Why I want Mike Mann’s Emails

By Dr. David Schnare

N.B., Dr. Schnare is the lead attorney in the UVA-Mann email case.

This week Nature Magazine published an editorial suggesting that “access to personal correspondence is a freedom too far” and that Michael Mann, whom they favorably compare to Galileo, should have his emails, written and received while he was a young professor at the University of Virginia, protected from public release on the core basis that to do otherwise would “chill” the work of scientists and academics.  I note Galileo was forced to keep his work private.  Had he the opportunity, he would have published it far and wide.  Mann is quite the opposite.  He wants to keep secrets and let no one know what he did and how he did it.

Nature, unfamiliar with the facts, law and both academic and university policy as applies in this case, conflates too many issues and misunderstands the transparency questions we raise.

The facts of the case include that these emails are more than five years old; that they contain none of the email attachments, no computer code, no data, no draft papers, no draft reports; that the university has already released over 2,000 of them, some academic and some not; that when they were written Mann knew there was no expectation of privacy; that all emails sent or received by a federal addressee are subject to the federal FOIA, and many have already been released; and that nearly 200 of the emails the University refuses to release were released by a whistleblower in England.

That latter group of emails, part of the “Climategate” release, do more than merely suggest Mann engaged in academic improprieties.  They show he was a willing participant in efforts to “discriminate against or harass colleagues” and a failure to “respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own.”  Other emails document Mann’s communications were not “conducted professionally and with civility.”

Thus, emails already available to the public demonstrate that Michael Mann failed to comply with the University of Virginia Code of Ethics and the American Association of University Professors Statement on Professional Ethics.

A question, not mine, but asked by many who are interested in the history of this period, is not whether Mann failed to live up to the professional code expected of him.  It is to what degree he failed to do so and to what lengths the university will go to hide this misbehavior.  If we merely sought to expose Mann’s failure to display full academic professionalism, we would not need these emails.  Those already in the public eye are more than sufficient for any such purposes.

I want those emails for a very different reason.  Our law center seeks to defend good science and proper governmental behavior, and conversely to expose the converse.  Without access to those kinds of emails, and, notably, research records themselves, it is not possible for anyone to adequately credit good behavior and expose bad behavior.  This is one of two reasons we prosecute this case.  It is the core purpose of a freedom of information act.  Because the public paid for this work and owns this university, it has not merely a right to determine whether the faculty are doing their jobs properly; it has a duty to do so.  This is not about peer review; it is about citizens’ acting as the sovereign and taking any appropriate step necessary to ensure those given stewardship over an arm of the Commonwealth are faithfully performing.

The second reason we bring this case is to defend science and the scientific process.  Anyone who has taken a high school science laboratory course knows that the research or experimental process begins with recording what was done and what was observed.  As UVA explains in its Research Policy RES-002, “The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of the utmost importance in the conduct of research.”  Why?  “To enable an investigator to reproduce the steps taken.”

Currently public emails show Mann was unable to provide even his close colleagues data he used in some of his papers and could not remember which data sets he used.  A query to UVA shows the university, who owns “the data and notebooks resulting from sponsored research,” had no copy of Mann’s logbooks and never gave him permission to take them with him when he left UVA.  The university refused to inquire within Mann’s department as to whether anyone there knew whether he even kept a research logbook, so it’s impossible for me to know whether he stole the logbook or just never prepared one in the first place.

The emails ATI seeks are all that appears to be left of a history of what he did and how.  Absent access to those emails, anyone seeking to duplicate his work, using the exact same data and methods, has no way to do so.  That is in direct conflict with both good science and the UVA research policy.

Nor should access to these kind of emails “chill” the academic process.

As a former academic scientist, I understand the need and desire to keep close the research work while it is underway.  Both I and the university have a proprietary interest in that work, while it is ongoing.  Once completed, however, I have a duty to share not only the data and methods with the academic community, I also have a duty to share the mistakes, the blind alleys, the bad guesses and the work and theories abandoned.

