefore could not republish either, all they could do would be to check Phil’s version matched the raw data, and then refer the interested to the raw data.

        Phil’s problem, of course, is that pointing people to the raw data was no good, they needed his modified data to match his results, but he had to be able to describe it as the raw data else people would ask about the modifications, and he would have to admit he hadn’t noted down what he’d done to it, so it wasn’t replicable. The Swedes wouldn’t let him do that.

        The purpose of the Swedes’ restrictions is not to maintain confidentiality, but to retain control, and hence guarantee integrity.

      • Perhaps it also relevant that the UK FOIA contains the following provision 27(2)

        “Information is also exempt information if it is confidential information obtained from a State other than the United Kingdom or from an international organisation or international court.”

        Thus it’s not obvious, whether the UK FOIA forms a basis to apply the para 4.2. For me it seems that the data would be exempt and 4.2 would not apply.

        It appears very difficult to say now, what the Swedes did allow originally, what they would have allowed at some particular later date, what they would allow now, and what CRU was justified to take as allowed at the time of the FOIA requests.

      • Anybody that believes the Swedish agreement is relevant should first of all get CRU to state that they were bound by the Swedish agreement.

        And if CRU do state that, next question will be, why didn’t they say that ever before?

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Information is also exempt information if it is confidential information obtained from a State other than the United Kingdom”

        But the point was that the information was not confidential. The Swedes themselves had it up on a public website!

        Preserving confidentiality is not the only reason for forbidding copying to third parties. Since the data itself is easily downloaded from the Swedish site, it’s clearly not confidential. The point is that in order to get it you have to agree to the Swedish terms. The reason they tell you not to pass it on is to make sure they retain control.

        It’s not even certain that the Swedes wouldn’t have allowed it – they do allow third party dissemination with written permission – if Phil hadn’t told them he’d modified the data. Had Phil said he would pass it on unaltered, and with the Swede’s caveats applied to the whole database, they might well have agreed to it. Their letter suggests so. But even without, had Phil provided a list of links, I’m sure McIntyre and co. would have been satisfied. As they did with MBH98, the first thing they would have done is to check it against the source data anyway.

      • When was the information put to the Swedish web site?

        I do certainly agree that CRU was not acting as it should been acting based on FOIA. There appears to be no controversy on that as that has been confirmed by examinations of the issue. There appears to be disagreement of the severity of the misbehavior, and to some extent on, who within EAU was formally responsible.

        There appears to be no hope that our discussion on this thread will clear these points at all. Everybody is guessing essential details. Official inquiries have reached certain conclusions, but the skeptical side is skeptical on them as well.

      • Besides the mealy-mouthed parliamtary one, those “official enquiries” being those the UEA hand-picked from its pals and trusted CAGW-truthers, and paid £300,000 (was it?) to exonerate them? You have to admire their thoroughness in ensuring the right answer.

      • I looked a bit more on the Swedish site, where the data can be downloaded. The file of the license agreement is from 23 Jan 2008. That and other dates that I found indicate that the service was opened in February 2008.

        Sweden is one of the most open countries in Europe concerning availability of the data.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “When was the information put to the Swedish web site?”

        You might be able to figure it out with something like the WayBack Machine.

        But the conditions apply at least from the time of the Swedes reply to professor Jones, in the letters cited earlier, and that Jones then reported his interpretation of to Parliament.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        No, there is at least one and as far as I can tell probably other electrontic or “gentlemens” agreements about the release of data. I don’t know what happened in every case, but in the Swedish case, it was clear that he was not allowed to release the RAW data. No agreement could be produced by CRU (lost over the years?) but SMHI clearly has an academic NDA which must be agreed to if you want the data.

        The things do exist, CRU is not lying — MET services want NDAs in return for disclosing raw data. I’ve explained the rational for this in other comments. If you are not willing to accept this, that is up to you, but you are denying reality since I have offered both the SMHI and Environment Canada as examples of services which want to make a profit from selling raw data. Like it or not, some governments look at historical weather data as a profit center.

      • unfortunately this misses several points.

        1. before entering into a confidentiality agreement with anyone regarding data, CRU must, according to its guidelines, find that the data is necessary to its mission. The purported confidential data was not necessary for the temperature series and nt necessary to CRUs mission.

        2. CRU was under an obligation to inform 3rd parties that the agreements could be trumpted by FOIA

        3. CRU gave the data to others who were similarly situated to mcIntyre

        4. CRU refused to segregate the data and send what they could. They argued this would take too long. By co mingling data in such a way, they contaminated open data. Later, of course, they found it quite easy to produce results with un restricted data. proving, thereby, that the confidential data was not necessary to their mission.
        5. the agreements in question were either unsigned or not what CRU purported them to be.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        The only thing I can say is BS Mosher. You are a lying sack of excrement as amply documented on the intertubes. Oh no, I didn’t try and orchestrate an FOI bomb at CRU. And of course I didn’t try and get a similar thing going over the ATI requests. No, no, no. I am not a bastard.

        Sorry if I am harsh, but you are a bastart.

      • Stirling English

        Dear Rattus

        Enough of these mealy-mouthed euphemisms already! Of the silken diplomacy. The subtle manoeuvering. The ambiguous phrases.

        Just come straight out and tell us what you really think.

      • Rattus, you’ll let us know if you ever come up with any actual arguments re: Steve Mosher, won’t you?

      • yes I did help steve orchestrate the FOIA to CRU

        Now, to the points I raised WRT CRU obligations with confidential data. Annex G of their guidelines which I linked to several times during our effort.

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/29/cru-erases-data/#comment-189294

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/29/cru-erases-data/#comment-189298

        You see making stupid arguments like fordperfect was making and making stupid arguments like CRU was making GOADS people like me into action.

        Making stupid arguments about ATI will also GOAD me into action.

        As the inquiries found CRU brought trouble ON THEMSELVES. people who make stupid arguments about confidentiality and FOIA should apply the precautionary principle. I’m more than willing to test the stupid arguments you come up with by writing FOIA.
        If you think Im a bastard then stop being an idiot. why would you goad a bastard into doing more FOIA.
        I’ve left a few FOIA unwritten cause I see no point in beating the dead horse, but maybe I should do it just to piss you off.

      • The “FOI Bomb” being a request for the alleged signed confidentiality agreements that Jones was keen to hide behind lest anyone dispute his opinions, for which zero evidence has emerged.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Rattus Norvegicus

        Your last comment suggests to me that you have finally realised that your interpretation of events does not have any legs left to stand on.

