A bill for climate data integrity: The Public Access to Historical Records Act


This just in from U.S. Senator David Vitter’s office here’s now the official press release:

For Immediate Release Contact: Joel DiGrado (Vitter) (202) 224-4623

December 8, 2010 Emily Lawrimore (Barrasso)  (202) 224-6441

Vitter, Barrasso Introduce Bill to Ensure Open, Accurate NASA Climate Data

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sens. David Vitter and John Barrasso today introduced S. 4015, the Public Access to Historical Records Act, which would dramatically improve the transparency and accuracy of NASA’s historical records and guarantee public access to the data.

“Recent incidents, such as the investigation showing that the Obama administration manipulated data to justify the drilling moratorium, have raised concerns that some scientists and government agencies are using misleading data to support their favored viewpoints,” said Vitter.  “This bill would open NASA’s temperature records to public scrutiny and establish an objective set of data to ensure that influential climate research is protected from political agendas.”

“Each year, Americans are forced to spend billions of their hard-earned dollars to support climate change research.  Since this administration promised to be the most open administration in history, it should immediately share NASA’s temperature data with the American public,” said Barrasso.  “There are too many questions regarding temperature models not to allow all Americans access to this data.  This legislation will ensure that our nation has the most accurate and transparent historic temperature record in the world.”

The bill by Vitter and Barrasso is consistent with the Data Quality Act, which requires that scientific information from government agencies be accurate, clear, complete and unbiased.  The Public Access to Historical Records Act would require NASA and the National Climatic Data Center to immediately release relevant climate data that outside groups have long been attempting to review through the Freedom of Information Act.

The bill would also force NASA to make all of its raw historical temperature data available online to the public and would require the agency to compile an official U.S. historical temperature record with oversight from an independent council of appointed meteorologists and statisticians.  The resulting temperature record would be routinely reviewed for accuracy by an independent auditor and would be required for use as a primary source by any scientists or groups accepting federal money for climate research.

-30-

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The full bill as presented is available here Temperature-Records-Act-2010 (PDF)

I had a small hand in this, reviewing some language, but the thrust of the bill came from NASA’s stubborn refusal to provide FOI requested data and documents to CEI. Don’t these guys ever learn? Of course this bill is in its infancy, so there’s no telling if it will make it to law, and if it does, how much it will be modified, or if some pork will be added to it.

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

– Otto von Bismarck

So, we’ll watch the sausage being made here, and hope for the best.  - Anthony

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91 thoughts on “A bill for climate data integrity: The Public Access to Historical Records Act

  1. Fantastic move!

    This should be a wake up call to EPA as well that if they don’t stop screwing around with regulatory control, they could get their leash pulled up short in the same way.

    I strongly support this effort and any similar efforts to bring the bureaucratic dogs to heal, for their abuse of the public trust and malicious backdoor methods to impose regulations with the force of law that the people at large have no desire for, and in many cases actively oppose.

    Power in America comes from the bottom up not the top down, and they have stepped on the toes of the little guy a few times too many lately. The last election was a warning shot across the bow from every agency in government. I hope they are bright enough to notice.

    Larry

  2. The other saying is…
    Laws like sausages are always better after being cooked by the press; diced by the lawyers, and seasoned by the end user.

  3. The interesting thing is that it will turn out to be a double edged sword.
    If the bill is defeated or grossly weakened in its strength – this will play into the hands of the skeptics and public trust will be further reduced.
    If the bill is passed and genuine raw data is released – this will also play into the hands of skeptics as the skeptical scientists will be able to see just exactly how much alteration to the raw data has been made.
    Either way – if it doesnt make law – the reason can ONLY be that they have too much to hide – there is NO other logical explanation for witholding such data. (though I suppose, some data showing the heat generated from past alien visits/thermonuclear tests or some other remote reason for ‘National security’ could be found? LOL)

  4. We can only hope……..

    I want to see them have to explain how the ‘past’ keeps getting colder every time
    they create a new temperature record…

  5. (b) DATA ADJUSTMENT.—
    (1) METHODS TO COMPLY WITH INFORMATION QUALITY ACT.—The applicable Federal official may not utilize a method for the adjustment of data for purposes of complying with the requirements of section 2 or 4, as the case may be, unless such official ensures and certifies that such method complies with the guidelines of the Information Quality Act, including, but not limited to, requirements as follows:

    But what is Hanson going to do with all his free time?

