Penn State report on Mann: new investigation to convene

Watts Up With That
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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)


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