        It is simple. CRU said they couldn’t produce the data because of confidentiality agreements. People asked to see their agreements. They couldn’t produce them. Ergo they were being ‘economical with the truth’ and exposed as such.

        Complaining about the exact means used to expose these mendacities (which seemed to be entirely legitimate tactics to me) doesn’t divert from the central point that the CRU deliberately lied in an attempt to avoid their legal obligations under UK FoI.

        Example :
        Teacher: Phil Jones..where’s your homework?
        PJ: The dog ate it, sir
        Teacher: Shame. What’s the name of your dog?
        PJ: (shuffles feet, coughs, looks around): Tiddles???
        Teacher: Tomorrow by 10 am. And don’t forget to feed your cat.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Latimer, SMHI sent them a letter (in the context of trying to get permission to release the data as part of the effort to open up the data) which said “we will not give you permission to release our data. Please direct requests to us.” Environment Canada sent them a similar letter.

      • And did they direct them to them?

      • what rattus misses is this.

        CRU had an obligation to inform sweden when mcintyre asked for the data. In fact they had an obligation when they took data from sweden to inform sweden that FOIA could trump the agreement. They had an obligation to inform sweden when Webster asked for the data.

        In the end, steve requested only the non confidential data. That was denied as well.

      • Steven,

        The UK FOIA doesn’t trump the agreement. It has a provision that clearly allows for the agreement of confidentiality to remain valid, when the other party is a foreign government (and SMHI is part of government).

      • So the simple fact is, neither Jones nor the CRU could produce the alleged signed agreement limiting distribution of Swedish data that Jones said existed. Nor with any other country. So either Jones was flat-out lying, or ALL the alleged agreements were ‘lost’.

        But even if they had existed, are we seriously being asked to believe that the author of “Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it”, was really worried about honouring agreements? Agreements he said he’d “hide” behind if he had to, to hide “his” (tax-funded) data from anyone who disagreed with his conclusions.

      • I believe that this covers off some of the agreements:

        “The disk and the following precipitation data are sent to you without charge. The condition is that you do not use them commercially or give them to a third party. We probably must charge you for other data if you want them, because we have to do the calculations on overtime.” Bjorn Aune, DNMI (Det norske meteorologiske institute).

        There is an agreement in Spanish, and one from Bahrain. There is also an agreement with the UKMO.

        Do I accept the argument that the CRU lost some of the agreements? Sure do. It’s likely no one involved in the early collection of this data could anticipate how important they might be in the future when science was being denied and scientists subject to political inquisitions. It’s regrettable but completely understandable that the documents might be lost in office moves or archives. Some of these are 15 – 20 years old. Some may be older.

      • Susan –
        I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if there were agreements and they were “lost”, then it says things about that organization that are even worse than have been assumed till now. I DO understand that some things can be misplaced over that length of time, BUT – those agreements should have been held by the Legal or Admin department as opposed to the scientists. And there should have been multiple coherent records of their existence.

        I worked on spacecraft programs where the design documents, the PI agreements, Instrument build contracts, I&T contracts, etc were held in triplicate in different locations and were available on the last day of operation of the last spacecraft – some of them 25-30 years later.

        Do I know this absolutely? Believe it – I was a principal in the decommissioning of some of those programs and those documents were legally necessary.

        Bottom line is that losing that kind of thing “can” be damaging both legally and careerwise. Unless nobody cares – and that’s rare.

      • it blows the covers off nothing.

        1. The data was supplied by Jones to McIntyre in 2002.
        2. Jones gave the data to Rutherford
        3. Jones transmitted the data to MET
        4. Jones gave the data to Webster.

        If you want to grasp the “confidential horn” please feel free. Jones transmitted confidential data to others.

        When he was asked to transmit that same data to Mcintyre he refused. The first excuse was McIntyre was not an academic and CRU had agreements that prevented this.
        So, we had 3 professors ask for the data. they were refused and the story CRU told was the agreements covered any re distribution.

        That changing storyline led us to FOIA the agreements.
        CRU responded to the 50 requests by Posting the agreements.

        You follow? The FOIA for the agreements WAS ANSWERED.
        and it had to take less than 18 hours or they could deny it.
        How do I know, My FOIA was in that stack of 50. I requested enough stuff to get them to reject my FOIA on the 18 hour clause.

        NEXT. steve appealed the DATA FOIA. He pointing out several things

        1. FOIA can trump confidentiality
        2. the data had already been shared with others
        3. the data had been placed on the web, with no harm to the countries.

        AND he asked for the non confidential data.

        That APPEAL was denied.

        And THEN, somebody using the name FOIA, ended his collection of climategate mails, and a couple days later he liberated them.

        make sense yet

        DATA FOIA: denied with bogus excuse
        AGREEMENT FOIA: CRU complied
        DATA APPEAL: CRU DENIES
        Mails liberated

        One last thing: Losing agreements should never be an excuse for holding open data hostage. less than 2% of the data was covered by agreements. We had that figured out already. By losing agreements CRU was able to deny requests for Open data. Their sloppiness means we lose our rights. Not good. Not behavior you want to encourage

      • I appreciate the explanations, but you can see that this is where the perception of flooding with requests comes from, and why the Jones quote at the end of the article, that these people don’t deserve to be taken seriously after such behavior, is understandable.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        The other thing which might have contributed to Nurse’s comment might have been the fact that Steve actually requested unpublished (and apparently ongoing) research. If he really wants to get a chronology for this area, he knows damn well how to do it himself.

        But then, I don’t think he really knows how to do his homework in this area. Just criticize other’s work. Steve is an idiot.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Jim D, it has always been obvious where the perception comes from (namely, misleading remarks from some people on one side). That doesn’t mean it is understandable for people to say things based upon the faulty impression. That’s like hearing gossip and repeating it as truth.

      • It’s not misleading – they did it. Instead of appealing, which is the proper response if you think UEA was wrong.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This response makes no sense. Appealing would make sense if people questioned the logic of the response. They didn’t.

        The response cited confidentiality agreements with certain clauses. This response made people curious about such confidentiality agreements, so they sent in FOI requests about those.

      • Well, if it’s just curiosity, why not just one request?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Your question was answered in a comment earlier in this thread:

        there was a concern that CRU would once again try to evade the FOI, as they had done several times. We were concerned that they would say that an FOI request for e.g. “any and all confidentiality agreements” would be turned down on the basis that it was too broad.

        So it was decided that, rather than ask for every confidentiality agreement and get turned down, we’d ask for them five at a time. That way they couldn’t evade the request on the grounds that it was too complex.

      • recall your argument about ATI’s request being too broad.
        there is an 18 hour limit on the FOIA time spent.