  6. The Democrats always complain that the Republicans are anti-science. Well, let’s see who is “anti-science” now! (I’m betting the LAST thing the Dems want to see is free access to climate science data, even though all taxpayers paid for it.)

  7. On second thought about this article…

    The fact that this law is even being considered is a horrific disgrace to the university/science/research system/industry in this country. Open transparency should be the de-facto norm in any publicly funded university science situation. The fact that NASA gets away with a refusal says that our country has become quite dishonest.

  8. “• The bill would force NASA to release their original raw historical temperature data and post it online for anyone to see and use. ”

    I think you mean: “The bill would force NASA to delete their original raw historical temperature data and post online for anyone to see that they only retain the ‘value added’ product.

    In other words, same song, second verse.

  9. The beauty of bills like this is the leverage that is afforded by the Republican majority in the House where all bills concerning taxation and budgets must originate. This bill is a message to the EPA and like minded agencies to cooperate, or they will be put on a fiscal starvation diet.

  10. latitude says:
    December 8, 2010 at 11:04 am
    We can only hope……..

    I want to see them have to explain how the ‘past’ keeps getting colder every time
    they create a new temperature record…

    Me too!

  11. If the EPA and NASA are balky at obeying the existing laws (i.e. FOIA) then just turn off the funding. Zero the balance. Shoo everyone out and lock the doors.

    That’s the win-win-win solution. We don’t need more laws, for goodness sake.

  12. “Jeremy says:
    December 8, 2010 at 11:13 am
    On second thought about this article…

    The fact that this law is even being considered is a horrific disgrace to the university/science/research system/industry in this country. Open transparency should be the de-facto norm in any publicly funded university science situation.

    I agree. But the law itself is a great idea.

  13. Thank you, David Vitter. I helped elect you. Keep this bill going strong, get it passed, and let’s look at the data.

    I have a strange queasiness that the data the EPA is holding onto will be more damaging to them than NASA’s is to NASA.

    George W. Bush, I believe (in retrospective rumination) knew what a mindless rabid pit bull the EPA had become. Therefore he kept them on a very short leash. Now we have a president who’s decided to unlock the chain and sprinkle blood where he wants the EPA to attack.

  14. The fact that this matter has gotten the attention of senior members of Congress, and that a substantial body of them believe this is a problem, is in itself a huge step forward.

  15. I just hope the proposed bill also applies to ARGO float data which at the moment is subject to gatekeeping: I wonder why?

    Kindest Regards

  16. latitude says:

    I want to see them have to explain how the ‘past’ keeps getting colder every time they create a new temperature record…

    Oh come on, I clearly remember all those -20 days we used to get in July when I was a kid. In fact, it used to be that -64 was considered decent weather for walking to school. And I can’t believe everyone doesn’t know that the prairies used to grow great wheat when the average summer temps were barely above freezing.

    Anyway… this bill would be stunning… awesome… awe inspiring… amazing. That sad part is I know it will NEVER come to pass. Data transparency, in fact, any transparency is pure poison to governments, let alone climate researchers.

  17. I advise you to invest in whitewash now – be two jumps ahead.
    First, the revelations about the corruption of science, then the good and the great will hold their in-depth, comprehensive and objective investigations…

  18. NASA just a shadow of its former great self. Seems to parallel the down fall of once a great nation. USA what are you doing to yourself.

  19. Aren’t they already breaking the law by disobeying the FOI requests? That calls for handcuffs, not yet another law.

  20. While I’m all for government forcing itself to release raw data, the idea that the US government would produce an accurate, unpoliticized temperature record is laughable. Politics, stealing people’s money and giving it to scientists to produce the results the politicians want to hear, is what created the massive fraud that permeates all scientific study today. Having politicians take more control of the direct production of an official, government approved temperature record would make matters worse, not better.

