Millennial Temperature Reconstruction Intercomparison and Evaluation

Comments on disclosure of data and software

It has been argued e.g. on Stephen McIntyre's website that all computer code and data used to generate published results should be published. We emphasise that we agree with the viewpoint expressed in the recent report on Surface Temperature reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, published by the National Research Council (NRC) (copies are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001; (800) 624-6242); namely that "all research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory". However, as also pointed out in the NRC report; "access to research data is a complicated, discipline-dependent issue, and ... access to computer models and methods is especially challenging because intellectual property rights must be considered". These conditions explain why open access to raw paleoclimate data, or computer code, has not always been a rule in the past. The NRC report further recognised that some open data archives actually do exist, in particular the International Tree Ring Data Bank and the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology. It will still take time before scientists have adopted a general habit of always publishing data and methods on such open data banks. The following outlook, as phrased in the NRC report, would be a step in that direction if their recommendation is followed up and implemented: "Paleoclimate research would benefit if individual researchers, professional societies, journal editors, and funding agencies continued to improve their efforts to ensure that these existing open access practices are followed".

This page last modified Thursday 02 November, 2006 Copyright 2003-2005 Martin Juckes