Science advances knowledge by demonstrating that a theory is wrong.  All the mistakes, blind alleys and bad guesses are valuable, not just to the scientist himself, but to his colleagues.  By knowing what did not work, one does more than simply save time.  One gains direction.  One mistake revealed often opens a vista of other ideas and opportunities.  The communications between scientists during a period of research are the grist for the next generation of work.  Ask any doctoral candidate or post-doc how important being part of the process is on the direction of their future research.  They will tell you that these unpublished communications are as much an important scientific contribution as the final papers themselves.  Anyone who wishes to hide those thoughtful discussions hides knowledge.

If anything is “chilling” it is the thought that a neo-Galileo is hiding knowledge.

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“so it’s impossible for me to know whether he stole the logbook or just never prepared one in the first place. ”
OUCH !!!
Either way, that’s real bad for Mr. Mann !!

Is Michael Mann honest? You decide.

Luther Wu

Climate collaborators covering for the field marshal…

temp

“I note Galileo was forced to keep his work private. Had he the opportunity, he would have published it far and wide. Mann is quite the opposite. He wants to keep secrets and let no one know what he did and how he did it.”
This is not really the way one should look at it… Galileo and Mann are almost exactly the same position.
Both have presented data that is explosive in nature and would rock the fundamental basics of the popular held religious belief at the time.
Both sets of data must be spun to the religious benefit of said popular religion as not to hurt said religion.
The religion must censor all the real data and prevent its release to the public as free thought could easily see through the “consensus”.
The only real difference is that Galileo didn’t believe in the “consensus” of the time and thus was censored to prevent his theory from gaining hold.
On the other hand Mann believes in the “consensus” of his time and supports the popular religion in its for censorship in order to protect the “consensus” knowing full well his data could well be its undoing.

Schnare,
I would be nice if you would provide links to back up your claims. If you can’t I don’t see how you can be considered anymore trustworthy than the character described in the UVa affidavit.

P.G. Sharrow

All of this is looking more and more like an institutional conspiracy and not just a “lone wolf” fraud. These people are spending way too much effort on something that should be a great to do about little. pg

crosspatch

I am simply amazed at the scale of corruption we see today in both academics and in government. What amazes me even more is a press sitting silent and enabling that corruption. They have the power to stop it, they choose to be a part of it.
Sickening, really.

The “log book” was probably on a university PC hard drive. That hard drive was probably cleaned and the computer replaced with a faster one. I seriously doubt that the university archieves everything on discarded PCs. Anything on their main computer is a different story. What copies of files Mann took with him would be revealing.

Camburn

There should not even be a court fight/legal challenge to this. Prof Mann was working in the public sector, for the public. Under US law, unless a security issue is involved, all corespondence is a matter of public record.
Why he wants to hide his research is beyond me…..unless his research is tainted.
This is the impression he is giving by ignoring the law.

To me, the questions of importance are these:
a) why should any scientist expect that their research should be considered by anyone at anytime when their methods data are not completely transparent?
b) why should anyone who is employed by an organization who benefits from public funding consider themselves above the FOI legislation that public institutions are bound by law to comply with?

R. Shearer

Hasn’t he already been cleared after thorough investigation by Penn State University?

Mark T

Exactly which claims did Dr. Schnare make that would require links to back them up?
What an idiotic statement. I suppose if you actually had a legitimate argument you would have made it. I wonder how aware you are of the obvious transparency…
Mark

ZT

“log book”! Why should Mann keep research records? How arcane to imagine a that written record of research, as might be employed in the backward world of industrial research, would ever apply to such a Penn State superstar. Why on earth should Mann employ normal statistical methods? Academic and democratic freedom dictates that Mann simply radiates the only truth.