  21. Fan-friggin-tastic !

    It’ll be interesting to watch this bill evolve and whether or not it makes it out of the starting gate because it will clue in the public as to just what exactly is going on behind the curtain of climate science.

  22. I just sent an email to one of my senators, Diane Feinstein, asking her to support Senator Vitter’s bil and why I think that it is an abomination that such legislation should be necessary. I encourage WUWT readers to lobby their senators on behalf of S. 4015. A few hundred emails in support will go far in the hoary hallowed halls of our elected repsentatives.

  23. Typo alert, “..Senator Vitter’s bilL…” Didn’t bother with my other senator for all of the obvious reasons.

  24. Be very careful of unintended consequences!!! While I agree the raw data should be made available– it concerns me when the govt mandates an official temperature profile for any study (isn’t that what we have now?). Requiring the raw data be made available and documentation of any adjustments which may have been made should be sufficient for government funded research.

    The raw data is part two — Part one is the adequacy of the system that produces the raw data.

  25. I would prefer to see the new GOP president (after a damning audit exposing the fraud) re-assign Hansen, Schmidt, Serreze, et al, and appoint legitimate scientists to monitor and report on GMT.

  26. I don’t like this provision:
    • The resulting temperature record would have to be used as one (but not the only one) of the historical records by any scientists or group that accepts federal money for climate research.

  27. Seems entirely sensible to me and it reads very well indeed. I wonder what the chances are that this will pass?

  28. The empty 2008 promises of ‘open and transparent government’ will take a giant leap towards reality, if this bill can be passed by the Congressional Class of 2010.

    A humble yet All American “Thank You!” to all of the hard working, honest scientists and pols working to restore a small measure of credibility to our US national science programs!

  29. latitude says:
    December 8, 2010 at 11:04 am

    We can only hope……..

    I want to see them have to explain how the ‘past’ keeps getting colder every time
    they create a new temperature record…

    ###############
    Just read the code. it’s pretty clear why this does happen and why it should.

  30. How about we just zero budget the EPA and NASA until they provide raw data ? If some researcher wants academic freedom (from FOI), let them fund their own research.

  31. RayG says: December 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm
    “A few hundred emails in support will go far in the hoary hallowed halls of our elected repsentatives.”

    Emails are easly ignored because they are perceived as not requiring any effort of the part of the (potentially automated, possibly cut-and-pasted) author.

    If you really want to make an impact, then put pen to paper and write a letter out by hand, do not use a printer, use a stamp.

    Request a response, do not include a phone number or email address in your letter.

    A real letter communicates to the recipient a vastly higher level of concern and interest on the part of the author. Sending an email is worse then even a phone call.

    Responding to an email, likewise, requires little effort, thought or cost; and can be completly automated.

    Pen and Ink.

  32. This is great news, although I suspect the paper shredders and disk wiping programmes will be working overtime at GISS before the bill gets passed.

  33. Mike D. says:
    December 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

    If the EPA and NASA are balky at obeying the existing laws (i.e. FOIA) then just turn off the funding. Zero the balance. Shoo everyone out and lock the doors.

    That’s the win-win-win solution. We don’t need more laws, for goodness sake.

    =========

    Love it! Like the Reagan solution to the striking air traffic controllers in the early 80s. He just fired ‘em all in one fell presidential swoop. I admire the man for many things, but he’s a god in my eyes for that single act alone.

  34. Speaking of climate, data, and integrity … o/t but Donna Laframboise has found* a “Powerful New Research Tool that assist those who are interested in exploring the integrity of the IPCC’s AR4 to “analyze it more comprehensively than ever before.” She concludes that this tool, AccessIPCC “represents an enormous leap forward. We now have a more user-friendly – and immeasurably richer – way of evaluating the IPCC’s Nobel-winning report.”

    *Full disclosure: Well, “found” isn’t exactly the right word, because as one of the two people Donna names as being responsible for this, I had let her know about it :-)

    Readers might be interested in the views of those who – thanks to Bishop Hill’s highlighting this in The annotated AR4 really can be said to have “found” it!

