Penn State report on Mann: new investigation to convene.

The report is out, and further investigation is forthcoming.

Excerpts from the report are below, where they considered 4 allegations. They say only one had merit. That will be the subject of the upcoming investigation.


“It is clear to those who have followed the media and blogs over the last two months that there are two distinct and deeply polarized points of view that have emerged on this matter. One side views the emails as evidence of a clear cut violation of the public trust and seeks severe penalties for Dr. Mann and his colleagues. The other side sees these as nothing more than the private discussions of scientists engaged in a hotly debated topic of enormous social impact.

We are aware that some may seek to use the debate over Dr. Mann’s research conduct and that of his colleagues as a proxy for the larger and more substantive debate over the science of anthropogenic global warming and its societal (political and economic) ramifications. We have kept the two debates separate by only considering Dr. Mann’s conduct.”

“Decision 4. Given that information emerged in the form of the emails purloined from CRU in November 2009, which have raised questions in the public’s mind about Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research activity, given that this may be undermining confidence in his findings as a scientist, and given that it may be undermining public trust in science in general and climate science specifically, the inquiry committee believes an investigatory committee of faculty peers from diverse fields should be constituted under RA-10 to further consider this allegation.

In sum, the overriding sentiment of this committee, which is composed of University administrators, is that allegation #4 revolves around the question of accepted faculty conduct surrounding scientific discourse and thus merits a review by a committee of faculty scientists. Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged it responsibility on this matter.

An investigatory committee of faculty members with impeccable credentials will consider this matter and present its findings and recommendations to Dr. Henry C. Foley within 120 days of being charged. The committee will consist of the following five faculty members:

1. Dr. Mary Jane Irwin, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering;

2. Dr. Alan Walker, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Anthropology and Department of Biology;

3. Dr. A. Welford Castleman, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Physic;

4. Dr. Nina G. Jablonski, Head, Department of Anthropology; and

5. Dr. Sarah M. Assmann, Waller Professor, Department of Biology.

Ms. Candice Yekel, as Director of the Office for Research Protections and as the University’s Research Integrity Officer, will provide administrative support and assistance to the committee.

The investigatory committee’s charge will be to consider what are the bounds of accepted practice in this instance and whether or not Dr. Mann did indeed engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities.

Read the report here (PDF)


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Fox guarding hen-house.


Well, at least they seem to be taking this matter seriously and are following all the (apparently) necessary protocols. 😐


” John (10:05:55) :
Fox guarding hen-house.”
….with a hockeystick?

A C Osborn



@supercritical: lol!

Al Gore's Brother

Why isn’t Steve McIntyre on the committee? Couldn’t it be said that Professor Mann participated in defrauding the public and governments around the world with his hockey stick theory?

I’d be worried that two of the five are anthropologists, a very left-leaning profession of late not known for its objectivity.

Al Gore's Brother

I did not have relations with that hockey stick!

Mike Ramsey

Politically speaking, it was the only possible outcome.
Not good for Mann because his detractors now have more time to dig. And dig they shall.
Mike Ramsey


I assume the question of Manns non release of data and methods, his obfuscation of M&M and his “peer review process” is part of this ongoing investigation?


Well, at least they didn’t stuff the panel with members of the World Wildlife Fund.


He explained the content and meaning of the emails about which we inquired;

He explained that he had never falsified any data, nor had he had ever manipulated data to serve a given predetermined outcome;

He explained that he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;

He explained that he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones, and that he never withheld data with the intention of obstructing science; and

He explained that he never engaged in activities or behaviors that were inconsistent with accepted academic practices.
end of extract.e
Well he would say that wouldn’t he?
He seems to be in Denial and the interviwers seem to eager to accept Mann’s expressions of guilt
In the UK in the past if a complaint was made about a Policeman the station where he was located carried out the investigation and more often than not the complaint was not upheld. Of course this was not acceptable to the Public or the Police as it undermined confidence. The University are wrong to carry out their own investigation.
The University has investigated Mr Manns conduct but has not carried out interviews with anyone else that could throw light on the matter.
They mention he has emails related to AR4. Will they publish?
You can bet your bottom dollar that Mr Mann will get a slight slap on the wrist and the Universities reputation will not be put at risk. I sincerely hope this is not the case.


OOPs sorry Freudian slip should be Mann’s expressions of innocence.


You’d think the main Mann would simply resign and save them all the bother of looking even more foolish 120 days from now.

It is a white-wash; I quickly read the report and the only outside scientists they consulted were Kennedy of Stanford/Science and North of Texas A&M.
Penn State is standing behind MBH98. It’s wrong and it’s a very sad day for science.

Mad Elf

My experience with anthropologists tells me that the anthropology professors are likely to be liberal blowhards. I’ll be surprised if they aren’t among the true believers in AGW.