        If we requested too many in one request they could pull the 18 hour card.

        If you doubt they would, see my rejection letter.

      • actually steve did appeal.

        The appeal asked for data tat was not covered by agreements.
        This appeal was denied on Nov 12, 2009.
        The last mail was collected on that date
        The denial letter went out Nov 17th/18th

      • “This appeal was denied on Nov 12, 2009.”
        But the DoS attack was in July. It failed to soften them up.

      • Latimer Alder

        Please give exact details of the DoS attack. I have not heard of this event before.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Nick Stokes is apparently labeling ~50 FOI requests as a denial of service attack even though they could have all been handled in a few hours time. He’s grossly distorting thing in an attempt to make those he disagrees with look worse.

      • Jim D gave the link where you’ll find it.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Nick Stokes

        Please explain how you interpret the events described as a ‘Denial of Service’ attack?

        I can understand that from a CRU perspective they were a pain in the butt – especially because they showed that their previous stratagems to avoid their legal reaponsibilities had been rumbled and shown to be false.

        But that is a long long long way from being a DoS attack.
        I get peeved when my tax form comes through the post and I have to spend a few hours collating records and teh like. But I don;t accuse HMRC of a DoS attack every year…it is just complying with the Law.

        What do you perceive to have been different in this case?

      • I think if the tax office sent you 50 tax forms where one would do you’d call it something like a DoS attack.

      • Latimer Alder

        I might have been annoyed. But if, say ,they sent me one for each month of the year rather than just an annual one, it would have been perfectly possible to fill them in with the data I had already prepared.

        Was there a difference in CRU’s case?

        Here is the form letter of reply:

        Dear Mr PP1

        Here are the confidentiality agreements for countries

        Country 1
        Country 2
        Country 3
        Country 4
        Country 5

        as requested (attachment x 5)

        Next one

        Dear Mr PP2

        Here are the confidentiality agreements for countries

        Country 6
        Country 7
        Country 8
        Country 9
        Country 10

        as requested (attachment x5)

        and the next

        Dear Mr PP3

        Here are the confidentiality agreements for countries

        Country 11
        Country 12
        Country 13
        Country 14
        Country 15

        as requested (attachment x5)

        and so on.

        Not really much different from one big answer

        Dear Mr Big PP

        Here are the confidentiality agreements for countries

        Country 1
        Country 2
        Country 3
        Country 4
        Country 5
        Country 6
        Country 7

        Country 199
        Country 200

        as requested (attachment x 200)

        Can you make a convincing case that there is a significant degree of difference in the effort involved in answering these depending on the mechanism? Both involve, say, a day’s work for a junior admin person with Word, a printer and a photocopier/scanner.

        Remember that CRU had already stated that confidentiality agreements were in place and applicable. So it is entirely reasonable to assume that they already knew where to find them and had read them.

      • Oh don’t be ridicuous Nick. All they had to do was send copies of some alleged agreements.

        Of would you prefer it that they be allowed to lie in peace about there being confidentiality agreeements, so that they can have a public reason to hide data, so that the alarmist consensus to which they are precommitted, cannot be questioned?

      • Beating off that ferocious FOI attack would have involved photo/copying 50 documents and emailing them. A morning’s work?
        Assuming they exist. Which we now all know they don’t – which everyone a CRU must have already known.

      • You confuse two issues.

        The appeal referenced an entirely different matter.

        the 50 FOIA WERE SUCCESFULLY ANSWERED.

        the ~50 FOIA were answered by Jones 1200 words essay. CRU combined all 50 requests into ONE REQUEST. They then determined that this request could be answered in 18 hours. they answered it by posting Jones essay and by posting the agreements.

        ONE of those ~50 requests was denied. My version was denied.

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/#comment-188545

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/13/cru-in-wonderland-refusing-ross-mckitrick/#comment-191366

        for CRUs obligations under confidentiality agreements

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/29/cru-erases-data/#comment-189294

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/29/cru-erases-data/#comment-189298

      • Nick – please post a link to a NickStokese-English dictionary so we can all understand what you’re talking about.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        No, I absolutely don’t see why the Jones quote is understandable. The charming fellow had been lying and twisting and turning and deceiving and doing everything he could to avoid showing his data.

        For him to lay that all off on the people asking for the data is pathetic. And for you to swallow it whole is a bitter joke. Jones knew damn well that fifty FOI requests for the same data weren’t a problem, it was all just one request split up to make sure he couldn’t lie his way out of it, and little more work than a single request … but he sure managed to fool you, Jim. You desperately need to turn up the gain on your bull— detector …

        w.

      • who’s this Robert anyway?

      • Everyone — and no one. The shadow of the hawk over the fieldmouse — the sound of one hand clapping.

      • He is an Exxon employee … trying to convince us that AGW followers are dumber than a sack of hammers.

      • Latimer Alder

        Don’t need no outside help in determining that, wherever this guy comes from

      • When Steve McI was unable to obtain the data from CRU, instead of going to the original national sources as most academics would do, he pursued CRU with these FOIAs. This is not rational behavior for someone just interested in the data. The data was not secret and he most likely knew it, but he would have seen first hand what kind of agreement he would have needed to obtain it, rather than by this circuitous route. Also, CRU does not define itself as a data dissemination center. It is not obligated to pass on third-party data.

      • CRU is obligated to abide by the law. The FOIA is law.

        You expected Steve M to go to 200 original national sources and duplicate what CRU had already done when it should have taken them a few hours at most to fulfill their obligation under the law? Who’s being irrational here?

        If the data was not secret, why didn’t they give it to him in the first place? Again – who’s being irrational here?

      • The data weren’t his to give away. Most centers retain some proprietary rights requiring permissions, so that they know who is getting their data. Jones was only allowed to give it to his direct collaborators (like Webster).

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Hogwash. There was absolutely no agreement saying that jones could only give data to certain people. That’s a fabrication. If you think it is true, cite the agreement making that exception.

        w.

      • Nullius in Verba

        The original national centres didn’t have the data he was asking for, and yes it was secret – so secret that Phil Jones said he would delete it rather than sending it to anybody.

      • How would Steve McI even know that unless he got the original data and tried to duplicate the CRU work. Is there evidence he did that? That is speculation.

      • Nullius in Verba

        How can you think to comment without understanding even that much?

        The reconstruction is based on a specific subset of the climate data, a subset of the stations. The data for the stations is public, but the list of which particular stations were used was Phil Jones’ personal secret.

        It’s like saying the secret cake recipe isn’t a secret, because you can find all the ingredients in the shops. No I’m not telling you which ingredients. And if you make your own cake with your best guess at the recipe I can always say you did it wrong.

