Inquiry into climate scientist moves to next phase

University Park, Pa. — An internal inquiry by Penn State into the research and scholarly activities of a well-known climate scientist will move into the investigatory stage, which is the next step in the University's process for reviewing research conduct.

A University committee has concluded its inquiry into allegations of research impropriety that were leveled in November against Professor Michael Mann, after information contained in a collection of stolen e-mails was revealed. More than a thousand e-mails are reported to have been "hacked" from computer servers at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England, one of the main repositories of information about climate change.

During the inquiry, all relevant e-mails pertaining to Mann or his work were reviewed, as well as related journal articles, reports and additional information. The committee followed a well-established University policy during the inquiry (http://guru.psu.edu/policies/ra10.html ).

In looking at four possible allegations of research misconduct, the committee determined that further investigation is warranted for one of those allegations. The recommended investigation will focus on determining if Mann "engaged 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." A full report (http://www.research.psu.edu/orp) concerning the allegations and the findings of the inquiry committee has been submitted.

In the investigatory phase, as in the inquiry phase, the committee will not address the science of global climate change, a matter more appropriately left to the profession. The committee is charged with looking at the ethical behavior of the scientist and determining whether he violated professional standards in the course of his work.

The investigatory committee will consist of five tenured full professor faculty members who will assess the evidence in the case and make a determination on Mann's conduct.

Last Updated July 01, 2010