My personal opinion is that both FOI requests (1) and (2) are intrusive and unreasonable. Steven McIntyre provides absolutely no scientific justification or explanation for such requests. I believe that McIntyre is pursuing a calculated strategy to divert my attention and focus away from research. As the recent experiences of Mike Mann and Phil Jones have shown, this request is the thin edge of wedge. It will be followed by further requests for computer programs, additional material and explanations, etc., etc.Well, yeah, there's a certain amount of whining here, but there's also an extremely good point: Do we really want a particular interest group to be able to "paper" a science project into submission? There has to be a point at which repeated FOI requests can be ajudged so intrusive, or so trivial, that the scientist has the right to ignore them and get back to work.
Quite frankly, Tom, having spent nearly 10 months of my life addressing the serious scientific flaws in the Douglass et al. IJoC paper, I am unwilling to waste more of my time fulfilling the intrusive and frivolous requests of Steven McIntyre. The supreme irony is that Mr. McIntyre has focused his attention on our IJoC paper rather than the Douglass et al. IJoC paper which we criticized. As you know, Douglass et al. relied on a seriously flawed statistical test, and reached incorrect conclusions on the basis of that flawed test.
I believe that our community should no longer tolerate the behavior of Mr. McIntyre and his cronies. McIntyre has no interest in improving our scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He has no interest in rational scientific discourse. He deals in the currency of threats and intimidation. We should be able to conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an “audit” by Steven McIntyre; without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific colleagues.
In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research. As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the “derived” model data he requests, since all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground bully.
We're used to these kinds of tactics in the political arena, and we tolerate them as a necessary evil. However, scientists need the ability to concentrate on their research without continuously having to fight off frivolous legal actions.
Of course, the big problem here is that CRU was undeniably keeping sources, data, and reduction methodology much more opaque than was proper. They could have staved off a huge amount of FOI paperwork simply by doing a reasonable job of archiving and publishing their data. They were slobs, and then they got up on their high horse when some of their opponents accused them of being slobs.
Seems like we need some modification to the peer-review process. There's no reason in this day and age that a team can't submit a package of raw data, reductions, and code along with their paper. If the peers think that this information isn't sufficiently transparent, it should be grounds for sending the paper back to the drawing board. Of course, this doesn't solve the problem of picking a representative set of peers.