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

Annex: The former Committee's recommendations and the ICCER response

Committee's conclusions and recommendations Response from the Climate Change E-mails Review
1We are not in a position to set out any further the extent, if any, to which CRU should have made the data available in the interests of transparency, and we hope that the Independent Climate Change Email Review will reach specific conclusions on this point. (Paragraph 39) In accordance with its remit, the CCER will address the particular issues of data availability and peer review to which the Committee made reference.
2The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers. The Independent Climate Change Email Review should look in detail at all of these claims. (Paragraph 73)
3We accept the assurances that Sir Muir Russell has given about the independence of the Independent Climate Change Email Review and we expect him to be scrupulous in preserving its impartiality. (Paragraph 113) The CCER welcomes the Committee's recognition that the Review is independent and that none of its members have links to the CRU or the IPCC.
4With regards to the terms of reference of the Review, we consider that as well as measuring CRU against current acceptable scientific practice, the Review should also make recommendations on best practice to be followed by CRU in the future. We invite Sir Muir Russell to respond formally to our Report to the extent that he sets out whether, on the basis of its contents, he finds the Terms of Reference of his inquiry need to be changed. (Paragraph 114) The CCER has seen no need to amend its terms of reference. It notes in particular the Committee's wish to see the Review recommend future best practice. The Review has always understood its remit to include such recommendations, and therefore sees no need for any change in this respect.
5It is unfortunate that the Independent Review got off to a bad start with the necessary resignation of Dr Campbell. The question of the operation of peer review is going to be a critical issue in the inquiry and the Review Team needs to take steps to ensure the insight and experience he would have brought are replaced. (Paragraph 119) The CCER agrees with the Committee on the importance of access to expertise concerning peer review. It has addressed this by commissioning work from the editor of a leading peer review journal and from the Chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics to ensure that Review members have a clear understanding of the relevant issues as they consider the evidence presented to them. It should also be remembered that the scientific members of the Review are fully aware of the importance and practice of peer review through their own extensive work.
6We conclude that, when the Independent Review holds oral hearings or interviews, they should be carried out in public wherever possible and that it should publish all the written evidence it receives on its website as soon as possible. (Paragraph 122) The CCER shares the Committee's wish for openness and transparency. It has published all submissions unless there are legal constraints such as defamation or copyright, or the submission is abusive. In these cases, the Review has sought the agreement of the author(s) on the means of enabling the submissions to be obtained directly by those wishing to see them. The great bulk of the Review's process has been to deal with or canvass written evidence. Where interviews have taken place, the salient points have been noted and all the notes will be published.
7The two reviews or inquiries need to map their activities to ensure that there are no unmanaged overlaps or gaps. If there are, the whole process could be undermined.

(Paragraph 134)

The CCER noted the Committee's concern that there should be no unmanaged gaps or overlaps between its work and that of the Scientific Appraisal Panel. While respecting the fact that the two reviews were completely independent, CCER contacted Lord Oxburgh, Chair of the Scientific Appraisal Panel, to ensure that he was aware of the approach being taken by CCER to issues that might bear on his work.
8We see no reason why the Review's conclusions and UEA's response have to be published together. Indeed, it could give the impression that UEA was being given an advantage when it comes to responding. We consider that the Review's conclusions and recommendations should not be conveyed to UEA in advance of publication. (Paragraph 113) CCER notes the Committee's proposal that the conclusions of the review should not be conveyed to the University of East Anglia in advance of publication. The reason for this proposal appears to be that to do otherwise might put at risk the review's impartiality. There is no question of any contact with the University prior to publication that would influence the review's conclusions, as distinct from any necessary checking of factual matters. The Review was commissioned by the University to report on policies and practices within the University, and should the Review find matters of concern, then it clearly has a duty to inform the University. The Committee will also be aware that natural justice demands that both the University and members of CRU should be informed directly of any critical findings. Finally, it is also common practice in public and Parliamentary life for the subjects of reports to be given embargoed copies of the documents shortly before publication. The CCER is mindful of the Committee's recommendation, but it sees no reason to depart from normal practice.

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Prepared 25 January 2011