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Take the Lead on Scientific Integrity

As I am sure you are aware, the University of East Anglia’s computer system was hacked and many e-mails by prominent weather researchers have been published. Some of these are extremely disturbing. They appear to document collusion among leaders in the field to alter and then withhold raw data and to stonewall Freedom of Information requests regarding analytical methods. Anecdotal reports of moving weather stations to lower altitudes in California and Japan are also emerging. Most disturbing, these e-mails appear to document a concerted effort to undermine the peer review process.

If this is true, the entire scientific community should be alarmed or at least concerned. Peer review is fundamental to scientific progress. If it is successfully taken down in one branch of science, all peer review is in danger.

As an MIT alum, I have searched mit.edu for a discussion of these recent reports and have found nothing. As you may have heard, MIT provides leadership to the world’s various scientific and technological research communities across the spectrum. Fortunately, nothing that has emerged implicates anyone at MIT. We should be leading this discussion, not ignoring it. This is not just about weather, but the integrity of all of science.

George Howard Brown ’72