Is keeping data private 'normal practise' in climate research?

By Eco Guy 11:51pm 1st March 2010
It seems Phil Jones thinks its perfectly normal to do research and publish said research whilst withholding data.

See the Daily Mail coverage for the full context, but the kicker in this is the following statement:

"Prof Jones today said it was not 'standard practice' in climate science to release data and methodology for scientific findings so that other scientists could check and challenge the research.

He also said the scientific journals which had published his papers had never asked to see it."

Wow, I mean WOW so in essence the Prof Jones is saying its normal for climate science to essentially 'fly by the seat of its pants' and do no real verification what so ever and still think its perfectly fine to derive more research off yet more unproven or unchallenged research?

I'm just glad Prof Jones does not work in the medical research profession or chemistry profession or the mathematical profession - in fact I'd be really glad if he did not work in any profession that my life depended upon...

This is just down right shocking - CRU 'was' recognized as one of the corner stone research bodies in the climate research field and its now just admitted that we can only take what they say on pure trust alone?

Now Prof Jones goes onto to say that 80% of the data they can share and the remaining 20% they cannot due to legal restrictions - firstly, where is the list of what is not being shared? Secondly, what research and data analysis was that 20% used in? It could well be that the 20% is not part of the 'critical path' in their data processing and research, or it could be smack bang in the center...

Also if it was just a blocker to having the peer review process work, instead of essentially ignoring it, why didn't they just get in some external researchers on a 'visit' and have them sign the confidentially legals to do an 'internal audit' before publishing dependent research?  Just because data is private does not stop you from finding ways to extend that privacy to a slightly larger group and still preserve the privacy. I'm sure the countries involved would have understood the need to see that the scientific process was allowed to occur properly.

Also, the scientific community at large seems to be doing a big 'what the!' - see Royal Society of Chemistry backs sharing of data in contrast to Jones “standard practice” statement . Basically distancing themselves from Prof Jones and the CRU.

To me this puts a big 'at risk' stick-it across any dependent research and analysis that is in anyway based on anything done by the CRU - until they come clean on exactly what that 20% is and what it effects.

What is interesting in this is that CRU research and data has been used by many other climate researchers and also directly by the IPCC - so the whole lot could come unstuck if it is found that the data cannot be verified.

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