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Director of East Anglia climate unit steps aside

Alex Witze; cross-posted from The Great Beyond

Phil Jones, the embattled director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, stepped aside today from his post. It is the highest-profile fallout yet from the flap over leaked e-mails among prominent climate researchers, including Jones.

The university’s statement quotes Jones as saying: “What is most important is that CRU continues its world-leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the director’s role” while the university conducts an independent review of data security and its responses to Freedom of Information requests.

Peter Liss will become acting director for the CRU


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    Ron Cram said:

    It is nice to see Nature is reporting the release of the emails and documents as a “leak” rather than a “hack.”

    Having Jones step aside is a welcome event. Peter Liss seems to be a good choice during the investigation. I would have despaired for honesty and justice if one of the cabal had replaced Jones.

    Is Nature also going to have an internal investigation to determine why its editors allowed CRU scientists to hold undue influence and prevent the publication of papers by McIntyre, Spencer, and others?

    It is about time Nature came clean also.

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    Anthony Gebhard said:

    I think both Nature and Science are covering the story nicely. Also, a journal as prestigious as Nature does not publish pseudoscientists such as Steve McIntyre et al.

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    Robin Grant said:

    Being the most discriminating is the privilege of the most esteemed scholarly journals.

    Nature publishes about 7% of submitted papers.

    While it is tempting to publish controversial papers, because these will tend to elevate a journal’s impact factor by creating a horde of refutations, it is in the long term good for the prestige in which a journal is held to maintain an especially high standard of proof for especially extraordinary claims.

    I commend Nature’s review process, and I think it entirely appropriate that the temptation to publish a controversial opinion such as Spencer’s was overcome.

    As for McIntyre, it would be very unusual for any work by someone with only an undergraduate degree to be published in Nature. I find the conclusion by Mr Cram that this is due to “undue influence” by “CRU scientists” very tenuous.

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