Theo Goodwin

crosspatch says:
November 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm
“I am simply amazed at the scale of corruption we see today in both academics and in government. What amazes me even more is a press sitting silent and enabling that corruption. They have the power to stop it, they choose to be a part of it.”
The Left has declared that they hold the moral high ground and that anyone who criticizes them belongs to the Gigantic Redneck Conspiracy that threatens all that is Left and good. I am not kidding. This is the belief that animates the vast majority of professors and administrators who dominate America’s universities and colleges.
Your essay is eloquent, Dr. Schnare. Keep up the good fight.

mpaul

.”…released by a whistleblower in England”

To my knowledge, noone knows the identity or location of the whistleblower.

Kozlowski

Dr. David Schnare,
Thank you on behalf of many around our nation who applaud your efforts and hope you stick to it tenaciously and succeed. You have a great deal of support even if it is not always as vocal as the opposition. The closer you get to the truth the harder they will fight.
For science, for public integrity and for the sake of history, this needs to happen!

jae

GAWD and WOW! I support this statement from the bottom of my scientific heart!!!!! HOW MANY DEMONSTRATIONS WILL IT TAKE TO EXPOSE THE SCIENTIFIC FRAUD PERPETRATED BY THE AGW FREAKS???? I remain gobsmacked that we have a society that is sufficiently dumbed-down scientifically and so very blind as to not put this junk science in the garbage where it belongs!!
Maybe it is a sign that we are very, very, very weak as a society? Sad, indeed.

Camburn says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm
There should not even be a court fight/legal challenge to this. Prof Mann was working in the public sector, for the public. Under US law, unless a security issue is involved, all corespondence is a matter of public record.
Why he wants to hide his research is beyond me…..unless his research is tainted.

I agree – what makes this information so different that it is causing the University to spend money to keep it from being released?

This al makes “Diederik Stapel” looks like a amateur. But at least he has admitted that he was wrong and that he is very sorry for it.
As he said in response to the interim report from Tilburg University: “I did not withstand the pressure to score, to publish, the pressure to get better in time. I wanted too much, too fast. In a system where there are few checks and balances, where people work alone, I took the wrong turn. I want to emphasize that the mistakes that I made were not made were not born out of selfish ends.”
“I failed as a scientist. I adapted research data and fabricated research. Not once, but several times, not for a short period, but over a longer period of time. I realize that I shocked and angered my colleagues, because of my behavior. I put my field, social psychology in a bad light. I am ashamed of it and I deeply regret it. ”
So what is to fear mr. Mann?

Hasn’t he already been cleared after thorough investigation by Penn State University? Yup the same university that thoroughly investigated what goes on in locker rooms. Enuff said?

ggm

I dont know why anyone expects Mann and the Team to cooperate ? The only time frausters and con artists cooperate is when they are facing a conviction, and cooepration provides them a better sentancing deal. Just like all (alleged) criminals, Mann and Co. will only cooperate when that cooperation will save them jail time

Martin

Hi Jae
You might think differently about this issue if you looked behind the curtain…
Dr. David Schnare and the American Tradition Institute…
http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/10/special-investigation-whos-behind-the-information-attacks-on-climate-scientists.html

Jim Barker

Thank you, Dr. David Schnare.

Mooloo

Rattus Norvegicus says:
Schnare,
I would be nice if you would provide links to back up your claims. If you can’t I don’t see how you can be considered anymore trustworthy than the character described in the UVa affidavit.

A nice ad hominen! Subtly administered to ensure that the topic is dragged off on a tangent.
Rattus, Dr (and I note how not calling Dr Mann “Dr” irritates so many of the trolls, but not in reverse) Schnare could be the world’s biggest a**hole, but that is entirely irrelevant to the nature of Dr Mann’s e-mails and the legality of the OIA.
So, don’t drag us off target. You can worry all you like about Dr Schnare’s reliablity, but he isn’t interested in reworking the economy based on his findings, so your worrying is worthless. Worry instead about Dr Mann’s reliability, because the consequences of his actions matter greatly.

“R. Shearer says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Hasn’t he already been cleared after thorough investigation by Penn State University?”
Yes, and that disciplined, moral, trustworthy group IMMEDIATELY went to work on allegations of a “pedophilia” ring at PENN STATE.
As in Mann’s case, they FOUND NOTHING. (But maybe they were looking at the “Wrong Man(n)”.)

