Andrew Montford’s FOI request for emails between the UEA and Outside Organisation ( who were represented by Neil Wallis, charged in the phonehacking scandal) has turned up a remarkable list of questions, the questions that should have been asked by one of the “investigations”, but were never answered.
On February 22, 2010, Alan Preece, an administrator at UEA, completed collation of a list of questions for preparation of Acton and Phil Jones for their March 1 appearance before the Select Committee. See here – more correspondence here.)
Bishop Hill reader TerryS has collated the questions from the pdf. Had these questions been asked and answered, this affair would have been over long ago. Some of the most obvious and important questions have never been asked or answered.
The list of questions also shows that UEA administration clearly understood the sort of questions that needed to be asked. They accordingly know that Muir Russell didn’t ask those questions. Perhaps that was their strategy – sort of like hiring a Inspector Clouseau confident that he would never stumble across the real plot. Or perhaps it was a serendipitous result from administrators wanting to whitewash the situation.
(Dig here: the correspondence was to and from the notorious Neil Wallis of the phone hacking scandal. Wallis had been working as a PR consultant less than a year when retained by UEA. During Wallis’ consultancy for UEA, he was being concurrently paid by the police and by the News of the World. See here.)
REHEARSAL QUESTIONS FOR COMMONS INQUIRY
Area 1: Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?
What was your thinking in setting up an independent Review — Penn State conducted their enquiry into Michael Mann internally?
Isn’t it an inadequacy of the terms of reference that you have felt obliged to set up a second panel to re-assess the science?
Do you still have confidence in the independent Review?
Are you still convinced by its independence?
Why has it been necessary for a separate review to be set up to reassess the science?
Why did the university not insist that the independent Review assessed the science?
Why has the independent Review been so slow to get started?
Have you had any input into the selection of panel members?
Why has one panel member resigned?
Why do you think another panel member (Boulton) is under pressure to resign?
Was it sensible to appoint a panel member who has worked at UEA for 18 years and whose CV claims he contributed to the IPCC?
How do you respond to the many commentators who feel the Review is fatally tarnished by the resignation of one panel member and the comments of Bouiton?
Did you consult – or consider consulting – with the ‘sceptic’ community when setting up the independent Review to ensure buy-in from all sides?
Area 2: What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
Would you agree that you have let science down?
Would you agree your mishandling of emails/security has let science down?
Would you agree your handling of data has let science down?
Would you agree your FOIA failures have given rise to scandal that has damaged confidence in science?
Don’t you think you reacted too slowly to the allegations arising from the emails?
Should you not have organised instant rebuttal?
Would you agree that the University made errors/mistakes?
What would you do differently in retrospect?
What lessons have been learned at UEA?
What action have you taken to ensure there is no second breach of IT security at UEA?
Have you or your colleagues in CRU ever lost important data?
Have you ever destroyed important data?
Have you ever manipulated any data?
Has CRU kept all raw data relating to its key scientific papers? If not, why not?
Has CRU kept all of its own datasets relating to its publications? If not, why not?
How transparent were you in terms of your data?
You have been criticised for being extremely disorganised – to the extent that your science is compromised. is this the case?
Why are you so unwilling to share your data with others? Isn’t this part of good science?
What were your reasons for being so vehement in not wishing to share data with ‘sceptics’?
Why did you want to “hide behind” agreements with NMSs – as you state in your emails?
Have the NMSs now all agreed to the release of their data?
Why has the university refused to respond to FOI requests?
The Information Commissioner has said you contravened the FOIA. Do you agree?
Why did you urge colleagues to delete certain emails?
Did you actually delete emails, as you said you would?
Did your colleagues delete emails, as you urged them to?
Did your university encourage you to withhold data and frustrate the efforts of FOI requesters?
Were, as is implied in the emails, all those directly involved in handling FOIA requests part of an agreement to frustrate requests for data?
Do you accept that the attitude expressed in the emails is inconsistent with the spirit of the Act as well as against the need for transparency in science?
You have admitted in recent media interviews that you did not conduct FOI requests properly. in what way were the requests wrongly handled?
It looks plain from your emails that you attempted to manipulate the peer~review process by obstructing articles that you did not agree with. Is that correct?
Do you agree there has been harmful ‘tribalism’ and a ‘bunker mentality’ in climate science?
