The Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pa. does not trust Pennsylvania State University to investigate Climategate hockey sticker Michael Mann, because of the millions of dollars that his research brings to the university. The foundation today released a 12-page policy brief which addresses Mann’s Climategate emails, the significance of his role, and why the university has a conflict of interest in investigating him. Commonwealth held a press conference today at the state capitol about their report:
The hockey stick controversy and Climategate emails reveal that Michael Mann may have committed significant and intentional scientific misconduct, including improper data manipulation, inappropriately shielding research methods and results from others, and engaging in a number of forms of retaliation against those who publicly challenge his research results.
Were scientific misconduct a criminal matter, the aforementioned facts might be said to constitute “probable cause” for a search warrant. Analogously, these facts provide probable cause for an investigation into Mann’s conduct at PSU.
Although PSU has announced that it will investigate Climategate, given Mann’s financial and reputational value to the university, and the likely embarrassment resulting from an adverse finding concerning his conduct, there is good reason to believe that a PSU-managed investigation might amount to little more than a whitewash.
Commonwealth Foundation goes on to recommend that the state General Assembly commission an external, independent investigation. Pennsylvania State Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola has already promised Penn State that if its investigation is a whitewash, he will do one that isn’t.