An excerpt from Steve’s post at Climate Audit
Schneider replied that he had been editor of Climatic Change for 28 years and, during that time, nobody had ever requested supporting data, let alone source code, and he therefore required a policy from his editorial board approving his requesting such information from an author. He observed that he would not be able to get reviewers if they were required to examine supporting data and source code. I replied that I was not suggesting that he make that a condition of all reviews, but that I wished to examine such supporting information as part of my review, was willing to do so in my specific case (and wanted to do so under the circumstances) and asked him to seek approval from his editorial board if that was required.
This episode became an important component of Climategate emails in the first half of 2004. As it turned out (though it was not a point that I thought about at the time), both Phil Jones and Ben Santer were on the editorial board of Climatic Change. Some members of the editorial board (e.g. Pfister) thought that it would be a good idea to require Mann to provide supporting code as well as data. But both Jones and Santer lobbied hard and prevailed on code, but not data. They defeated any requirement that Mann supply source code, but Schneider did adopt a policy requiring authors to supply supporting data.
I therefore re-iterated my request as a reviewer for supporting data – including the residuals that Climategate letters show that Mann had supplied to CRU (described as his “dirty laundry”). The requested supporting data was not supplied by Mann and his coauthors and I accordingly submitted a review to Climatic Change, observing that Mann et al had flouted the new policy on providing supporting data. The submission was not published. I observed on another occasion that Jones and Mann (2004) contained a statement slagging us, based on a check-kiting citation to this rejected article.
During this exchange, I attempted to write thoughtfully to Schneider about processes of due diligence, drawing on my own experience and on Ross’ experience in econometrics. The correspondence was fairly lengthy; Schneider’s responses were chatty and cordial and he seemed fairly engaged, though the Climategate emails of the period perhaps cast a slightly different light on events.
Following the establishment of a data policy at Climatic Change, I requested data from Gordon Jacoby – which led to the “few good men” explanation of non-archiving (see CA in early 2005) and from Lonnie Thompson (leading to the first archiving of any information from Dunde, Guliya and Dasuopu, if only summary 10-year data inconsistent with other versions.) Here Schneider accomplished something that almost no one else has been able to do – get data from Lonnie Thompson, something that, in itself, shows Schneider’s stature in the field.
It was very disappointing to read Schneider’s description of these fairly genial exchanges in his book last year. Schneider stated:
The National Science Foundation has asserted that scientists are not required to present their personal computer codes to peer reviewers and critics, recognizing how much that would inhibit scientific practice.
A serial abuser of legalistic attacks was Stephen McIntyre a statistician who had worked in Canada for a mining company. I had had a similar experience with McIntyre when he demanded that Michael Mann and colleagues publish all their computer codes for peer-reviewed papers previously published in Climatic Change. The journal’s editorial board supported the view that the replication efforts do not extend to personal computer codes with all their undocumented subroutines. It’s an intellectual property issue as well as a major drain on scientists’ productivity, an opinion with which the National Science Foundation concurred, as mentioned.
This was untrue in important particulars and a very unfair account of our 2004 exchange. At the time, Schneider did not express any hint that the exchange was unreasonable. Indeed, the exchange had the positive outcome of Climatic Change adopting data archiving policies for the first time.
As I noted above, at his best, Schneider was engaging and cheerful – qualities that I prefer to remember him by. I was unaware of his personal battles or that he ironically described himself as “The Patient from Hell” – a title that seems an honorable one.
Read more at Climate Audit