The remit of the review is as follows:
Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at the Climatic Research Unit to determine whether there is any evidence of manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.
Review the Climatic Research Unit’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.
Review the Climatic Research Unit’s compliance or otherwise with the University of East Anglia’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.
Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for the Climatic Research Unit and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds.
The remit requires the Review to address the specific allegations about the way in which CRU has handled its data, reflecting comments in the e-mail exchanges that have been made public.
To do this, it will seek written submissions from CRU and other appropriate parts of UEA. It will also invite interested parties to comment on what the Issues paper covers, and to propose any further matters that clearly fall within the Remit and should also be examined.
The Team wishes to focus on the honesty, rigour and openness with which CRU handled its data. It wishes to gain a proper understanding of:
The range of data involved, and how it has been indexed and archived.
The procedures, processes and relevant protocols used to handle the data, recognizing that these may have changed over time as data-handling capacity has developed.
The associated metadata, algorithms and codes used for analysis.
The extent to which other independent analysis produces the same conclusions.
The peer review process, examining how much was in common between the work of the reviewers and the reviewed.
The Review’s remit does not invite it to re-do the scientific work of CRU. An audit or assessment of that type would be a different exercise, requiring different skills and resources. However, the Review’s conclusions will be useful to any such audit by pointing to any steps that need to be taken in relation to data, its availability and its handling.
In making its analysis and conclusions, the Team will test the relevant work against pertinent standards at the time it was done, recognizing that such standards will have changed. It will also test them against current best practice, particularly statements of the ethics and norms such as those produced by the UK Government Office for Science and by the US National Academy of Sciences. These identify principles relating to rigour, respect and responsibility in scientific ethics and to integrity, accessibility and stewardship in relation to research data. This overall approach will allow the Team to establish a conceptual framework within which it can make judgements and comment about key issues such as the level of uncertainty inherent in all science, and the particular confidence limits associated with the CRU work.
The Team will operate as openly and transparently as possible. It is establishing a website which will eventually display all of the submissions received, correspondence, analyses and conclusions. The aim will be to publish all received submissions quickly, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons to delay, for example legal issues.
The Review team have set out the specific allegations it intends to investigate in the Issues for Examination Document:
The Review team issued a call for submissions on 11 February 2010, and expects to receive submissions from UEA and the public by the end of February .
These responses will require analysis and there may be follow-up questions and/or interviews. The team expect to have at least preliminary conclusions by Spring 2010.