Memorandum submitted by Richard Tyrwhitt-Drake
1. I am a UK subject, a software consultant
and entrepreneur of thirty years standing. After graduating in
Mathematics at Cambridge, in 1983 I co-founded and in 1986 became
managing director of Objective Computer Systems Limited, the first
consultancy in Europe to specialise in the application of object-oriented
programming to commercial systems. I served on the committees
of the British Computer Society's Object-Oriented Programming
and Systems group 1986-90, the European Conference on Object-Oriented
Programming (ECOOP) 1989, the European Java User Group 1997-99
and the first two Extreme Programming conferences in Sardinia,
in 2000 and 2001. I served on the committee and was a speaker
at the Charles Babbage Awards for UK IT innovation at the House
of Commons in 1998. Having suggested Tim Berners-Lee for inventing
the World Wide Web I was able to present the award and meet Tim
at his office at MIT and a year later draw his attention to the
Wiki idea invented by Ward Cunningham, which came to such prominence
later in Wikipedia. Sir Tim's role in open systems for government
in the UK, reportedly at the initiative of the Prime Minister
himself, which I highly applaud, is I believe highly relevant
to the current issues with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and
climate science generally.
2. In my commercial work I have consulted and
helped manage projects for various companies, including work on
mathematical modelling and forecasting of time series for TSB
Hill Samuel and Sabre Fund Management and a large initiative on
discrete event simulation for the Defence Research Agency in Malvern.
Objective also worked for over four years on systems for the exploration
geologists of Rio Tinto. This work has I believe given me some
useful additional background with which to approach the current
situation in climate science. Other than that, I have no personal
axe to grind.
What are the implications of the disclosures for
the integrity of scientific research?
3. The first implication is that the integrity
of scientific research is bound to increase. But it is starting
from a very low base, which should be a concern to UK citizens
and to those across the world wondering whether to put their trust
in the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change. It is hard not to agree with Douglas Keenan,
as quoted in one of the leaked emails: "almost by itself,
the withholding of their raw data by [climate] scientists tells
us that they are not scientists".
Reproducibility has been key to the scientific method
since the pioneering work of the Iraqi scientist al-Hassan Ibn
al-Haytham a thousand years ago and was of course more recently
emphasized in the western tradition by Francis Bacon and Rene
Descartes. The refusal of CRU to provide data and source code
to Keenan, Steve McIntyre and others was enough to convince me
some years ago that this area of science was in deep trouble.
That is now bound to change.
4. To restore trust there is a great need
for an Open Climate Initiative, in line with Tim Berners-Lee's
work on open government and the profound impact of the Internet
in other areas of life. The Open Climate Initiative would comprise
four principles and developing areas of praxis: open data, open
source (program code), open preprints and open review. In opting
to support these principles, for the public good and against all
vested interests, you have a great opportunity to change the direction
of history for the better.
Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent
Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?
5. Last week Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick
informed me by email that they had not been contacted by Muir
Russell. If that is still the case the scope of his review is
inadequate. I also support Nigel Lawson's call for a Public Inquiry.
But the Open Climate Initiative is the most important solution
to the problems of climate science, revealed only in part by the
leak from CRU, and it is vital to stay focused on that point.