The Reviews into the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit's E-mails - Science and Technology Committee Contents

5 Moving forward at UEA

94. The ICCER's main recommendations to UEA were:

  • Risk management processes should be directed to ensuring top management engagement in areas which have the potential to impact the reputation of the university.
  • Compliance with FoIA/EIR is the responsibility of UEA faculty leadership and ultimately the Vice-Chancellor. Where there is an organisation and documented system in place to handle information requests, this needs to be owned, supported and reinforced by University leadership.
  • CRU should make available sufficient information, concurrent with any publications, to enable others to replicate their results.[126]

95. UEA outlined what it was doing to address these recommendations in its formal response to the ICCER.[127] In evidence to us, Professor Acton highlighted some of UEA's work moving forward from the leaked e-mails incident:

In terms of restoring confidence, the critical thing is to have review after review after review to establish that they have found no shred of evidence that should shake confidence in their science. In terms of their [CRU's] integration, we have drawn them rather closer into the rest of the School of Environmental Sciences to ensure that all processes are run as they should be, notably FoI ones, that, were there any kind of repeat of that, they are dealt with absolutely as they should be and that there are none of the errors either of commission or omission that may have happened in the past. On the front of statistics, we are encouraging that they draw more closely on some of our professional statisticians and we may well also be investing in further posts in that area.[128]

96. Professor Davies added: "We are also investing in posts to help CRU ensure that its data archive is efficient—that all of the previous versions of data series are in a readily accessible form so that when requests do come through for data series or for meta data as supporting data they will be more readily accessible and available than they have been hitherto."[129]

97. Professor Sir John Beddington outlined the importance of transparency and openness: "climate science could, with merit, be more transparent, that data, where it is freely available, should be made available for people to look at it because it is such an important issue for policy".[130] He highlighted the Government Office for Science's website on climate science, which we hope will prove a useful resource for those with an interest in the science of climate change.[131]

98. The disclosure of data from the Climatic Research Unit has been a traumatic and challenging experience for all involved and to the wider world of science. Much rests on the accuracy and integrity of climate science. This is an area where strong and opposing views are held. It is, however, important to bear in mind the considered view of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, that "the general issues on overall global temperature, on sea level and so on, are all pretty unequivocal".[132] While we do have some reservations about the way in which UEA operated, the SAP review and the ICCER set out clear and sensible recommendations. In our view it is time to make the changes and improvements recommended and with greater openness and transparency move on.

126   ICCER, section 1.4 Back

127   Ev 28 Back

128   Q 124  Back

129   Q 124 Back

130   HC (2010-11) 546-i, Q 25 Back

131 Back

132   Oral evidence taken on 27 October 2010, The Government Office for Science Annual Review 2009, HC (2010-11), 546-i, Q 25 Back

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