2010 Apr - The Leading Edge
The Oxburgh Report
Investigating the CRU
- Chair: Prof Ron Oxburgh FRS (Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool)
- Prof Huw Davies, ETH Zürich
- Prof Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Prof Lisa Graumlich, University of Arizona.
- Prof David Hand FBA, Imperial College, London.
- Prof Herbert Huppert FRS, University of Cambridge
- Prof Michael Kelly FRS, University of Cambridge
- We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.
- We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.
- It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.
- A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.
Submitted to the University 12 April 2010