        Obviously when Phil said he’d rather delete the file, he wasn’t talking about the public data out with the national weather centres. How could he possibly delete that, and what point would it serve? Clearly he meant something else. Did it not occur to you to find out?

      • That doesn’t make sense. Why should the UEA station list be subject to confidentiality agreements of the type requested by the FOIAs?

      • Nullius in Verba

        Quite.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Perhaps I should expand on that, since it’s likely to be misinterpreted.

        The original request was primarily for the station list, with the data as used also requested because it often turns out not to be quite as specified, and it makes it far easier to track down bugs like this if you have the data. (It had proved a big issue in MBH98, for example.)

        It proved to be the case here as well. Apparently, CRU have modified the raw data; a cardinal sin in science. Worse, they didn’t note down exactly what they did. As the years went by, they just merged different versions of data into the database willy nilly, and forgot what they did. That’s even worse. The result is that using the actual original data wouldn’t work. We’d have to use Phil’s version to get the same answer, or to identify any issues.

        That was the problem the Swedes had with it, though. When Phil asked for permission to redistribute it, but mentioned that his version had been fiddled with, they refused permission for him to do it in their name. He could distribute his own processed data, or he could refer people to their website for the real data, but he couldn’t give people his data and claim it was theirs.

        Of course, we all know that the first thing the sceptics will try to do is to compare Phil’s data to the real stuff and try to reconcile the two. That, I suspect, is why Phil would rather have deleted it, and why he chose to hide behind the non-existent confidentiality agreements.

        So in theory, all we need is the station list and the algorithm, and confidentiality agreements don’t come into it. In practice we probably need the data too. Hence the issue.

      • So, he could have obtained the station list, gone to the national centers for their original data, checked to see how far off CRU was from what he thought it should be, and then asked questions. It looks like that didn’t happen, but it could have become a complete non-issue if that was done, and CRU wasn’t far different. Other studies including Spencer and now Mueller have borne out CRU since then.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Other analyses from the sceptic side had already repeated the general result, too. But what does that tell you? How could you ask questions about Phil’s version, when you don’t know what’s in it? Any testing done on the method would have been rejected as irrelevant, because it wouldn’t apply to the CRU’s result.

      • Everyone would agree that scientific results need to be repeatable, and independently checkable, to the extent that their conclusions are not altered. If someone had done their own check of the same stations and obtained results that alter the CRU record significantly, that would have been an issue to pursue. If you can’t get exact, but can get close repeatability within the noise, it is not a big deal.

      • When collection of the original WMO data was done it is very conceivable that agreements were that of a gentleman type – verbal – This is backed up as others have said by the fact that some are still refusing to release their data.

        Also early on in this stupidity jones would not have realised that emails would be taken verbatim and fired back in his face. Emails in a research environment are for rapid exchange of ideas, sometimes they even get used for sending jokes – oh! horror!
        Do you HONESTLY believe that jones would delete his work rather than send it – you must be very naive!

        One thing is certain this attack on climate science will hve made further FOIs unecessary as all will be using other means of communication, andlosing the immediacy and usefulness of emails. A sad state.

      • John Carpenter

        “sometimes they even get used for sending jokes – oh! horror!
        Do you HONESTLY believe that jones would delete his work rather than send it – you must be very naive!”

        Obviously Jones would not delete his own work… but maybe from the public… The email where he said he would rather delete data than release it does not come across as a ha ha funny type joke when I read it. Even if I give that idea the benefit of the doubt… verbalizing (or writing in this case) such a thing to someone else who is like minded really reveals what that person’s true feelings on the matter are… that he is not going to release any data… period. Why? I submit it was not because of the NDA’s. What say you?

        I also submit that only scientists who have guilty consciences may not use emails in the future for fear of getting found out. There is no reason why one would stop using email if one remains honest in one’s scientific communications with others. Perhaps it’s not a bad thing for people to think of consequences of what they write before they write it.

      • except jones did send it to:

        mcintyre in 2002
        Rutherford in 2005
        Webster in 2008/9
        And he had it posted on the web in 2009 by mistake/

        People forget this aspect of the argument

        FOIA allows for CRU to break confidentiality agreements if it is in the public interest to do so.

        CRU argued that IF they shared this data, then they might not be able to get access to it in the future.

        This argument is bogus on two counts.
        1. the data they might lose is NOT NECESSARY TO THEIR MISSION. In fact, the science shows that the answer is insensitive to the inclusion/exclusion of confidential data.
        so, the harm they fear is NO HARM AT ALL. their science says as much.

        2. CRU released the data publically with NO CONSEQUENCES thus proving that the harm they feared was imaginary.

        The actual facts show that the harm done by not breaking confidentiality agreements was greater than any imagined harm.

      • Jim D

        “When Steve McI was unable to obtain the data from CRU, instead of going to the original national sources as most academics would do, he pursued CRU with these FOIAs. This is not rational behavior for someone just interested in the data. The data was not secret and he most likely knew it, but he would have seen first hand what kind of agreement he would have needed to obtain it, rather than by this circuitous route. Also, CRU does not define itself as a data dissemination center. It is not obligated to pass on third-party data”

        So much of this is Hogwash;

        “”When Steve McI was unable to obtain the data from CRU, instead of going to the original national sources as most academics would do, he pursued CRU with these FOIAs.”

        Steve has a well defined procedure. Write to the author, write to the journal, then FOIA.

        Steve had a history with CRU. in 2002 he wrote to Jones and Jones supplied the data. In 2009 he learned that Webster has gotten the data from Jones. So Steve requested it. That request was denied with a false misrepresentation. We knew the representation was false. the agreements show it was false. the appeal office said it was “innacurate.” The MET and later CRU argued that steve could not get the data because he was not an “academic”. So we had academics ask for the data. Then the story changed.

        There is an important reason why people like Steve and me ask for the data from CRU. We need it to benchmark and check our work. I’ll give you one small example. I tried to replicate CRUs calculation for SST. I used the same dataset they did. I code an algorithm per their instructions. The answer didnt match.

        This comes down to several things:
        1. our data sources are different AND/OR
        2. our algorithm is different.

        to check the data source I need the data AS THEY USED IT.
        Not a pointer to the source they SAID they used, BUT, the ACTUAL source. If I still have a problem, then I need either their code or their time to explain why we differ.

        Post climategate, of course, CRU was helpful in tracking down the difference. I spent about two weeks trying to figure out what I had done wrong and also trying different interpretations of their words (describing the algorithm) Then I sent a mail, then more time passes, then they respond. Turned out they didnt describe exactly what they did. the BEST description of an algorithm IS THE ALGORITHM. Had they published code, I would have saved time, they would have saved time, and everything would be keen.