    BH reports that “the overall effect … is to illuminate our understanding of the AR4 process”. I couldn’t agree more! But then I am somewhat biased:-)

  35. [i]“Laws like sausages are always better after being cooked by the press; diced by the lawyers, and seasoned by the end user.”[/i]

    Wouldn’t this mean that laws should be distorted by the press, then dissected by the lawyers to remove any real meaning, and finally packaged to match the reader’s preconceptions?

    Sounds like a good description for the process that got us into this mess.

  36. NCDC, national climactic data center, already has their raw data available. As I understand it, this is the bulk of the land data in NASA’s analyses. The SST data NASA uses is from CRU, I think. I’ve done a basic workup of the NCDC temperatures. My source code (Linux) and links to the raw data at http://justdata.wordpress.com

  37. Restoring science to it’s rightful place, one law at a time.

    I agree with those commenting above that it is absolutely disgraceful that a law like this must be passed to prompt the release of taxpayor funded data to the taxpayors. Let’s hope the law passes with serious consequences for those who ignore it.

  38. As a “Skeptic”, “Denier”, “Luddite” I find myself strangely optomistic upon hearing this news. I’m quite sure I’ll feel better tomorrow.

  39. NASA’s relevance took another notch down earlier today. The fact that a private company orbited and retrieved a spacecraft suitable for human crew makes it harder for NASA to claim unique expertise. http://www.spacedaily.com/

  40. if the bill passes, this is the important paragraph for me…

    • The bill would force NASA/NCDC to release the data, and then compile a historic official U.S. temperature record that would be compiled under NASA’s supervision but with a council of appointed meteorologists and statisticians.

    lets place bets
    Anthony Watts (meteorologist) and Steve McIntyre (statistician) for council.

    p.s. Great Job Hilary. Access IPCC will be a great open source tool. those compiling the AR5 will check and double check every dotted i and every crossed t. there are thousands of citizen auditors waiting with green pens in hand.

  41. Raw satellite data is pretty difficult stuff to make sense of. I hope this doesn’t backfire…

    What we need in addition are the relevant codes which turn the raw data into indices certified by oversight committees formed of field experts. No more Claus Frohlich using adjustments designed to correct one part of a satellite record on other parts to reduce trends etc.

  42. What about NOAA? They’re the ones making many of the corrections to new and old data based on poorly supportable assumptions.

  43. Any attempt by NASA / NOAA /government to block this legislation would certainly further enrage an already skeptical public, further convincing the public that they are / have been manipulating the data to support their cause. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out

  44. “What’s Going On”

    The classic ….. [sarc/]

    Q&A: Professor Phil Jones

    M – What advice did you seek in handling FOI requests?
    The university’s policy and guidelines on FOI and the Environmental Information Regulations are on our website and the information policy and compliance manager (IPCM) takes responsibility for co-ordinating responses to requests within that framework. We also have colleagues in each unit and faculty who are trained in FOI to help in gathering information and assessing any possible exceptions or exemptions.
    I worked with those colleagues and the IPCM to handle the requests with responses going from the IPCM. He also liaises with the Information Commissioner’s Office where necessary and did so on several occasions in relation to requests made to CRU. Where appropriate he also consulted with other colleagues in the university on specific issues.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

  45. One thing I’d like to see is a revision history of FigD.txt, the US temp data where 2006 went from being 5th warmest in early November ’09 to joint warmest in late November ’09.

    DaveE.

  46. Personally I can’t wait to hear all the excusifying from people who don’t want the data released. The distortions of logic and rhetorical hoops they will have to jump through to justify being against this are going to be a major turn-off to everyone but the most die hard Kool Aid types. It’ll be like watching spastic octopuses playing a game of twister.

  47. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm
    I don’t like this provision:
    • The resulting temperature record would have to be used as one (but not the only one) of the historical records by any scientists or group that accepts federal money for climate research.
    ======================================================
    I agree. The way that’s worded, it makes no sense to do it in the first place.

    Mosh, I have looked at the code. I’ve even read your explanation of why the past
    temperatures are adjusted down every time there’s a new hysterical past
    temperature reconstruction.

    It’s still total BS…………

  48. This makes far too much sense to become law. Think of all the government grants and university jobs that this would put at risk!

