This is the title of a current op ed in EOS drawn to my attention by Leif Svalggard. The policies advocated in the op ed are obviously ones that I endorse.
AGU actually does have data policies that, on paper, would deal with many of the disputes that I’ve had with paleoclimate authors. From time to time, I’ve tried to get AGU editors to enforce even their present policy, but to date AGU editors have simply ignored such correspondence – not even acknowledging.
For example, I tried to get Colin O’Dowd, editor of JGR, to enforce AGU policy on data. My exchange with O’Dowd is mentioned by Climategate correspondents who felt confident that my initiative would be rebuffed. O’Dowd never even acknowledged any of multiple emails (though I’m a member of AGU.) I later wrote a member of the AGU board who acknowledged my email but did nothing either.
More recently, in connection with Gergis et al, I asked Eric Calais, editor of GRL, to require one of the Gergis coauthors to archive data published in GRL (and considered in Gergis et al) in accordance with existing AGU data policies.
I am writing in respect to data for Neukom et al 2010, Multi-centennial summer and winter precipitation variability in southern South America, published in GRL.
There has obviously been considerable adverse publicity about authors of paleoclimate temperature reconstructions failing to archived data and several committees have recommended that such practices end. This has occurred once again with Neukom et al 2010. Could you please ask the authors to archive the proxy data used in their reconstruction?
No answer. No acknowledgement.
The existing AGU policy is as follows:
1. Data sets cited in AGU publications must meet the same type of standards for public access and long-term availability as are applied to citations to the scientific literature. Thus data cited in AGU publications must be permanently archived in a data center or centers that meet the following conditions:
a) are open to scientists throughout the world.
b) are committed to archiving data sets indefinitely.
c) provide services at reasonable costs.
The World and National data centers meet these criteria. Other data centers, though chartered for specific lengths of time, may also be acceptable as an archive for this material if there is a commitment to migrating data to a permanent archive when the center ceases operation. Citing data sets available through these alternative centers is subject to approval by AGU.
2. Data sets that are available only from the author, through miscellaneous public network services, or academic, government or commercial institutions not chartered specifically for archiving data, may not be cited in AGU publications. This type of data set availability is judged to be equivalent to material in the gray literature. If such data sets are essential to the paper and authors should treat their mention just as they would a personal communication. These mentions will appear in the body of the paper but not in the reference list.
What tends to happen is that authors disregard rule (2) in a typical case where a dataset is described in a print publication but not archived, instead being passed hand to hand among pals. As I interpret AGU rule 2, the citation of the print article should not permitted if the data itself has been obtained through gray channels. Unfortunately, neither AGU editors or reviewers pay the slightest attention to the policy or take the slightest interest in breaches.
In addition to recommending that the existing rules be enforced, I would be inclined to toughen up rule 2 so that the obstacles to the use of gray versions were much more severe than at present.