        “This is not rational behavior for someone just interested in the data. The data was not secret and he most likely knew it, but he would have seen first hand what kind of agreement he would have needed to obtain it, rather than by this circuitous route. ”

        Its the most rational route. He knew that Webster got the data by requesting it, so he requested it. From early on we knew that SOME of the data maybe covered. Jones said that in 2002, again in 2004. learn the facts.

        “Also, CRU does not define itself as a data dissemination center. It is not obligated to pass on third-party data””

        Sorry, it has guidelines that instruct employees to take care when signing confidentiality agreements with third parties BECAUSE such data may have to be released to other parties under FOIA. their guidelines describe procedures for passing on data.

      • Does the code have creative or commercial value? Like a trade secret?

      • It is certainly good to get the view of those involved with the 58 FOIAs, and it is clear to me there was a long history that led up to this. It is relevant to the original post that this story is told as an example of what is being complained about there when they talk about targeting scientists. I think this is a case where the antagonism between individual people led to an escalation (on both sides) rather than any actual importance of the data itself, because that data turned out not to have issues of any significance. Jones was able to pass the data to his collaborators, but did not know, nor care to find out, what part of it he could pass it to others. It was obviously the design of the FOIAs to make him care to find out, but I think that looks like targeting in the way it was done and nobody comes out looking good.

      • Why is asking for however-many alleged confidentiality agreements a ‘spurious’ request? They wanted to know if UEA and Jones were lying about this – and it turns out they were. Is it ‘spurious’ to uncover science fraud such as this ?

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        As I showed in my comment above about Sweden, although CRU could not produce an agreement wrt Swedish data, Sweden does have an NDA requirement for release of data to academic researchers.

        Basically, it is safe to assume that anything that is not included in GHCN is under NDA. Live with it, because that is the real world.

      • In the real world “The Dog Ate My Data” and “The Dog Ate My NDA” excuses are laughed at.

      • The people making the request were random CA readers, who claimed it was for ‘academic research’. This was either lying or spurious.

      • Why do you think they were “random”? Did you read what Willis had to say about it? You might want to do that before shoving the other foot in there. :-)

      • ‘academic research’? Do you believe that? The answer from Willis looked like lipstick on a pig to me. The flood of requests, though well intentioned(?), made the press, and probably didn’t help Steve McI’s reputation, who must have had his druthers on this whole mess. They probably won’t be doing this again, which is probably some good that has come out of it.

      • The “flood”? How many in a flood?

      • 58 in 5 days. It made news in August 2009, prior to Climategate interestingly. I linked to the news item earlier.

      • Right Jim. CRU turned down a request for all the data because they claimed there were SOME countries with an NDA.

        So a request was made on a country by country basis.

        Turns our CRU lied. No NDA agreements.

        It was CRU’s lies that turned 1 request for all countrys to 1 request per country.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Look, Jim D, I was there, I was involved, and I know what happened.

        You weren’t there, you weren’t involved, and you don’t know what happened. However, you sure do have some interesting fantasies about what went on, fantasies that reveal much about you but nothing about what actually happened.

        Give it a rest, you’re just making people point and laugh. Or you could go try to convince someone who wasn’t there and wasn’t involved, it’ll be much easier.

        w.

  67. Brandon Shollenberger

    Judith Curry, I think you need to look at some of the comments on this page. I think this comment is pushing things, but thisone is definitely overboard. And this one is all sorts of unacceptable.

    (Feel free to delete this comment after looking at those.)

  68. The net of this comments saga is that Rattus has further harmed the CRU defense.

    I thought Mosher had clarified everything there was to clarify, so let me simplify it as much as possible…CRU did not say “we have signed the Swedish non-disclosure agreement”. They did not even produce it upon request.

    So if such a document exists and any Rattus can find it on the web, we can assume CRU did not sign it.

  69. I see…it wasnt DoS, it was DoP, “Denial of Photocopier”, as the machine at CRU would have been kept busy making 50 copies of the same reply.

    Luckily the FOATFOI (Freedom of Avoiding the Freedom of Information) Officers intervened and the photocopier was left available for others to use (to hide the decline).

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Actually, the most they needed was a couple minutes with a scanner. The easiest solution was to post the agreements online, draft up a form letter/e-mail with the URL, and send it out to all the people making a request.

      In fact, that’s what they did.

  70. The Washington Post has an editorial today on climate FOI’s, related to Mann and ATI.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harassing-climate-change-researchers/2011/05/27/AG1xJMEH_story.html

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Thanks for that link. It was interesting to read, even if it was garbage.

      • Typical media treatment, Brandon. Although more in the NYT style than the usual WaPo style. But still, not surprising.

    • Thanks for the link to the Washington Post editorial, Professor Curry.

      The opposition to full disclosure of evidence for CO2-induced global warming only confirms the worse fears of the public.

      Government science has become a tool of government propaganda, just as former President Eisenhower warned might happen one day:

  71. Money quote:

    FREEDOM OF information laws are critical tools that allow Americans to see what their leaders do on their behalf. But some global warming skeptics in Virginia are showing that even the best tools can be misused. . . . Going after Mr. Mann only discourages the sort of scientific inquiry that, over time, sorts out fact from speculation, good science from bad. Academics must feel comfortable sharing research, disagreeing with colleagues and proposing conclusions — not all of which will be correct — without fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them. That give-and-take should be unhindered by how popular a professor’s ideas are or whose ideological convictions might be hurt.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      If there had ever been any chance of any sort of scientific inquiry into Mann’s work from mainstream scientists, this quote might mean something.

      • With all those separate Mann investigations to forget, does the memory hole get crowded?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Even if there were “separate Mann investigations,” those were a cause of the actions of skeptics. If not for Steve McIntyre’s actions, none of them would have happened.

        Of course, there haven’t really been “separate Mann investigations.”

      • So it never happened, and if it did happen, Steven McIntyre gets the credit?

        Would you like to pick one of those stories and run with it? They don’t seem to fit together.

    • I am sure all Governments will be happy to tell you that their political executives “must feel comfortable sharing research, disagreeing with colleagues and proposing conclusions — not all of which will be correct — without fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them”. But that is not the point. The point is that anything done by a Govenment at all levels has to be shared with the public (apart from exceptional circumstances).

      Otherwise we slip back to the lies of the Vietnam War era. Who would want to do that? The Washington Post???