Henry chance

but, but but but Mann has impecible credentials also. They must be “Peers”
Take your time. We will of course hope donors will also take their time and 120 days from now they can devise a panel to evaluate the Impecible PennState and send their money elswhere if Mann is not in the State Penn.
Is 3 hots and a cot too humbling for a “cold” crime?


Given that information emerged in the form of the emails purloined from CRU

Given that there is no evidence that the emails were stolen as opposed to leaked shouldn’t there be an “allegedly” before the purloined?


I notice that no mathematician is on the review committee. Certainly no need for anyone to review Dr. Manns usage of statistics…

Given the four questions, #4 was the easiest one to find worth further investigation.
It seems to me the committee should have talked with McIntyre, perhaps they decided early on that #4 would be in the followup investigation and hence didn’t need McIntyre’s input for this round. (Allegation 4. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?)
Allegation 1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data? is too restrictive in my mind. If they had included the “intent to mislead” then there could have been a lot more to consider.
120 days for the investigatory committee. I hope they contact McIntyre or that McIntyre contacts them directly.

Fred from Canuckistan

purloined ?
Who wrote that one , Snaggle Puss?


We expected a whitewash. Instead we get a more gentle drawn out whitewash.
Time for an external investigation.


It’s worse than the fox guarding the hen house. It is the marks guarding their already squandered credibility.
Boy, all those anthropologists know a lot about statistics and scientific method. They feel so strongly about their conclusions.

Al Gore’s Brother (10:16:32) :
> Why isn’t Steve McIntyre on the committee?
For the some of the same reasons the murder victim isn’t on the jury.

Penn State ordered a truckload of whitewash???


It is my hope that the chemist and biologists on the panel remember what real science is supposed to look like…


It has bought them a few more months to see which way the wind blows.

Eric Rasmusen

As commentors have said, an internal investigation like this lacks any credibility. I suppose its purpose is to delay, and to obstruct other investigations, using the standard tactic of “I can’t give any evidence to you because an investigation is ongoing.”
The investigators *ought* to be people from a scholarly society, including some big names who have credibility to lose. It’s bad that no scholarly societies are commenting on Climategate. I investigated having the American Economic Association get involved, but though the economists I contacted were generally sympathetic, I dropped it because it’s really too far outside our field– the only real link is that we in economics do care about the reputation of peer reviewing and scholarship generally.

L Bowser

This is exactly what you would expect out of a preliminary investigation. I would liken this to a grand jury, who will decide whether or not there is enough evidence to substantiate charges for trial.
Based on the accusations leveled, the only one you could prove would be 1, 2 and 4 with the CRU emails. If he provided all his emails around AR4, and none of the CRU emails or those referred to by the CRU emails were found to be missing, then #2 goes away. With the framing of #1, it dealt only with the suppression or falsification of data. The fact is you can’t prove any of that in relation to “data” based on these emails, so #1 goes away.
Now findings, analysis and conclusions are a totally different matter which gets to the heart of the matter in #4. The committee found that you cannot dismiss this allegation outright. The CRU emails provide sufficient evidence that Mann and company tried to surpress research and render journals they felt to be biases ineffective or shut them down altogether. In other words, there may be substance to the allegation. The grand jury has spoken, there is enough evidence to proceed to trial and here is the jury of peers.
I was glad to see that no one from his department was included as a peer (an obvious conflict of interest). It seems that Penn State is following the letter of the law regarding their internal policies. In regards to the investigation, I would say so far, so good.

Jere Krischel

WTF? These guys essentially only took testimony from Mann? They didn’t search through his non-climategate email records? His other work files? Maybe even just one witness for the prosecution?
Epic fail.

L Bowser

@Rick Werme:
For the some of the same reasons the murder victim isn’t on the jury.

Umm… I don’t think that’s quite the same. A murder victim is dead. A better analogy would be the same reason a witness is not on the jury. He is biased towards the version he witnessed.


“The so-called “trick”1 was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.
Decision 1.”
If so then why not show the splice in the graphic and foot note accordingly. Note the divergence. Otherwise someone might think that they were being misled. Now we have been told by the review board it was all OK.

Tom G(ologist)

The inquiry is really not on the integrity of his scientific paper so a mathematician is not requisite on the panel. Many scientists publish papers which are later found to be wanting, or to have used a technique (trick) to manipulate data. I don’t think we should dwell on whether his science was right or wrong. The university is not looking at that. Science proceeds by scientists making wrong steps and then making corrections when the problem is identified. The university is looking for ethical and legal wrong-doing. Apart from his academic ‘trick’ Mann is correct in that he did not delete emails at Jones’ request and many other exonerations he will attempt. I think the stumbling block for him is going to be on some nebulous points and the outcome is far from certain.
Personally, I think he is a thin-skinned creep and a discredit to the geosciences (and I am the President of the Pennsylvania State Licensing Boards for Professional Geologists – close to Mann’s home, so to speak) but, as a college educator (in a different university) I understand how Penn State will be viewing this. Let’s see wht transpires, but I will caution that if you are hoping for a big defeat of the Mann-heim steamroller, begin preparing yourself now for a ruling you will probably find disappointing.
As a reminder, the PA state senate higher education committee has already stated that if it is dissatisfied with the university inquiry, it plans a separate investigation of its own.