You say that you stand by your science which has been peer-reviewed, but you have subverted peer review, so why should we believe that the science is correct?
The community of scientists working in elements of climate change – particularly those working with temperature and tree rings – is very small. How can you ensure that peer review is not a cosy club?
Should peer-review be overhauled? How?
Should the IPCC be overhauled? How?
Should bloggers/sceptics now be brought into the mainstream scientific debate more? if so, how?
What do you say to those who claim you cherry-picked data to fit your theories?
Is it ever right to cherry-pick data?
How can you justify the use by CRU of samples from just a handful of trees to support major theories of global warming?
How do you respond to claims that your 1990 Nature paper was flawed, misleading and even fraudulent – because it did not take proper account of the urban heat island effect on Chinese weather stations?
Why did the paper state there were “few if any changes” in stations, when many were moved, including one which moved five times over a distance of 41 kilometres?
Why was it necessary to ‘hide the decline’ (or ‘divergence’ between proxy data and temperature data) in the famous hockey-stick graph?
Why not just show the divergence clearly?
If proxy tree-ring data cannot be trusted for the 1960s, why trust it for earlier periods?
1 Have you changed your views on the Medieval Warm Period?
Have you changed any of your views on AGW?
Has Prof Jones personal integrity been damaged by the emails released?
Will you be releasing your code as well as data?
How do you respond to severe criticisms of your computer code?
How can you separate the quality of your code and of your data security from ‘the science'; surely it is at the heart of the integrity of your research.
Why do you think somebody ‘stole’ your emails and released them on the internet?
How do you feel about climate sceptics and bloggers like Steve McIntyre?
Do you feel your treatment of people who do not share you views has been acceptable?
Can it ever be acceptable – even as a joke – to express pleasure at the death of someone who does not agree with you?
Would you agree that many of the emails suggest a small and privileged group of insiders acting in concert to deride and exclude people with genuine interest in climate change?
Public trust/PR disaster:
A recent polled showed the public are beginning to lose faith in the idea of AGW.
How much responsibility do you accept for the weakening of public trust in science – and in the IPCC?
What will you – and others – do to help reinstate public trust?
With the benefit of hindsight, what – if anything – would you have done differently?
Why did UEA/CRU put their ‘head in the sand’ when the story first broke?
Have you at any time felt gagged by the university?
How do you feel the university has handled this whole issue?
Do you understand why there has been so much interest, controversy and anger? Why didn’t the University get on the front foot more quickly to protect its integrity and that of the science – the head of the Science Media Centre has said that they would have got scientists out and talking much more quickly?
We have seen a recent spate of interviews with Prof Jones – why now?
Given the global impact of this and it impact on UK science what have you done to manage the story globally?
Has this matter fatally undermined the reputation of CRU and the University?
Would you agree this affair has damaged the University’s reputation?
How is public con?dence in climate science to be restored/strengthened?
In your opinion, why has there been such a furore since the email disclosures?
Have you paid for professional advice on how best to give evidence before the Select Cttee?
What did the VC know about this issue and when?
Given what the ICO calls ‘prima facts’ evidence of illegal acts and the evident seriousness of several allegation why were Prof Jones and others not suspended pending enquiry?
Was the University’s Council consulted on the response to this issue?
What other advice has been taken in handling this matter?
How do you know your academics comply with the codes of good conduct governing research?
How will you deal with it if it is established that (a) individuals and/or (b) the University contravened the FOIA?
Collaboration is based on trust – how have colleagues and institutions responded to the security breach that has compromised personal details and comments as well as data?
Would stakeholders, including funding councils, be right to think twice before trusting UEA with information in the future?
What assurances can you give that this breach of security will never be repeated?
Have any of your current collaborators indicated their concerns about the security issues involved?
Has the University lost any research funding as a result of this incident?
What has the University done to improve data security since this incident?
What does the future hold for you and for CRU?
How do you think history will judge you?
Can you continue as Director of CRU?
Area 3: How independent are the other two international datasets?
Can you explain the key differences and the key similarities between the three data-sets?
Have the GISS and NCDC data sets been manipulated in any way?
How can GISS, NCDC and CRUTEM be independent when they overlap to such an extent?
How do you respond to claims that all three data sets have been assembled by a small cabal of like-minded ‘warmists’?
Should GRUTEM now be abandoned?
Should CRUTEM be removed from CRU and transferred to the Met Office