  72. David Schnare

    Judith,

    I foolishly selected the button that permits me to follow this thread by email. The last 150 comments are unworthy of your blog. Would you be kind enough to show more of your leadership and close the comments on this thread. In the mean time, I’ll do my best to figure out how to withdraw from the alert system.

    Thank you.

    • David, the challenge is not to throw out the baby with the bath water. About once every other month, there is a thread where this sort of thing happens. I am staying on top of this, I am trying to figure out how to put Robert’s comments into moderation so I can approve before they are posted. But I would like to ask the other generally responsible denizens who have taken Robert’s more extreme bait to resist from engaging in content free exchanges.

  73. David Schnare | May 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    I posed a question to you on McIntyres Blog which you seem to have missed. Would you care to answer it here please?

    David Schnare Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:48 AM
    We had several reasons, but the main one was to examine the history of this important period of time.

    I assume you have also FOId the sceptics emails, funding, grants, etc., etc.?

    Might I suggest McIntyre, McKitrick, Wegman, Singer, Lindzen, …..
    As these people have nothing to hide perhaps you already have the information? Perhaps you couold publish it?
    I hope you are not trying to examine the history of this important period from one man on one side of the debate?

    • David Schnare

      Sir,
      Your first question was a fair question that I thought others would reasonably ask, so I broke my general rule of refusing to respond to people who don’t provide their real names. This time your question is unworthy of a response. If you would use your real name and tell us all who you are, what you do for a living, your qualifications to participate in a civil discussion, and a principled basis for your question, then I will answer you. Until then, you haven’t earned a response.

    • You noticed , of course, that climate science was never mentioned in that article – in spite of obvious conclusions.

      • Jim – why would Ioannidis mention climatology? His point, if true, is much more important than that.

      • How many other areas of science did he mention? Not that there’s any surprise in climatology not being mentioned.

        Truthfully, I’m not sure he’s ever looked at climatology. His specialty is medical science – which has enough problems to keep him busy for a lifetime.

        I’ve got a rack full of books on the same general subject as this article – many of them predate the start of Ioannidis’ investigations. And most of them concern medical science, although a few of them are more general – like Robert Parks “Voodoo Science” and Alexander Kohn’s “False Prophets”. But it doesn’t matter what science you want to talk about – the problems and solutions are the same. And they have little or nothing to do with the actual science.

        BTW – engineering doesn’t escape the cancer either. I got to deal with that mess for a few years, too.

    • Thanks for this link

  74. Rattus Norvegicus

    One last thing about Steve’s latest FOIA to CRU:

    We would normally aim to present our work in the peer-reviewed literature. We intend to submit some of this material for publication as part of a wider discussion updating our interpretation of Yamal and other published chronologies.

    From

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    It does appear that Steve was asking for data from an ongoing research project.

    • Rattus –
      It does appear that Steve was asking for data from an ongoing research project.

      From my POV that’s not a legitimate excuse. IIRC, that data had already been used for one or more papers in the past. The data should have been released in support of those papers.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I agree that isn’t a legitimate excuse, but that wasn’t the excuse used by CRU. I don’t think CRU’s excuse was any better, but that’s a different topic.

        However, Rattus’s comment seems to be completely wrong. As far as I can tell, nothing in that response was covered by Steve McIntyre’s FOI request. It seems he is just conflating things.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        He was looking for a new “Polar Urals” chronology which could well include this work, as well as other work of which we are not currently aware of. It does appear that CRU is perfectly justified in not releasing whatever it was that Steve is looking for at present.

      • Congratulations Rattus. It seems you’ve found the elusive guaranteed lifetime grant technique for scientists the world over. You should get into the speaking circuit, people will surely be willing to shell a couple of hundred dollars a head for untold riches later.

        Since it was your idea I won’t try to exploit it myself. I’ll just keep it in mind though: (1) one gets some data from somewhere (legally, mind you); (2) one publishes a paper about that data, but not the data itself; (3) one starts working on another paper about that same data; (4) one repeats from point 2.

        The data will be forever absconded, the publications will flow ’till the end of time, and the grants with them.

    • The UK FOIA says:

      22 (1)Information is exempt information if-
      (a)the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
      (b)the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and
      (c)it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

      So I don’t think that intending “to submit some of this material for publication” gets you there. They need to be intending to publish the material requested (and as I understand it this would be unusual).

      Note also under 22 (1)(c) the withholding needs to reasonable, and even if judged exempt under Section 22, Sections 2 (1) & (2) requires that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

  75. Those papers published are either flawed or untrustworthy when the raw data are hidden behind an agenda.

  76. Ok, Jeff. I read the thread and your point is well-taken.

    I think there is a distinction between what Willis was saying and what I was saying. (Of course, Willis’ entire rant was ridiculous anyway because in the original post Judith clearly indicated that she thought Ward’s comments were off-base).

    I wasn’t saying that I think that Judith NEEDS to overt statements of her opinion relative to the opinions expressed in the material she excerpts (as Willis was – although I am quite sure he would never have the same objection if she weren’t to state overtly where she disagreed with a “skeptic/denier” — if she did).

    – First, I don’t think she NEEDS to do anything in particular. My point is that she would be better served in her goal of building bridges between legit science on both sides of the debate if she prioritized establishing a clear balance in her approach. This has been my bone to pick with her from when I first started reading her blog. I came here because I was interested in her comments about “tribalism” from climate scientists, and I have been continuously disappointed that she has failed to acknowledge (what I see as obvious) context related to that tribalism. So, in the very least, there is a difference in style between Willis’ demanding and my harranguing.

    – Second, I don’t think that she has to comment on opinions expressed in the excerpts she posts, but I think that she should show some balance between the types of comments she does make, and if she ideologically aligns on one side or the other more generally, it would be clearer for someone trying to discern how/whether her ideology influences her scientific perspective if she made her ideological lean clear. It may be because of the perspective I bring when reading – but I get a distinct sense that she does, in fact, bring a strongly political orientation to her perspective on the science and the related issues – but fails to control, or even attempt to control, for the influence of that orientation. I find that in effect, such an approach is ultimately deceptive.

    – Third, when she does something like link to Lynas’ material on the Greenpeach/IPCC/McIntyre dust-up along with editorial comments on that dust-up, and fairly significant analysis subsequently comes up that relates to her editorial comments, and that analysis is pointed out to her – I think it is incumbent on her to respond to a fair percentage of the time. You characterized my position as stating that she needs to respond 100% of the time that any subsequent analysis might become available. Obviously, that would be unreasonable. So now I’ll ask you to look at the subsequent analysis I pointed out to Judith, and tell me whether you think that it was highly relevant to the editorial slant she put on her original post about the Lynas dust-up. Assuming you would agree, should she respond whenever two of her readers are in such agreement? That would also be an unreasonable standard. But Judith didn’t just say that she doesn’t have to respond to any such subsequent analysis, she said, essentially, that the veracity of what Lynas and McIntyre wrote about the dust-up wasn’t germane to the editorial slant of her original post. Would you agree? If her original post had no editorial orientation, then maybe it wouldn’t be incumbent on her to respond to questions about the veracity of Lynas’ and McIntyre’s analysis – but there was a discernible editorial slant in her original post, and she spoke to the issues that they raised (with respect to conflict of interest) and so the veracity of their analysis is germane.

