Of course, the scientific investigation of CRU turned up, what do you know, nothing but scientists doing science.
Here are the things worth thinking about from the report.
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties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.
We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the
dendroclimatological work, but it seems that some of these criticisms show a
rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by
CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and
dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under
which university research is sometimes conducted. Funding and labour
pressures and the need to publish have meant that pressing ahead with new
work has been at the expense of what was regarded as non-essential record
keeping. From our perspective it seems that the CRU sins were of omission
rather than commission. Although we deplore the tone of much of the criticism
that has been directed at CRU, we believe that this questioning of the methods
and data used in dendroclimatology will ultimately have a beneficial effect and
improve working practices
I believe that there is indeed lemonade to be made of this pressure with regard to new approaches to scientific practice, especially where computation is involved, which by now is practically everywhere.
On the other hand, for the attacks on CRU to be described as “deplorable” in a formal report should be regarded as what it is.
Here is the thing not worth thinking about:
1. 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.
Like I said, the scientific review found some scientists.
As Gavin said on RC:
[Watch those goalposts move! Let me be sure that I have your position correct: all of the noise, insults, threats, libel and cries of fraud, fabrication and misconduct are because you feel that more statisticians should have been coauthors on the CRU papers? Got it. – gavin]
Bupkis. They got bupkis because there is bupkis.
Sing it with me.
Mitvoch Donnerstig bupkis…
Update: Kloor thinks this article amounts, primarily, to gloating. I try to set him straight in the comments over there.
This article is trying to get the point across as emphatically as possible that there isn’t anything worth mentioning wrong at CRU. Unfortunately, people looking at it from the outside are likely to get a different impression. This needs to be repaired. I use “bupkis” in the traditional way, as an emphatic statement of nothing-there-ness.
Until the innocence of CRU becomes clear to the casual observer, the press is complicit in a vile and inexcusable act of calumny. We won’t have much to gloat about until the press examines its role in this absurd disaster.