  49. This sounds all very well and good. I think the ultimate effectiveness, better put the ultimate objectivity of the data, of this bill be only be know five or six years after passage. Remember keep a skeptical eye and Mother Nature and politicians play with loaded dice.

  50. Good news. Clearly the FOI act is to weak.

    I would like to see them go a step further: Any paper submitted by taxpayer-funded “science” should be posted online within 3 months of publication along with ALL SUPPORTING DATA. Science should be a search for the truth not a secret effort to enable political agendas in return for taxpayer dollars. Then we can add some fines for manipulating the public’s data.

  51. Dear Dr. Svalgaard,

    I absolutely agree with you — the wording in the new law sucks. Nothing is gained by government-dictated data sets. Shades of King Canute and Trofim Lysenko. A step backwards for Science (assuming it isn’t already the de facto practice).

    The real problem is that government-funded science is politically biased. Oh sure, there may be a few scientists with integrity in the government employ. I’m sure you are without blemish. But the sad truth is that there are very few. The funding drives the findings in the vast majority of cases, in all scientific disciplines.

    One solution is for government to stop funding science altogether. That would not cause the demise of science, IMHO. Indeed just the opposite would result: a scientific renaissance. Another solution would be full openness and transparency, with unwavering integrity no matter the consequences, but we both know that’s never going to happen. Do you have any other suggestions?

  52. Hallelujah.
    Datasets driving major public policy should be independently verified to be true.
    What a revolutionary idea – and only took 30 years.

    Now we should apply this to taxation, medicine, aviation, civil engineering….
    Oh, wait….already done.
    Who would have thought.

    “Restoring integrity in science, one law at a time.”

  53. This is worth repeating:

    a jones says:
    December 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I just hope the proposed bill also applies to ARGO float data which at the moment is subject to gatekeeping

  54. So is this:

    Pat Moffitt says:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    The raw data is part two — Part one is the adequacy of the system that produces the raw data.

  55. I don’t like new laws. We have to many already. This one though might be necessary. Unfortunately, my gut tells me that this might go the same way as it did across the pond:

    “We don’t have the original data anymore…..”

  56. Mike D. says:
    December 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    Another solution would be full openness and transparency, with unwavering integrity no matter the consequences, but we both know that’s never going to happen. Do you have any other suggestions?
    The full openness etc would be the way, but science often has practical [monetary] results, so it is hard to achieve the openness. One suggestion would be for government not to dictate what researchers should use or look for. A blank check, so to speak, but that is not going to happen either. IMHO, the root problem is scientific illiteracy among the general public, politicians included. Blogging might help, but is also at times a hindrance due to the junk being peddled, and the venom spewed.
    As suggested by others a useful step would be to remove pay-walls and make published papers freely available [if need be by the government paying a fee to the oh so poor publishers - BTW, I payed $11,000 in 'page charges' to have a recent paper published, so the publisher is not without income].

  57. My favorite variant of that sausage saying:

    “No one who has witnessed tax lobbyists’ perennial infestation of Capitol Hill can ever again confuse the making of tax laws with the making of sausages: at least when you make sausages, you know the pigs won’t be coming back.” — J. Mark Iwry

  58. Mike D. says:
    December 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Dear Dr. Svalgaard,

    I absolutely agree with you — the wording in the new law sucks. Nothing is gained by government-dictated data sets. Shades of King Canute and Trofim Lysenko. A step backwards for Science (assuming it isn’t already the de facto practice).

    Perhaps I am viewing this from a different perspective but I have no problem with that requirement. It does on prevent you from also doing your analysis on some other data set. In that case you have two test cases. You either have to defend your data set or show the deficiency in the “official data set” either outcome would be good.

    If the “official” data set is not suitable for your analysis, show why and how it should be improved or why to get useful output you must use another source of data.

    If there is a large discrepancy between your data set and the official data set, when shown side by side, it would be incumbent for the researcher to explain why or how that discrepancy arises. In either case the researcher would in exchange for getting public money for the research either demonstrate a weakness in the official data set (and hopefully point out how that can be resolved), provide a modification to the official data set that resolves that “error” or “omission”, or must show why his/her data set is superior to the official data. The other case would be that the researcher validates an independent data set against the official open source data set, perhaps showing a differing method or source for gathering equivalent data.