At this point I think that being cleared by Penn State is about the same as being found guilty by normal people.

rk

Anyone who has ever worked in a large corporation knows that their e-mails, computer files, etc. are totally subject to discovery in a variety of ways. Corporations have been the favorite target of lawyers for decades and have adapted to that by developing various training courses to teach employees about ethics, EEO, export laws, etc.
I really am tired of the “protected” class being shocked at such hum-drum requests.

Although I embedded the links into the essay, apparently they did not make it through. Here are the links to the Nature article and the policies to which I cited. While I’m at it, I respond to Martin by only saying that I was interviewed for the southernstudies piece and despite my best efforts, they refused to credit our statements, our purpose and the fact that we are not part of any right-wing conspiracy.
I’m just an old country lawyer from Virginia (and North Carolina). /sarc
Nature article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7372/full/479149a.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20111110
UVA Code of Ethics:
http://www.virginia.edu/statementofpurpose/uethics.html
AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics:
http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/contents/statementonprofessionalethics.htm
UVA Research Policy:
https://policy.itc.virginia.edu/policy/policydisplay?id='RES-002

Paul Westhaver

Conspiracy to lie is not an academic privilege requiring protection. Michel Mann is no Galileo….though I’m sure he imagines that the myth of Galileo is a template for his own self-contructed myth.
1) Galileo did not invent the telescope, although he sure made an effort to assume that credential… Hans Lippershay invented it 12-18 months prior.
2) Lippershay also sketched the craters of the moon first. Not Galileo.
3) Galileo did not first describe a Sun-Centered “cosmos”…that was done by Copernicus or ?Samos? in ~300 BC??….A lot of people think it was Galileo. Now we know that the center of the observed universe is an infra red and microwave observing satellite hovering above the earth…..The center of the solar system is not the sun either… it is a point 1/4 of a solar diameter above the surface of the sun.
Maybe the comparison of Mann to Galileo is appropriate….Galileo was either most often wrong, using plagerized and uncredited work or scamming for more money from the Medici’s. Above all Galileo was a self promoter….at all cost.

Our law center seeks to defend good science
With all due respect, this goal is suspect from the outset. How do you know if something is ‘good science’ and how does one qualify to be defended by you? I would like to belong to the group whose science is considered ‘good’ by your law center, what do I do to join?

So Michael Mann wants to keep his “Nature trick” in secret. Funny. Odd that. Who could have imagined he’d do that!

temp

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm
“With all due respect, this goal is suspect from the outset. How do you know if something is ‘good science’ and how does one qualify to be defended by you? I would like to belong to the group whose science is considered ‘good’ by your law center, what do I do to join?”
Pretty easy to tell the difference between good and bad science… good science is done out in the open following the scientific method…. bad science is everything else. This doubly applies when your talking publicly payed for science.

TBear (Sydney, where it has still not warmed, and almost finished the coldest freakin' October in 50 yrs ...)

Martin says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm
Hi Jae
You might think differently about this issue if you looked behind the curtain…
Dr. David Schnare and the American Tradition Institute…
http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/10/special-investigation-whos-behind-the-information-attacks-on-climate-scientists.html
___________________________________
Who cares about the institutional alliance, real or imagined. The argument is what needs to be focussed upon. If 50% of what Schnare claims is correct, there is a serious issue to be unpicked, here.
But again, the Bear must raise this fundamental (to me) question: the scintific community, as a whole, is not stupid. Surely there has been enough said about these issues, and the potential damage to the reputation of science to prompt some sort of general movement, in the scientific community, calling for a proper review of what has been going on?
Where is the uprising? And, please, spare me the conspiracy theories about Mann/Jones/Trenberth manipulating the dabate. If they have been guilty of so doing, they may have fooled some of the scientists for some of the time, but surely not all of the scientists for all of this time?

temp says:
November 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm
Pretty easy to tell the difference between good and bad science… good science is done out in the open following the scientific method….
That may be a necessary condition [but I’m not sure that is always true], but it is certainly not a sufficient condition. So the problem persists.

