Three months before “stepping aside” from his position atop the most prestigious climate change institute in the world earlier this week, Phil Jones made a number of interesting comments. The first was this: “In the UK I am not considered a public servant.”
It was August, months before the explosion of Climategate, and I was drawing to a close the research for my forthcoming book on climate, Don’t Sell Your Coat. Jones was good enough to respond to questions I had then about data sharing, transparency, and United States Department of Energy funding. For, although an English researcher, Jones counted on the United States Department of Energy for substantial sums of money – millions of dollars.
Public servant or no, Jones was evidently bound by the Department of Energy’s data-sharing protocols, which were stringent: “Open sharing of all program data among researchers (and with the interested public) is critical to advancing the program’s mission … a copy of underlying data and a clear description of the method(s) of data analysis must be provided to any requester in a timely way.”