I’ve been trying since 2003 to get detailed sample information from Lonnie Thompson on his tropical ice cores, some drilled 20 years ago. I reported on my most recent effort on Apr 19, 2007 under PNAS policies here.
Thompson has once more obfuscated a journal by falsely telling them that everything already is archived (without providing links), which the journal has duly retailed to me. I think that the journal editor should have been able to tell that Thompson was unresponsive, but I’ve written back one more time, providing a trail by which the journal can validate for itself that Thompson’s answer was false and unresponsive.
Here is an excerpt from my initial request in which I asked (one more time) for a sample-by-sample archive of isotope and chemistry information for all cores:
Thompson et al 2006 describe results from ice cores drilled at Dunde, Guliya, Dasuopu, Puruogangri, Quelccaya, Huascaran and Sajama. For each core, several thousand samples were taken and analyses on a sample-by-sample basis made for isotopes, chemistry and other indicators. The information for each core constitutes a large data set within the meaning of your policies. There is an excellent public repository for ice core data at the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology, which satisfies your definition of a public repository. Under your policies, Thompson et al had an obligation to archive this data as a condition of publication, but this appears to have been overlooked. Although Thompson et al provided a highly abbreviated summary of isotope information as Supplementary Information, the Supplementary Information is incomplete and not compliant with journal policies.
I request that you ensure that Thompson et al comply with your data policy by forthwith archiving the large datasets used in the PNAS article for each individual ice core (Dunde, Dasuopu, Guliya, Puruoganri, Quelccaya, Sajama, Huascaran) and for the entire suite of isotopes and chemistry. In addition, because the discrepancies may result from changing algorithms for dating the ice cores, I further request that the dating procedure for each core be made available under your Unique Materials policy.
I received the following response today
Thank you for your messages and your interest in PNAS. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, but I wanted to speak with Dr. Thompson about this request personally and he was out of the office for quite some time. I was able to reach him via phone the other day, however, and can now address your query. According to Dr. Thompson, the data you seek have all been deposited in the archive you specifically mentioned as well as being mirrored on his own website. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Senior Editorial Coordinator, PNAS
Here’s what is presently archived at WDCP (and even this incomplete archive is a result of other attempts by me) for Dunde. You will readily see that it is not sample-by-sample – it’s decadally averaged according to one of a number of inconsistent dating schemes; it does not have a complete chemistry report, it’s only dO18; and it doesn’t cover the entire core, it only goes back to what they date as AD1000.
And yet Thompson has the cheek to say – everything’s already archived. In fairness to the journal, I can understand why an editorial coordinator would presume that what Thompson says is true. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. I’ve been through this dance with Thompson before. He said the same thing to NSF and that attempt went nowhere. In the hope that PNAS will do a better job and actually investigate Thompson’s false claim that he has provided a data archive compliant with PNAS policies, I sent the following letter, re-iterating that the supposed complete data archive did not exist, providing a trail by which PNAS could ascertain this for themselves. Maybe PNAS will actually enforce their own policies.
Dear Mr Campbell,
Unfortunately, the following response from Dr Thompson is simply false: “According to Dr. Thompson, the data you seek have all been deposited in the archive you specifically mentioned as well as being mirrored on his own website”
I am perfectly aware of the highly incomplete summary information archived at WDCP and at Dr Thompson’s website. Indeed, I used this information to plot the attached figure. You can readily verify for yourself that Dr Thompson’s answer is false.
My request was as follows: “Thompson et al 2006 describe results from ice cores drilled at Dunde, Guliya, Dasuopu, Puruogangri, Quelccaya, Huascaran and Sajama. For each core, several thousand samples were taken and analyses on a sample-by-sample basis made for isotopes, chemistry and other indicators. The information for each core constitutes a large data set within the meaning of your policies.”
In a responsive data archive, you could identify the sample number, top, bottom, isotope, chemistry and other indicators. Since several thousand samples were taken for each core, there would be several thousand lines in the archive. If there was more than one core for a site, each core would require a separate data file.
In the case of (say) the Dunde ice core, the only information archived by Thompson at WDCP is here:
This only covers isotope information for part of the core and this is not an a sample-by-sample basis but has been aggregated into decadal averages. The same for other sites.
I re-iterate my request that PNAS ensure that Thompson comply with PNAS policies on these data sets.
Regards, Steve McIntyre