VUW: Records mentioning scientist Patrick Frank

Chris Johnston made this Official Information request to Victoria University of Wellington

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Victoria University of Wellington should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Chris Johnston

Dear Victoria University of Wellington,

Please provide any records (including but not limited to internal/external: documents, emails, notes, minutes, text messages, or social media messages) mentioning scientist Patrick Frank.

For context - so that you can correctly identify the individual - some links relevant to his work are mentioned in the links below.
1) This is the peer reviewed paper (published on 6 September 2019) which finds that the statistical techniques used for forecasting global surface air temperature have not used an appropriate error propagation technique - and are therefore unreliable forecasts for the IPCC or governments to be using for policiy decisions.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10....
or
https://t.co/tdnQhjzDCS?amp=1

2) This is Patrick Frank's blog about his paper when it was published - which was rather scathing and impolite.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/07/p...
or
https://t.co/VxX54HJh7f?amp=1

Yours faithfully,

Chris Johnston

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From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington

Kia ora

 

Official information request for information mentioning scientist Patrick
Frank

 

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your official information request
dated 2 October 2019.

 

We received your request on 2 October. We will endeavour to respond to
your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 31
October, being 20 working days after the day your request was received. If
we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an
extension of that timeframe.

 

If any additional factors come to light which are relevant to your
request, please do not hesitate to contact me so that these can be taken
into account.

 

Ngâ mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access and Copyright – Legal Services

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Whare Wânanga o te Ûpoko o te Ika a
Mâui

 

Phone: 04 463 5249

Room 213, Hunter Building

Gate 2 Kelburn Parade PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

 

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington


Attachment Final response Chris Johnston.pdf
192K Download View as HTML


Please find the attached response to your request for information.

 

Ngâ mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access and Copyright – Legal Services

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Whare Wânanga o te Ûpoko o te Ika a
Mâui

 

Phone: 04 463 5249

Room 213, Hunter Building

Gate 2 Kelburn Parade PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

 

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

 

Link to this

From: Chris Johnston

Dear OIA Requests,

Thank you for the reply.

I respond to each of the points in turn:

LACK OF CONSULTATION

Your response states that you have failed to consult with me about what an acceptable response to this OIA might look like. This is a step that needs to be undertaken because there is likely to be way through.

A MINIMUM WAY THROUGH

At a bare minimum - quantitative counts on emails only are a possibility - based on keywords. This avoids all VUWs other concerns - Effort, Time frame for Response, S9(2)(g)(i) and the Education Act,

PREPARATION FOR AN AGREED QUANTITATIVE APPROACH

I need a count from the email system (which VUW have shown that they can search) a completed table with the following counts:
a) 3 Column Headers - each with the names of the authors mentioned in this OIA as follows:
- Dr Frank, Patrick Frank, Pat Frank
b) 11 Row headers - please search and count in the email system for the following combinations of keywords in addition to the author's name. So for example where "Climate" is the keyword then the search would be for: Climate + "Dr Frank". The keyword list that would initially be useful is:
- Stanford, Climate, Global Warming, CO2, IPCC, Greenhouse, Zero Carbon, Propagation, "Global Air Temperature", Frontiers, SLAC

The purpose of this approach is:
A) So that we can establish whether the University is likely to hold active records (emails) on these scientists (a piece of information in itself which is useful). If there was no other action on this OIA then this would have utility to me.
B) It may inform in a subsequent phase of this OIA whether volumes are low enough in a particular area to progress where any issues below are worked through.

ISSUES WITH THE LOGIC OF VUW's RESPONSE

Not withstanding the above quantitative approach, there are items to resolve in the logic used by VUW in responding to this OIA.

S9(2)(a) INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY

I note that all other government entities responding to identically worded OIAs have been able to do this by annotating redactions in the relevant documents provided.

S9(2)(g)(i) FREE AND FRANK EXPRESSION OF OPINION IN COURSE OF DUTY + EDUCATION ACT and SPECIAL ROLE OF UNIVERSITY AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM

This appears to be an argument that anything other than administrative records within a University are not subject to the OIA. This is worth testing via the Ombudsman.