The only thing that will influence this investigation is money. I hope donors to PSU act accordingly.

Green Sand

Funny stuff whitewash, very difficult to apply without getting splashed and stained by it and even when you think you applied it correctly it never lasts as long as you think it will, requiring constant maintenance, especially in adverse climatic conditions.

John R. Walker

Bullshit baffles brains – as we used to say with monotonous regularity in engineering… Sadly – it’s frequently true!

John Galt

Am I right in concluding it’s to be an investigation of conduct, not an investigation of the underlying science?
Is that too narrow of an interpretation?

templar knight

Anthropology is a science? Who knew? Regardless, this is a whitewash, and all the more reason to do our very best to make sure we get a Republican majority in one side of Congress this fall. And then, let the investigations begin. I truly believe it will take a monumental political effort to smoke out these warmists.


Thats a result I expected.
But I wonder how he could escape with the explanation of the “Trick”.
They should have asked and investigated what he meant by
“Trick to hide the decline”!


They’re trying to buy some time.
Considering what’s fallen from the shaken tree in the last couple of months, they’ll be hoping for something bigger to come along so they can quietly slip their results ( no case to answer ) out at a opportune moment.
External investigation needed. Isn’t Penn state funded by the State?
It’s becoming obvious with Penn and the UEA that there are too many vested interests and I think it’s going to take some serious people power to drag this rotting corpse out into the sunlight.


Surely, those that gave grants to this Mann can have their own investigation into the misuse of their money?


Much nothing about the to-do. We should have expected as much.
Penn State only get the message if the state pulls their funding


Penn State is doing what BBC, Guardian et all are doing.
Rather then argue the point on whether the science is good or bad, they are accepting that ‘the concerns of skeptics’ have not been properly answered or properly addressed.
Hence Anthony gets emails from the BBC asking if there are any skeptic scientists conveniently available they could interview.
The computer models are deviating from the surface tempurature record now is as good a time as any for mea culpa’s, listen to the skeptic’s arguments, incorporate the arguments into the new computer models, declare that with the assistance of the skeptics they’ve got the new models right this time. And yes…global warming is still happening…but not quite as serious as previously thought.


“The so called “trick” was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring together two or more different kinds of data sets together in a LEGITIMATE fashion by a technique by a technique that has be reviewed by a broad array of peers…”
For the first time in my life. I feel ashamed of having a graduate degree. If I were a Penn State alum I’d send them back my degree.
If this is ok. No one should ever trust universities or science.


I suspect you will see a lot of pressure put on Penn State to expand the scope of the independent investigation.

Steve Oregon

I call BS.
Remember how “context” was so important in the early dismissal of the Cru-Leak?
Well, context is everything in evaluating Dr. Mann’s research conduct and that of his colleagues.
Their conduct must be assessed in the context of their effort to manipulate the debate over the science of anthropogenic global warming. It most likely to be found that their conduct sought to deceive and thereby effect the societal (political and economic) ramifications.
It is absurd and disingenuous to pretend there are two debates in need of separating. Doing so serves only to subject Mann and his colleagues to the least amount of scrutiny posible while preventing the worst of their offenses and the greater AGW scandal from being judged.
This is like looking into some con men without looking into the con job.
Forget about it PSU.
There’s only one outcome that will ultimately be adequate.
Mann et all will be found to have used their positions and PSU to manipulate, deceive and advocate for policies derived from official malfeasance on a grand scale.
Any attempt by Penn State to slow or lesson the full discovery and consequenses will only only cause more damage to the institution while failing miserably to defend Mann.

Perhaps the choice of two anthropologists to whitewash Dr. Mann’s actions is a subconscious acknowledgement that AGW is a dead and buried human construct. More probable however is the likelihood that they need experts to rebury the evidence.
The decision has already been made. Whomsoever chose the word “purloined” to describe the whistle blowing is also the person who has rendered prejudgement. It truly saddens me to see a formerly respected institution like Penn choose to this path.
My cousin is a Summa Alum and I will suggest she pay special attention to supporting institution in the future.


I read on that they switched from whitewash to white latex paint for the Stevenson Screens. So does that mean that Penn State is “White latex painting” this controvesy?


And with a gigantic sweep of their broom
under the rug it goes.
Nothing to see here, move along

D. Howard

I wish the university had decided to investigate the “intellectual rigor” of his arguments, instead of the relatively uninteresting “standards of behavior” question. You know… put a mathematician “language of science” person on the committee, defend the university’s academic credentials, etc. I (as a lay person) would have found the results to be more interesting. [ I think letting professors defend their own discipline would give a more interesting result–who wants to be the guy who wasn’t bright enough to see the errors?(O.k.-if any.)]