    Ok – after all that rambling, I will again say that your point is well taken. I’m honestly not entirely sure that there is enough of a conceptual distance between Willis’ rant and my rant to allow my explanation to stand. I’ll think about it more, and won’t bug Judith (on that topic at least) until I gain more clarity.

    • I bet when Joshua visits a friend’s home, he gives lots of great advice on how they should rearrange their furniture too, and gives it over and over and over again when they are too stubborn to listen to his sage advice. Some people just need to learn the etiquette of being a proper guest.

    • Joshua would seem to think that an observer identifying a political motive in others, means the observer has a political motive.

  77. Jeff Norris

    Joshua
    Let me first applaud your willingness to admit a misstep.
    Point One- Unfortunately fair and balance is always in the eye of beholder. While her goal maybe to encourage bridge building I don’t think she is willing to make her opinion subservient to it.
    Point Two- Determining whether your motivation is ideology or conscience is a very difficult thing. I truly like to think my primary driver is conscience but I know that on certain subjects it is not. I don’ t know how much introspection she goes through before posting, probably not a lot with time constraint being what they are. Is it to her detriment? I don’t know only time will tell. Additionally Blog post are not the best way for Humans to communicate. Humans still use visual and tonal cues to help the listener understand what we are trying to convey. Undoubtedly yours and mine perception of her stances would change significantly if we spoke to her face to face
    Point Three-I think her willingness to engage is remarkable compared to most other blogs especially considering the volume of comments. One of the reasons it has taken so long for me to respond is that your concern covers IMO 3 different post by Curry so it force me to do a lot of reading. In the end I have to say Opening Mind I and II were about the ramification of Lynas conversion or Heresy not why it happened and was it justified. Who can say whether Paul’s conversion on the road was caused by guilt, God or dehydration the big thing was that he went from persecutor to the persecuted. I think Dr. Curry has some hard feelings about how she has been treated and it shows in her Blog. Did she ignore you, no. Was she more interested in talking about IPCC defenders vilifying opponents than having an impartial debate on the veracity of McIntyre and Lynas’s claim, Heck yeah.
    Joshua doesn’t take offense by this because frankly I have engaged in the same behavior. Whenever I have given or attended a presentation invariably there is someone who is always asking a lot of question, mostly “What If” kinds that derail or distract from the point of the presentation. Some of the questions the instructor can’t answer because they don’t flat out know, other times the questioner refuses to accept the answer. At some point you both have to agree to move on.
    G version

  78. I think Dr. Curry has some hard feelings about how she has been treated and it shows in her Blog. Did she ignore you, no. Was she more interested in talking about IPCC defenders vilifying opponents than having an impartial debate on the veracity of McIntyre and Lynas’s claim, Heck yeah.

    This is essentially my point. She didn’t ignore me, but she did completely refuse to engage on important issues of substance w.r.t. to Lynas’ and McIntyre’s analysis of the dust-up. IMO – her priorities reflect an emotional influence that she should acknowledge and account for.

    Judith claims that there is some “vast asymmetry” in the import and/or degree of the tribalism, and I think that her hard feelings (combined with her own political orientation) are more of an explanation for her perception of asymmetry than are the facts on the ground. Now, of course, I could be wrong about that – but if she steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that potential and either account for it or at least make the case that she isn’t so influenced, then in the end the weight of her perspective is diminished.

    • Rob Starkey

      Joshua–LOL so if someone does not give you the amount of attention you desire then the value of their perspective on issues is diminished??? Really?? If she was to respond to everyone’s thoughts or positions she would not never accomplish anything else and would probably quickly get bored or frustrated.

    • Latimer Alder

      Go read the ‘About; for this blog. You will find the following words:

      ‘a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface’

      It is not Judith;s personal megaphone nor intended to be. And there is no obligation on her or anybody else to engage on any particular topic or hobby horse if they do not find it of interest or of relevance. Sadly you have found nobody who cares about the topic you so frequently and repetitively raise.

      You are clearly finding it difficult to come to adjust to the freewheeling nature of the conversations here. Perhaps an extended visit to blogs where the interaction is far more guru–>acolyte-worshipper would suit your temperament better?

  79. Joshua
    Ask her about personal bias and how it relates to CoI on the thread, Don’t form it as an accusation but maybe use her as an example of what might be needed to overcome. I would ask but I have some task to do. In your question to her frame it as neutral as you can. My quick thoughts is that if she says she is free from bias people maybe even you will claim she is a liar. If sh admits to any other will scream AHHAA she can’t be trusted.
    Lose Lose for her but give it a shot.

    • Jeff – I highly doubt that on this blog I would ever feel sure enough about the context surrounding a debate to call someone a “liar.”

      At any rate, I think that the moment has passed to spend more time on the particular issue in question. I’ll take your point under consideration in the future with respect to similar issues.

  80. I’ve just about had it for today. Just a couple more quick responses (maybe a snark or two) and then I’m out of here. If I posted something like that I’d be tempted to check for responses and I’ve got things to do. I’ll take up your recommendation at a later time.

    • Jeff Norris

      “My quick thoughts is that if she says she is free from bias people maybe even you will claim she is a liar. If sh admits to any other will scream AHHAA she can’t be trusted.
      Lose Lose for her but give it a shot.”

      Joshua

      “I’ll take up your recommendation at a later time.”

      Shhh, you and Jeff have to type real quiet so Dr. Curry doesn’t read your brilliant comments…it could spoil the plan.

      You gotta be kidding me.

      • Jeff Norris

        WOW
        I HAVE BEEN SLIMED.
        First Gary I made little if any attempt to hid our discussion from anybody. You should realize that by the fact that you and Punksta, Rob, and Lat quickly responded.
        Second I clearly suggested that the conversation move primarily because I did not want to derail the thread into a rehash of Nurse and Wards statements which would ultimately lead to the rehash of Hockey Sticks and e mails. My other reason was to force Joshua into reading Willis argument and reflect how they both are complaining about the same thing.
        Finally since you and I both hold Dr. Curry’s opinion in high regard shall we ask her what she things of my endeavor to engage Josh without animosity and try to point out how the Dr. gets hammered from both sides? Do you want to pose that question to her or shall I? If she has no problem with it are you willing to apologize to myself and Josh?