I note that where personal identification is redacted S9(2)(a) and other sensitivities are catered for (like Intellectual Property and commercially sensitive information) any concerns for academic freedom at the individual and organisational level seem to decrease significantly. The argument VUW seems to put is that "we can only debate freely amongst ourselves if it remains secret" ... which is what I am sure a lot of government departments would also argue, but this is not the intent of the OIA law that Parliament passed.

Can VUW please point to other OIAs where the same chain of logic has been used to decline OIA requests? It would help decrease the Ombudsman's workload if we can be clear as early as possible whether this has been a successful interpretation in the past and if it has gone to their office beforehand.

On this topic of the cause of Global Warming and the reliability of the IPCC's work, Parliament is in the process of passing legislation that would significantly affect the economy, and the evidence and background information on which that is based should be available for debate as it is of high public interest.

OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT and OIA

I will submit a separate OIA to further understand how VUW complies with the Public Records Act and Official Information Act. All other government agencies have been able to answer these identical requests to date - so at first glance it seems to me that VUW may be in breach of its legal obligations to the Crown and the public.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Johnston

Link to this

From: Chris Johnston

Dear OIA Requests,

Please confirm that my latest communication on this OIA has been received and is being actioned.

An expected time frame for a response would also be appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Johnston

Link to this

From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington

Kia ora Chris

 

The University has received your email, and will conduct the requested
searches. Due to the size of our systems, and the amount of searches
requested, this will take some time.

The University is not treating this as an OIA request, rather a follow up
question from your previous request. We are aiming to provide answers to
your questions by the 12^th of November. This is based on the availability
of our ITS staff completing the searches. If this timeframe changes, I
will let you know.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Ngā mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access and Copyright – Legal Services

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a
Māui

 

Phone: 04 463 5249

Room 213, Hunter Building

Gate 2 Kelburn Parade PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

 

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris Johnston

Dear OIA Requests,

Thanks for your reply.

From my point of view I am assisting VUW to comply with the law in answering the original OIA.

Could you also please respond to my responses to the VUW logic. If VUW have not changed their mind this will determine whether we head to the Ombudsman.

If there is no response by the close of business on Thursday 7 November then I will assume that you are not reconsidering. If you want to buy time to reconsider then please provide a date.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Johnston

Link to this

From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington

Kia ora Chris

 

Further to the below, the University is currently working to establish the
extent of documentation that will be captured by your requested searches.
With regard to your request for further information regarding the
University’s response to your original request, the University’s position
is currently being considered.

 

We will be in touch regarding both matters in due course.

 

Ngā mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access and Copyright – Legal Services

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a
Māui

 

Phone: 04 463 5249

Room 213, Hunter Building

Gate 2 Kelburn Parade PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

 

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris Johnston

Dear OIA Requests,

Thank you for your note describing that VUW is working towards a response..

Could you please provide a date?

Yours sincerely,

Chris Johnston

Link to this

From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington


Attachment image001.jpg
7K Download

Attachment Extension letter Chris Johnston.pdf
274K Download View as HTML


Please find the attached extension letter related to your request for
information.

 

Ngā mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access & Copyright

Legal Services

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

 

+-------------------+
|Phone +64 4 463 |
|5249 |
|-------------------|
|[1]www.wgtn.ac.nz ||
|0800 04 04 04 |
|-------------------|
+-------------------+

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/

Link to this

From: OIA Requests
Victoria University of Wellington


Attachment image001.jpg
7K Download

Attachment Final response Chris Johnston.pdf
277K Download View as HTML


Please find the attached response to your request for information.

 

Ngā mihi nui

 

Georgia Tawharu

Adviser, Information Access & Copyright

Legal Services

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

 

+-------------------+
|Phone +64 4 463 |
|5249 |
|-------------------|
|[1]www.wgtn.ac.nz ||
|0800 04 04 04 |
|-------------------|
+-------------------+

This message and any attachments may contain confidential information. If
you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately
and destroy any copies of this e-mail.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/

Link to this

From: Chris Johnston

Dear OIA Requests,

Thanks for your estimate of the effort required to meet the record count triage request that helps VUW and myself:
1) Understand whether the counts are sufficient in their own right to answer my question (e.g. a zero count might), and/or
2) Whether the original OIA request can be answered because the number of documents involved is low – and therefore any effort to redact etc is low.

