More on Requests for Data

With the recent interest taken by the House Commitee in data archiving, I’d like to review some of my past thoughts on data policy. An audience seems to be developing for these issues. First and most importantly, here is some information on U.S. federal government policy on archiving of data. There are definite and long-standing policies on archiving data which are being flouted by climate scientists and not being enforced by NSF.

After publication of Antonio Regalado’s article in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 14, 2005, where Mann said that he would not be "intimidated" into releasing his algorithm, I posted the following overview on our requests for source code to show that there had been no "intimidation". Such language from these guys – Mann using the word "intimidation", Crowley "threatening". I included accounts of my requests to Mann for information before MM03 here and after MM03 here .

I also posted up my correspondence with National Science Foundation here. ( sequential – follow links). One action of the NSF that particular surprised me was in connection with my request to Mann for the residual series, which I copied to NSF. While Mann had refused various other requests and I did not expect him to provide me with the information on the residuals, I had not specifically asked him for this information before and, unless you ask, you can’t say for certain what he would do. BEFORE Mann could refuse, Verardo of NSF responded that Mann did not have to provide the information. I was really surprised for this – for all Verardo knew, Mann could quixotically have decided to provide the residual series. Verardo had no business interfering.

In mid-2004, I sent NSF a detailed letter asking for information from various climate scientists that was not archived. In response, I got blown off by NSF saying that the requested information was at WDCP and I should look there. The information wasn’t there or I wouldn’t have asked. (A couple of data sets were archived after this letter – Jacoby archived some Mongolian data, Hughes some Russian data and Thompson for the first time a very coarse (decadal average) data on Dunde, Guliya and Dasuopu. I would like to think that it had some connection with my inquiries – in the case of Thompson, it definitely was because of the involvement of Climatic Change.) The administrator seemed to have no idea that guys like Jacoby and Thompson were not adequately archiving their information. (I’ve attempted to make it clear from time to time that, however frustrated I may be with Mann, his disclosure is better than most climate scientists. I’m sure that it’s a considerable source of frustration to him that the people who are worse have avoided publicity so far.)

I’ve posted up comments on my efforts with Jacoby not systematically, but in some anecdotes here , here , here and here . I will post up some details about Jacoby which are interesting.

I have also posted some thoughts on these matters in a couple of op-eds at the National Post – one on due diligence, one on bringing the proxies up to date

One Comment

  1. Rob Lister
    Posted Jul 3, 2005 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Have you filed any FOIA requests? If you do, they can’t ignore you/brush you off. They are a federal angency and they either must comply or explain why you, as the requestor, are not legally entitled to the data. If they are then they must send you the data, which assumes they have it. I’m not sure what would happen if they entrust the data to the contracting grantee but it would be intersting to see their response posted here on this blog.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Data Request to NAS « Climate Audit on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    […] many of the posts on data archiving and requests. A review from this time last year is here . Since then, I’ve had correspondence with Moberg and Nature, which has resulted in winkling […]

  2. […] than of the grant recipients who abused their compliance responsibilities (for example, see here , here.) I will try to review their conduct in a future post as well, as some of NSF’s most […]

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