Wayne Delbeke

R. Shearer says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Hasn’t he already been cleared after thorough investigation by Penn State University?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Like Joe Paterno? University investigations don’t seem to be so thorough.

davidmhoffer

Fred H. Haynie says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm
The “log book” was probably on a university PC hard drive. That hard drive was probably cleaned and the computer replaced with a faster one. I seriously doubt that the university archieves everything on discarded PCs. Anything on their main computer is a different story. What copies of files Mann took with him would be revealing.>>>
Well…..
As a general rule of thumb, research institutions would strongly discourage (if they don’t have an actual overt policy on the matter) the keeping of any important files such as electronic “log books” on a desk top computer. The express reason being that such files are typically not part of the central backup system, meaning that accidental deletion, corruption, and so on, would render the data impossible to retrieve in most cases. Hence, any formal record keeping such as a “log book” would be kept on a network drive that was backed up by the central IT organization, not on a desk top hard drive. If UVa had no such system and/or policy in place….well they are out on a limb and some compliance auditor is going to have a hey day.
By extension, the backup system would not only have copies of the “log books” if they ever existed, but they would also have versions of those log book files as they existed at various points in time. So, if something was written in the log on Week 34, and then in Week 39 someone decided that the entry on Week 34 should not see the light of day, they could delete that section. BUT, the version that existed on Week 34 would STILL be in the backup system, and it could be restored to the exact same state as it was when it was backed up in Week 34. Now again, the university would have a data retention policy that sets out what they back up, and for how long they retain the backup. If they don’t have a data retention policy…. oooh they either have to keep everything forever, or else that compliance auditor is going to have still more fun. Now, if they DO have a data retention policy, the question is what is the policy, and would earlier versions of the document have been deleted at some point.
Bottom line is that if the logs did in fact exist, and were in fact electronic, then you would be gobsmacked at how hard it is to actually delete them from all the places that they existed at all the points in time that they existed. Shredding the hard drive on his desk top PC, provided anything approaching proper data management techniques were in place, wouldn’t even come close to eliminating those files.
Now, given that Mann claimed he couldn’t remember which data files he used for what, or where some of them were and so on, my guess is that he never had a log book of any sort as he could easily have looked that information up. That or he just lied.

John

For those who might be interested: David Schnare just retired from EPA, where he worked for over 30 years. He was once an idealist, as were many of us (maybe we are still idealistic, if cynicism reflects the desire for more honesty, mourning its loss). Ask him for his views on what happened over the years at EPA, and why.

morgo

If there is nothing to hide ? why not release the Emails the longer this goes on the more everybody thinks he is hiding

RockyRoad

Michael Mann never intended to be open and honest about anything–that’s his modus operandi. He’s a crook; he’s been a tool of other crooks (UVa) and my prediction is he’s going down. (OK, further down, he’s already been discredited and everybody but a bunch of CAGW proponents knows it, but they’re so brain dead they don’t know what being “open and honest” is.)
Ok, now let’s see his hacks come to his defense on this site, which will only show how utterly indefensible their complicity is in this case.

Theo Goodwin

Martin says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm
Aha! Another purveyor of the Myth of the Great Redneck Conspiracy. They are under every rug.

RockyRoad

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Our law center seeks to defend good science
With all due respect, this goal is suspect from the outset. How do you know if something is ‘good science’ and how does one qualify to be defended by you? I would like to belong to the group whose science is considered ‘good’ by your law center, what do I do to join?

Leif, you apparently didn’t read all of the post–one of the main objectives stated, because Mann refuses to share data and methodology, is to go back to basics and determine if Mann left or took his log book with him (any 11th-grade science student has one of those or he fails). The alternative to improper scientific method (regarding the log book, that is), is that Mann never kept one or destroyed it to cover his tracks. The first possibility gives credibility to the idea that Mann’s not much of a scientist; the second would indicate he’s a crook.
I suggest you read the post again and this time take off your blinders. If “this goal is suspect from the outset” as you say and yet that goal is to ascertain if the scientific method was followed in this particular case and you object to that, then your personal approach to the scientific method can only be described as Mannly. How sad!