    There would be no reason a privately funded researcher could not use what ever data input they wanted, they could compute global average temperature based on skate board sale figures if they wanted to, they just could not get a free meal ticket from public funds to do it.

    Use public funds — show us what your results would be with the public open source data set as input. Show anything else you like, but include that as part of the analysis, and provide as graph with the outputs from that “official open source” data set as a reference point your charts so the public at large can easily see if your data and results make sense compared to a well known audited data source.

    Larry

  59. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    December 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm
    ==========================
    Larry, they are not going to like that.

    Keep in mind, these are the same numb-skulls that were trying to convince the government to give them doppler radar just a few years ago. They were so totally inept, they bankrupted their own program.

  60. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    December 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm
    must show why his/her data set is superior to the official data.
    Must show to whom? The government or some bureaucrat?
    I actually have an example of this from my own experience. Several years ago, I discovered that the ‘official’ aa-index [measuring geomagnetic activity] was wrongly calibrated. It was not possible to get that paper published [ http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf ]. Later the very same critics have agreed that such re-calibration was necessary. The problem here is that while the usual way of getting to a general acceptance is for the scientists in your field to read your paper [after peer-review] and go with it or simply ignore it [if it is no good], having someone up-front decide whether other people should have a chance to evaluate it is too prone to misuse. Here is another [personal] example: http://www.leif.org/research/IDV09-Review-History.pdf
    The rebuttal of the Steig paper that was recently discussed at WUWT is another example. Both in my case and in this case the papers were eventually published [after long and unnecessary delay], because a third referee broke the deadlock. The whole ideas of an ‘official’ dataset is flawed. What is needed are well-documented data [and metadata] that are open for anyone to use as they see fit.

  61. How about we just zero budget the EPA and NASA until they provide raw data ?

    Then they will say they don’t have the funding to comply.

  62. I think it is a good straight forward attempt to get things back on track. They need to keep the message simple that if you take Tax money and build something then you must accept the quality controls and of course oversight of the methods and data.

    Quality control starts with maintaining the best Historical data and reasonable access, and its on that point the hard part starts. Should it be free and available to all and sundry without some recognition of the value in its compilation, checking and validation or by a process where commercial users pay a commercial price and research institutions pay nothing or nominal fees. Should some value added information be restricted in its redistribution? (National security, state secrets) or requests evaluated prior to release.
    Knowing government organizations, how will the present “lead” organizations evolve, will they become secretive and selectively “privately” funded research entities under a labyrinth of umbrella trusts and philanthropic research foundations that are themselves funded largely from Tax grants, but also from endowments and bequests to those foundations, therefore those researchers become exempt from the effects of this law?

    Lots to think about.

  63. “I would prefer to see the new GOP president (after a damning audit exposing the fraud) re-assign Hansen, Schmidt, Serreze, et al, and appoint legitimate scientists to monitor and report on GMT.”

    Hansen: “Greenwhich Mean Time doesn’t seem to change much from year to year.”
    Schmidt: “That’s BEFORE we adjust historical records to show signifigant time shifting caused by CO2!”

  64. Leif Svalgaard says: December 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm Blogging might help, but is also at times a hindrance due to the junk being peddled, and the venom spewed.

    Yes, well, free speech and all that. The blogs and websites FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT are no better, IMHO, when it comes to junk and venom. And scientific illiteracy is a common characteristic of government scientists these days.

    The highway robbery inflicted by the “journals” is not going to be fixed by throwing more tax dollars at them. They are tax funded now. The pay walls are there for union closed shop reasons, the hijacking of science, not for any commercial justification. $11,000 to publish? You are a victim of extortion, sir, and I sympathize. You didn’t have to dig into your personal finances, though, did you?

    No, I’m afraid the science system is broken. It’s been hijacked. Government funding/control is the source of the problem. The economics of Socialism are as big a failure in science as they are in any other endeavor.