I will regard this letter as consultation on how to best meet the need for the information. This will enable you to respond in a more immediate way than waiting for the full allocated time, then extending the time, then providing a cost instead of an answer. I note that VUW has not followed its own process with respect to this OIA request as documented in “OIA process document.pdf”. For clarity I have included details of this process from the following OIA https://fyi.org.nz/request/11558-vuw-evi... below:

"Extensions:
• Should be given rather than declining for substantial collation or research under s18(f).
• Only extend for the amount of time needed.
Charging:
• Should be given rather than declining for substantial collation or research under section 18(f).
• There are strict requirements set out in the Ombudsman’s Charging Guidelines.
• Send the letter to the requester within the timeframe giving them time to pay to within the timeframe"

An extension was requested (presumably to complete the “substantial collation or research” rather than decline the request (as in the guideline quoted above). However, the VUW letter of 3 Dec 2019 is written in the future tenths – so I conclude that the research has not yet been undertaken.

I note that the procedure for charging is to send the letter to the requester “within the timeframe giving them time to pay within the timeframe”. Note that “within the timeframe” is mentioned twice. Communication sent on 3 December 2019 for a (extended) 5 December 2019 deadline with a promise of the results within 20 working days from the date of payment is not very compliant or proactive.

A selection of some key dates so far is also worth being explicit about:
• 2 October 2019 – Original request by myself
• 25 October 2019 – VUW refuse under 18(f) without consultation as required under 18B
• 30 October 2019 – An initial way of triaging by counting documents is suggested (so that i) the size can be estimated and ii) issue be taken with VUW’s logic of “too much effort”)
• 27 November 2019 – An extension letter sent by VUW
• 3 December 2019 – VUW concludes after 5 weeks (including an extension) that it takes 20 minutes per search to count documents in SharePoint/O365.
In order to provide some credibility to the 20-minute estimate VUW needs to provide a description of the process/steps followed to undertake their search. For example, is this human effort or computer run time, and can any “computer run time” be run in parallel?
CONSULTATION 1) Describe the process/steps followed to undertake the requested search to estimate the number of documents for a single cell in the grid that justifies “20 minutes per search” [Effort]
CONSULTATION 2) Describe the total amount of time in total that is reasonable to respond to an OIA that would not attract a charge from VUW. [Time Budget].
PROPOSAL 1) Where we can agree [Effort] we will calculate [Time Budget] by [Effort] and arrive at a “number of cells to be searched” for triage purposes. My proposal is 3 hours total, which even at 20 mins per search this would provide us with 9 searches per OIA (3 hours/20 mins). I would select the combinations to search and redefine the grid.

ORIGNAL OIA of 2 OCTOBER 2019
VUW has also not responded to the questions posed in my communication of the 5 November 2019 about the logic used in declining the request. On 13 November 2019 VUW said that it was [re]considering its position. [My annotation].
CONSULTATION 3) Has VUW changed its mind on how the original OIA of 2 October 2019 will be treated?

THE PATH FROM HERE
When taken in the whole, it seems that:
• Both of the following OIAs with VUW are affected – both significantly overdue:
o https://fyi.org.nz/request/11357-vuw-rec...
o https://fyi.org.nz/request/11356-vuw-rec...
• It would be simpler and cheaper to revisit the original OIAs in their original form now that there is greater clarity on VUW’s self-acknowledged obligations and the awareness of its staff.
o All academic staff in VUW are clearly briefed that the information they create is subject to the OIA
o The argument of “free and frank” expression has thus fallen away.
o See IRM Booklet.pdf in https://fyi.org.nz/request/11558-vuw-evi... and my summary letter in that OIA trail at the link of 9 December 2019
• I need answers to CONSULTATION 1, 2 and 3 above.
• In the meantime, and without prejudice to continuing this process directly with VUW, I will be forwarding this OIA and the other associated ones to the Ombudsman for their input and guidance.

I note that the following OIA with VUW is also underway and may encounter similar debates, issues and delays:
o https://fyi.org.nz/request/11355-vuw-rec...

Yours sincerely,

Chris Johnston

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Victoria University of Wellington only: