What a piece of work

The office of the Vice President for Research at the Pennsylvania State University has released the conclusions of its inquiry into the "climategate" allegations against Prof. Michael Mann.

After a cracker broke into the e-mail archives at the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, a prolonged and creative controversy broke out across the media and the blogosphere.

After substantial, and in some cases highly inappropriate, external pressure, Penn State promptly reviewed the issue. The VP for Research synthesized the claimed allegations into four formal charges of possible misconduct under PSU RA-10 policy, and convened an inquiry.

The initial inquiry concluded that three of the formal charges had no substance but that further investigation was required into the fourth allegaton:

"Allegation 4: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?"

The panel, composed of Profs. Assmann, Castleman, Irwin, Jablonski and Vondracek, spent 4 months reviewing the issue, going over e-mails, proposals, papers and interviewing a number of people (interviews were taped and transcripts are available).

The panel has now issued its report and its conclusion is:

"Conclusion of the Investigatory Committee as to whether research misconduct occurred:

The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University.
More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

The decision of the Investigatory Committee was unanimous."

There was an additional comment from the panel, on the issue of Prof. Mann sharing an unpublished manuscript discussing some of his research with a mutual colleague:

"The Investigatory Committee considers Dr. Mann's actions in sharing unpublished manuscripts with third parties, without first having received express consent from the authors of such manuscripts, to be careless and inappropriate. While sharing an unpublished manuscript on the basis of the author's implied consent may be an acceptable
practice in the judgment of some individuals, the Investigatory Committee believes the best practice in this regard is to obtain express consent from the author before sharing an unpublished manuscript with third parties."

The manuscript, I gather, was Wahl and Ammann (2007), which reproduced some of Mann et al's previous results, testing whether a mistake had been made in the original paper. I think I would have been tempted to share the result also, had I been in Prof. Mann's footsteps:

"The Investigatory Committee would like to note that Dr. Mann, after being questioned by the Investigatory Committee about this issue, requested and received confirmation that his assumption of implied consent was correct from the author of one of the papers in question. This "after the fact" communication was not considered by the Investigatory Committee in reaching its decision."

The issue is closed.

The Project on Climate Science: press release and discussion.

Penn State press release

Penn State Office of VP for Research full report (pdf)

Office of Vice President for Research PSU

More like this

The issue is closed.

Only to those with functioning brains...

Now that this nonsense is, insofar as is feasible, resolved, I will repeat my request for an update on your opinions on the state of climate science and especially climate change science, and on climate politics if you are so inclined.

I believe you arguably owe me this in exchange for some small favour I did for you some months back, but, especially since I can't recall what the favour was, I won't hold you to that. I'd still be interested to hear where your thinking has gone on this matter since the days when sci.environment was worth reading.

Thanks, by the way, for your reports on Iceland, a place which has unaccountably been especially interesting of late.

best regards

@Tobis I do owe you that one - I think it is from August, er 2008..., challenge to stop blog from dying during the dog days.
I'll be catching up on some serious science blog topics this summer, been distracted by some real life issues

Iceland is not done yet ;-)