  65. Be wary of passing new laws. Can’t the old laws work to identify those who will not enforce the current law (refusing FOI, altering or destroying raw data to which all scientists should have access)? Let the scoundrels be fired, fined, given prison time, and hve their pensions taken away. Let them know that representative democracy is serious business. Throw the bums out.

  66. How much will this help (assuming “honest” compliance) when the sites for collecting the data are bad to begin with? I suppose it is a start.

  67. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    December 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm
    must show why his/her data set is superior to the official data.
    Must show to whom? The government or some bureaucrat?

    None of the above.!

    If their results differ significantly from the results you get from a audited data set with known quality controls, their results would simply be ignored unless in the body of the paper, they explained why there was a difference and how they arrived at the conclusions they did.

    I do not want either the government or any organization to censor papers either directly buy dropping information or indirectly by refusing to publish. The only entity that can and should pass judgment on the paper are the readers after it is published who are technically competent to evaluate its merit.

    I see your point and understand that perhaps the regulations might need to be reworded.

    I think the plain language intent is, that for any research project to qualify for federal funding, it must as part of its work product include an evaluation which uses the certified data set, and satisfied the requirement to compare the results of that evaluation with what ever data source they might choose to use in addition to the certified data set.

    How you would make it so the peer review process would not block such papers is a different issue and perhaps better addressed at the journal or professional association level.

    In my view, the current Peer Reviewed Journal process has committed professional suicide with its manipulation and skewing of the review process. I suspect that in time those pay wall journals will die on the vine as publication moves to an open source web model (just like the subscription media is dieing on the vine in favor or blogs like WUWT). Perhaps a model like the open source software community uses where an author posts a paper to a web site, and lets the world community at large take shots at it. Then the author modifies the paper as they see fit in view of the posted criticism.

    Then after some reasonable period of open review, publish it in open domain PDF or ODT format and let the chips fall where they may. Perhaps with a means where other professionals can go on record endorsing the paper. If enough people of stature in the appropriate disciplines endorse the paper, it would have the same credibility as a Journal endorsed paper, as the journals simply act as proxies to perform that endorsement (or at least that is what everyone thought up until recently).

    I suspect some sort of open source publication model will evolve and leave the professional societies out in the cold unless they choose to publicly and openly participate in that open review process. This and similar forums already provide much of that sort of review, except the review is off the cuff and informal.

    At least that is my hope and expectation. I am sure politics both political and professional will find a way to try to intrude on that ideal solution, but I think the open software process should be looked at closely as a possible model for such a system that would be much less prone to scamming and manipulation.

    Larry

  68. ‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

    – Otto von Bismarck’

    With right light (transparency) would keep out the infected meat.

  69. Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

    – Otto von Bismarck

    So, we’ll watch the sausage being made here, and hope for the best. – Anthony

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    This is a promising start. Let’s hope it turns out to be a good Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage. :-)

  70. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    The whole ideas of an ‘official’ dataset is flawed. What is needed are well-documented data [and metadata] that are open for anyone to use as they see fit.

    ————

    Agree 100%. The general idea of the bill is great (although it is unfortunate that it is needed) but an ‘official’ data set would create a new set of handcuffs for science and as Leif remarks, would throw up further roadblocks to publication to those who find problems with the data set or different interpretations of how the data should be organized. This is like a question of censorship: officials or busybodies decide what is appropriate for people to read and be exposed to. Those opposed to censorship argue that information and ideas should be open, and people should be able to decide for themselves based on the evidence.

  71. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    December 8, 2010 at 7:31 pm
    it must as part of its work product include an evaluation which uses the certified data set
    There cannot be, and should not be a ‘certified dataset’. If we go down that road, we not only have that ‘the science is settled’, but now also that ‘the data is settled’. If a dataset is good [open, accessible, documented, free, etc] it will be used on its own merits.

  72. I hate it when someone tries to tell me what I can and cannot do. Though just a wee little redheaded lass, I can get my dander up way higher than I can reach.

  73. I am truly puzzled as to why this politician wants to introduce yet another law to enforce an action that an earlier law covers but the earlier (FOI) law is not enforced – WUWT?

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