Ed Wegman Promised Data to Rep. Henry Waxman Six Years Ago - Where Is It?

Shell game for Wegman Report's code

George Mason University’s Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said are back in the news, having just silently disappeared as Editors of a Wiley journal in which they had authored two plagiarized articles.

But now, FOIA information shows that Wegman first misled Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and then never released code and data he promised.  During Summer 2006, David Ritson tried to get climatology statistics code from Wegman, to no avail, so he appealed to Waxman, who contacted Wegman.  Waxman forwarded the reply to Ritson, who wrote at CA (or at Deep Climate for more discussion):

'The key paragraph in Wegman’s reply was

'… Material based on our report is being prepared for peer review journals(1) at present. It is not clear to me that before the journal peer review process is complete that we have an academic obligation to disclose the details of our methods. Nonetheless, I assure you that as soon as we are functional again, I will create a website(2) that fully discloses all supporting material related to our report to the extent possible. (Some of the code we used was developed by former and current students working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia and may not be disclosed without approval through the Navy’s public release process.)“(3)'

Almost everything there was false or at best misleading/wrong.

(1) The only real “peer-reviewed” paper discussed social networks, not climate statistics. It was retracted for plagiarism in May 2011, criticized by experts (p.7, Carley, Robins, etc) and even George Mason University agreed to that retraction, in February 2012.

(2) No such website has appeared, much less the requested code and data.

(3) A recent FOIA request got a prompt reply from the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC).

'Please find enclosed a releasable copy of the following:
1 . Social Network Code- this includes the thesis presentation and the thesis.

2. Climatology Code- Simulated data was run through someone else's code on their personal time, thus it is not considered a Government record; therefore it does not fall under FOIA.

3. Documentation of requests by Wegman, Rigsby or anyone else to release the code - records do not exist

4. Records of NSWC time/money/resources spent by Rigsby (or other NSWC employees) on work on the Wegman Report - records do not exist.'

John T. Rigsby III was working on a PhD, after completing his MS under Wegman Spring 2005.  The Wegman Report's social network code was similar to that in his MS thesis, which included some properly attributed code written at NSWC by past Wegman student, David Marchette. Marchette's code (graph.R, attached) was labeled:”It may be freely used and modified.”

The Wegman Report thanked Rigsby for help, giving his NSWC affiliation, although no work was done for NSWC or on NSWC time.  A GMU affiliation would have been clearer, but might have aroused skepticism, since the WR was supposed to be done by experts, not mostly by a recent GMU PhD (Said) and GMU grad students.

In 2006, the social networks code was already releasable, but people really wanted the climate statistics code underlying a major argument in the Wegman Report.  No such work was done at NSWC, so Wegman's claim seems a shell game to hide the code.  NSWC had no records of requests to release anything.

Deep Climate did find why Wegman may indeed have wanted the code hidden forever, showing evidence that this was essentially Steve McIntyre's code, with unrealistic statistical parameters and a 1:00 cherry-pick to select positive hockey-sticks.  So the Wegman Report was neither competent statistical work nor independent replication.

The Wegman Report was quite critical of Michael Mann's code, see Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report p.160, Wegman Report p.49

'”4. In response to the letter from Chairman Barton and Chairman Whitfield, Dr. Mann did release several websites with extensive materials, including data and code. The material is not organized or documented in such a way that makes it practical for an outsider to replicate the MBH98/99 results. For example, the directory and file structure Dr. Mann used are embedded in the code. It would take extensive restructuring of the code to make it compatible with a local machine. Moreover, the cryptic nature of some of the MBH98/99 narratives means that outsiders would have to make guesses at the precise nature of the procedures being used.”'

And then SSWR p.164, WR p.51 continues:

'”Conclusion 2. Sharing of research materials, data, and results is haphazard and often grudgingly done. We were especially struck by Dr. Mann‘s insistence that the code he developed was his intellectual property and that he could legally hold it personally without disclosing it to peers. When code and data are not shared and methodology is not fully disclosed, peers do not have the ability to replicate the work and thus independent verification is impossible.“'

Where is the code promised to Waxman almost 6 years ago?  Dr. Mann's code was written for a research paper in 1999. Wegman's was used for a high-profile Congressional report widely publicized by Reps. Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield, announced in the Wall Street Journal.  

Surely such prominent code and data had not been lost in the immediately-following months?  Given Wegman's criticism of Mann, surely it was well-documented?

Who has it?  Ed Wegman? Yasmin Said? John Rigsby III? Someone else? Who actually ran this code?  If nowhere else, please send the code to DeSmogBlog, who I am sure will be pleased to post it publicly.

Image credit: Levent Konuk / Shutterstock

PDF icon FOIA.TO_.NSWC_.pdf189.16 KB
PDF icon LTR 2012F050017.pdf68.3 KB
Plain text icon comem.R.txt27.81 KB
Plain text icon graph.R.txt272.76 KB


John, hi,

As you are probably aware, Deep Climate's analysis of the data and statistics used in the Wegman report show that it was all McIntyre's work:


And in there Deep links to where McIntyre left his R code and Mann's 1400 - 1980 time series data that was used to generate the 10,000 red noise simulations:


It's still there! So since Wegman never did any of his own coding, and just re-ran McI's code… in effect that *is* Wegman's code and data.

Thanks, yes, but without Wegman's version of this, it is hard to prove that they made no changes, hence the wish to get the code as he promised.  Also, recall the amount of fuss that Wegman and co made abotu good archiving.