Theo Goodwin

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm
temp says:
November 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm
Pretty easy to tell the difference between good and bad science… good science is done out in the open following the scientific method….
“That may be a necessary condition [but I’m not sure that is always true], but it is certainly not a sufficient condition. So the problem persists.”
Failures in accordance with the scientific method can be just as valuable as successes. You haven’t arrived at a reasonably well confirmed physical hypothesis but you might show that a particular line of inquiry should be abandoned.
“Sufficient condition” allows no exceptions, so is a tad high as a standard.

jorgekafkazar

Leif Svalgaard says: “I would like to belong to the group whose science is considered ‘good’ by your law center, what do I do to join?”
Don’t hide any declines, for starters.

Theo Goodwin

Paul Westhaver says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm
You do not appreciate Galileo’s achievements. Read the book below and you will thank me always.
Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican by Galileo Galilei, Stillman Drake, J. L. Heilbron and Albert Einstein (Oct 2, 2001) (from Amazon.com)

Theo Goodwin

jorgekafkazar says:
November 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Leif Svalgaard says: “I would like to belong to the group whose science is considered ‘good’ by your law center, what do I do to join?”
“Don’t hide any declines, for starters.”
Bwaaa Ha Ha Ha… and double Bwaaa Ha Ha Ha…
Leif, you are totally lacking in guile. No one would ever file an FOIA for your work. 🙂

eyesonu

crosspatch says:
November 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm
I am simply amazed at the scale of corruption we see today in both academics and in government. What amazes me even more is a press sitting silent and enabling that corruption. They have the power to stop it, they choose to be a part of it.
Sickening, really.
——————————-
I agree with you. What is most sickening is with the academics.

Robw

Wow how far can this once proud journal fall under its present leadership. It is very clear the globe is now cooling and the “20-30 year pause” is just more proof. Once the best journal in the world now, second rate propaganda at best with this leadership.

Gail Combs

Fred H. Haynie says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm
The “log book” was probably on a university PC hard drive. That hard drive was probably cleaned and the computer replaced with a faster one…..
____________________________________________
A darn good reason why lab books should be used. Lab books that are signed, dated and counter signed by a second each day.
Yeah, “Old Fashioned” but real good as evidence in a court trial.
I wonder how much science and other history will be lost from the last thirty years because everyone decided to use computers instead of hard copy???

Robert M

Fred H. Haynie says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm
The “log book” was probably on a university PC hard drive. That hard drive was probably cleaned and the computer replaced with a faster one. I seriously doubt that the university archieves everything on discarded PCs. Anything on their main computer is a different story. What copies of files Mann took with him would be revealing.
———————————————————————————————————————–
I suspect that if that was the case the University would have ponied up what little it has and faced the music. No, there is something damning in that information that will never see the light of day. The conspirator’s strategy is to kick the can down the road as long as possible. Deny, deny deny. Then when backed into a corner it will turn out that the info was destroyed “years ago”, and those at fault are no longer available. So sorry…

Keith W.

Martin says:
November 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm
Hi Jae
You might think differently about this issue if you looked behind the curtain…
Dr. David Schnare and the American Tradition Institute…
http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/10/special-investigation-whos-behind-the-information-attacks-on-climate-scientists.html
*****************************************************
Of course, Martin, you should also look at the background of the people whose claims you are using to smear Dr. Scnare.
http://www.southernstudies.org/iss/board.html
Let’s see, on the board of directors – American Postal Workers Union, community organizer at Stanford, AFL-CIO, a gay & lesbian blogger. Advisors – NAACP, ACORN, Sierra Club, Praxis Project, Naomi Klein, Jim Hightower. Surely this is not a partisan group! /sarc