      • Jeff – don’t take it personally.

        Gary has been obsessed with me ever since I pointed out to him that when he attacked Muller’s integrity he was, well…attacking Muller’s integrity.

        Looks like you’ve been found guilty by association. Apparently anyone who directs a post at me without ranting on about how I’m an evil progressive deserves Gary’s contempt.

  81. Let me get this straight. Your suggestion to Joshua that he pose a question to Dr. Curry, that was expressly designed to elicit a response that, in your own words, would result in “people maybe even you will claim she is a liar. If sh admits to any other will scream AHHAA she can’t be trusted. Lose Lose for her but give it a shot.,” was your way of teaching Joshua manners, and improving the tone of this blog?

    I say again, you gotta be kidding me.

    You don’t change the tone of a debate by encouraging one of the most prolific whiners to set his host up for additional attacks from other commenters, in order to teach the malcontent a lesson.

    When I first began reading this blog, there was a commenter whose every comment was full of obnoxious, personal insults and bile, directed against all sides in the debate. I asked Dr. Curry about those comments in light of her own posted comment policy. She gave me an answer I did not agree with, but it was her answer, and more to the point, her blog. So I shut the hell up about it. I didn’t complain again and again and again and again.

    I agree with probably 90% or more of the substance of what Willis Eschenbach writes, and learn more than a little from his comments here and posts elsewhere. And I disagree with more than 90% of what Joshua writes. But they both need to learn a little bit about manners. You chose a truly inept way of trying to teach Joshua that point.

    Your earlier posts on the point were fine, your last suggestion was a disaster. But I had to look for others, some on another thread, to see what the hell your point was in the comment I responded to. The intent of your remarks was not clear from the comments above alone. Reading it in context, it was a dumb way to make your point. You don’t put out a fire by pouring on a little kerosene. So do I accept what you say your intent was? Yes. Do I feel the need to apologize given your comment and Joshua’s response? Not in the least.

  82. Jeff Norris

    Gary
    I may have misspoken but my intention was not to teach Joshua manners, but rather to suggest that on this issue he was being unreasonable. I can see how just based on my one “quick thought” and the fact that I was talking calmly to your “arch enemy” you might have suspect I was engaged in some nefarious plot. Your next move perplexes me. Instead of doing a little due diligence on this thread or the Open mind one and then maybe asking a question for clarification you choose to immediately accuse me of some evil conspiracy. This does not seem the actions of a calm rational person even if you and Joshua have a history. Regarding my hastily written scenario, you don’t seem to give Dr. Curry too much credit. She probably has more experience dealing with academic back stabbing, dirty tricks, and no win scenarios than the three of us put together.
    Gary bottom line. On the CoI thread I apologized to Richard Tol twice, once for citing him in an honest error and the other time for making a stupid joke that may have offended him. ALL MEN MAKE MISTAKES, EXCEPTIONAL MEN APOLOGIZE FOR THEM. Which are you?

    PS Joshua is an evil progressive :) but that is no excuse to act evil in return. Otherwise you are no better than him.

    • Jeff Norris,

      “Slimed,” “arch enemy”and “nefarious plot?” This is a blog, an interesting and perhaps influential blog, but still – a blog. Let’s try to keep the delusions of grandeur to a minimum.

      You made a ridiculous suggestion, I made fun of it. My only respponse was:

      “Shhh, you and Jeff have to type real quiet so Dr. Curry doesn’t read your brilliant comments…it could spoil the plan.

      You gotta be kidding me.”

      It was sarcasm, nothing less, nothing more, and fairly mild at that. With all that is said on this and other blogs, if you are so horribly offended by someone making a sarcastic comment when you say something silly, then commenting in the area of climate change may not be not for you. I make no apologies for making fun of something that I still think was (and I’m trying to use less pejorative adjectives here so this comment doesn’t end up in the filter) a ridiculous suggestion.

      It is true that all men make mistakes. But apologies are not limited to exceptional men, nor do I make a claim to being exceptional. However, if you feel the need to apologize to Dr. Curry for suggesting that Joshua ask her a gotcha question designed to get her called a liar or unworthy of trust, regardless of your motivation, you should by all means feel free to do so. I for one am done with the matter.

  83. Jeff Norris

    Gary
    So the question remains if Dr. Curry after reviewing the discussion in Context does not feel my actions were wrong, would you be willing to admit and apologize for over reacting? Hell, she might even admit it is a legitimate question regarding personal bias in the IPCC preventing an honest review of the Science. Just to be clear I believe the scenario I hastily presented was ridiculous because as I clearly pointed out it was a “Lose Lose” scenario. My clear intent and you seem to fail to acknowledge it, was to show how people on the extreme would try to twist her word to support their beliefs. Essentially they would overreact to an honest, straight forward opinion and take it out of context. Sound familiar to you?
    Ironic, you seem to object to my sarcasm, “Illusions of Grandeur”, but feel yours is completely appropriate.

    • Jeff,

      I can’t imagine anyone else is the least bit interested in these comments, I certainly am not. But you are being so polite, so this one is just for you, and will indeed be my last word on the subject.

      No, nothing anyone would say, including Dr. Curry, would induce me to apologize for making fun of your dumb back and forth with Joshua. If she was the least bit interested in this side bar, she would have said something by now. But I was not speaking for her, or based on what I thought she would say. I was being sarcastic regarding comments that simply begged for sarcasm.

      Your attempts to explain yourself do not help your cause. If indeed your “clear intent…was to show how people on the extreme would try to twist her word to support their beliefs,” then might I suggest that you engage in your social science experiments in a little more, shall we say, intellectually honest (not to mention mature) way?

      You proposed that Joshua post a question to Dr. Curry, that you thought would elicit an answer from her, that would then lead to unreasonable responses from other commenters. And you think this is an improvement? If you want to ask someone a question, ask them. If you want to make a point, make it. You don’t use your host in some blog version of a Pavlovian experiment to make your point. I would think she gets enough guff from the CAGW riff raff as it is.

      Your original comment included this: “Don’t form it as an accusation but maybe use her as an example of what might be needed to overcome. I would ask but I have some task to do. In your question to her frame it as neutral as you can.” “Use her as an example” does not suggest that it was Joshua you were trying to teach a lesson. That was why I framed my sarcasm the way I did.

      This dead horse does not deserve to be beaten any more. You have the floor, and can keep it.

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