The following is a reply from Dr. David Schnare to the Nature Editorial Academic freedom
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.
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