Friday, 24 July 2009

Data Sharing

One aspect of the Scientific Process is data sharing. Following publication, it is expected that a scientist will share the data so that others may reproduce the work. Reproduction is a crucial step in the process of making a theory acceptable. The Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy in the United States has the following to say on data sharing:

After publication, scientists expect that data and other research materials will be shared with qualified colleagues upon request. Indeed, a number of federal agencies, journals, and professional societies have established policies requiring the sharing of research materials. Sometimes these materials are too voluminous, unwieldy, or costly to share freely and quickly. But in those fields in which sharing is possible, a scientist who is unwilling to share research materials with qualified colleagues runs the risk of not being trusted or respected. In a profession where so much depends on interpersonal interactions, the professional isolation that can follow a loss of trust can damage a scientist's work.

Consequently, when the Met Office was approached for the raw data which underpins their climate change research it was expected that they would comply. Apart from anything else they are a public body and I, as a taxpayer, am of the opinion that that data is mine. When Steve McIntyre tried to get hold of the information he was told that he couldn't have it. What is curious is that this request was for a copy of the data that had been previously supplied to Peter Webster at Georgia Tech. If it was acceptable to supply him why was it not acceptable to send it to Steve McIntyre? Read the whole story here.

I notice that there is a petition on the Number 10 website that is asking the Prime Minister 'to Force the Climate Research Unit, or other publicly funded organisations to release the source codes used in their computer models', it can be found here.
26/07/2009 08.22

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