The University of Virginia (UVA) released some of the documents—data, emails, and other files—pertaining to climate researcher Michael Mann on Wednesday (Aug 24th), to a lobbying group that sued for access, according to ScienceInsider.
But the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a conservative environmental lobby group, is still not satisfied, saying that UVA only released about a third of the documents requested—providing only those they were required to hand over under Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws.
Mann, who was faculty at UVA from 1999 to 2005, was at the center of the "Climategate" controversy, which became international news when hackers copied and published several emails from a server belonging to the University of East Anglia in 2009. Climate change deniers pounced on those messages—some of which mentioned Mann's research or were penned by Mann, now at Penn State University—citing them as evidence of a scientific conspiracy to overemphasize human's input into global warming. Last month, a Penn State investigative panel cleared Mann of any wrongdoing in the case.
ATI had also requested and been granted access to documents that were likely to be exempt from the FOIA request under state law. Although ATI would be under a gag order restricting their ability to publicly release the exempt documents, four advocacy groups wrote an open letter to the university's president requesting that the documents be reviewed not by ATI's lawyers, but by a judge, as they stated was common practice in Virginia.
Last week, the National Science Foundation closed its investigation into Mann's alleged data manipulation and put out a memorandum exonerating him of any research misconduct, stating "There is no specific evidence that the Subject falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct," reported The Chronicle of Higher Education.