June 26, 2004          


Dr. Arden Bementt,

Acting Director, National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA


Dear Sir,


It is my understanding that the National Science Foundation policy require compliance by its divisions and grantees with data archiving obligations set out in the July 1991 U.S. Global Change Research Program  (USGRCP) Policy Statement, DMWG Policy on Data from Federal Grants (1997) and USGCRP DIWG Data Guidelines (6/5/02). I presume that the National Science Foundation has its own policies, additional to the above.


I am writing to express my concerns over apparent failures of your Paleoclimate Program to enforce compliance by its grantees with archiving obligations. I have noticed the following significant non-compliance by NSF grantees:  

  • Lonnie Thompson has failed to archive any ice core data from Dunde, Dasuopu or Guliya ice cores or the most recent Quelccaya data;

  • Gordon Jacoby has made incomplete archive contributions of data from northern North America, Mongolia and Taimyr;

  • Thomas Crowley has failed to archive datasets used in the multiproxy calculation of Crowley and Lowery (Ambio 2000);

  • Malcolm Hughes has failed to archive data from Yakutia and elsewhere;

  • Michael Mann has failed to archive or otherwise provide the results of his multiproxy “experiments” and has refused to provide the source code from his multiproxy study for analysis and reconciliation.

I have made specific requests to each of these NSF grantees for information and have either been refused or my requests have not been acknowledged.


Further, in one case, I copied an officer of the Paleoclimate Program in a request to Michael Mann for residuals from his “experiments”. Prior to any actual refusal by Dr. Mann, the officer intervened to tell Dr. Mann that he did not have to disclose his residuals.


I also asked the Paleoclimate Program for assistance in obtaining source code from Dr. Mann. He adopted the position that such code was his personal property and that Dr. Mann had no obligation to disclose the source code, despite being funded by NSF.


Obviously, there is considerable policy interest in climate change and much of the debate is fuelled by contributions of the above authors, all of whom are cited by IPCC. One would expect that these authors would have an exemplary record of making their data and results publicly available. It is disquieting both that they have not done so and that the Paleoclimate Program of NSF has failed to ensure that they carried out these responsibilities as NSF grantees.


Thank you for your consideration.  I have taken the liberty of copying this letter to Aloysius Hogan of Senator Inhofe's office, who I anticipate will endorse this inquiry if my being Canadian would otherwise affect proper consideration of this matter by NSF.


At the same time, I wish to commend NSF for its many excellent programs, including its role in initiating and supporting the excellent data archive at the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology.


Yours truly,


Stephen McIntyre

Toronto, Canada