From: D.J. Keenan
To: Clare Jamison
Cc: Keith Bennett; Suzanne Lambe
Sent: 29 April 2010 11:43
Subject: Re: ICO Decision Notice
Dear Ms. Jamison,
The data that has now been placed online specifies the widths of tree rings. The information that I requested did indeed include that data. My requests, though, were also for "ancillary information, such as the years in which the rings grew, species of the trees, descriptions of the locations of where the trees were found, etc." and a "list of years in which the tree rings grew (if known)" and a "description of precise location of where the tree was found". Moreover, one of my requests was as follows.

I request the data about tree rings that has been obtained by the university's Palaeoecology Centre (or its predecessors) and that is held in electronic form by the university. This data might include the widths of the tree rings, the years in which the rings grew (if known), species of the tree, a description of the location of where the tree was found, etc.

The ICO Decision Notice specified releasing "electronic data on ... individual tree samples". That implies all electronic data relating to individual trees. I therefore expected QUB to release more information, as per above. What is QUB's position on this?
Additionally, the data that is now online populates about 9000 files. Yet QUB advised the ICO that it holds electronic data on about 11000 individual tree samples. Hence there seems to be a discrepancy: what is the reason for this?
QUB appears to be trying to play games. As you might be aware, The Times interviewed the chairman of parliament's Science and Technology Committee on the QUB data; the chairman stated that "data has to be made publicly available" and that "Any university or scientist that hasn't got that message needs a total rethink of the way they do research". Several other media outlets, both in the UK and abroad, have also reported on the story. Most prominent was the Wall Street Journal, which ran an editorial entitled "Free the data, save the science", strongly supporting release of the QUB data.
QUB's actions thus seem to be harming both its own reputation and that of climate science. Games would likely cause further harm. And the data will still ultimately have to be released.
Douglas J. Keenan