A Nature reader has run the gauntlet at Nature, who published a criticism of their anti-FOI editorial. David Bell of the University of Nottingham’s letter reads as follows:
Climate e-mails: lack of data sharing is a real concern
Your Editorial (Nature 462, 545; 2009) castigates “denialists” for making “endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts”. But you do not mention the reason — that the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has systematically tried to avoid revealing data and code.
Science relies upon open analysis of data and methods, and the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has a clear data-sharing policy that expects scientists “to cooperate in validating and publishing [data] in their entirety”. The university’s leaked e-mails imply a concerted effort to avoid data sharing, which both violates the best practice defined in NERC policy and prevents verification of the results obtained by the unit. Asking for scientific data and code should not lead to anyone being branded as part of the “climate-change denialist fringe”.
David R. Bell
School of Biology,
University of Nottingham, Nottingham