"The parliamentary science and technology select committee was scathing about the 'standard practice' among the climate science community of not routinely releasing all its raw data and computer codes – something the committee's chair, Phil Willis MP, described as 'reprehensible'. He added: 'That practice needs to change and it needs to change quickly.'"Let me introduce you to the NERC policy on Intellectual Property. Short version: "Who owns the intellectual property? We do." The UK Ministry of Defence (who run UK Met Office and therefore the Hadley Centre) is orders of magnitude worse in its defensive and bean-counting approach to the supply of, well, just about anything that they have and anyone else wants. The bottom line is (or certainly was, when I worked there) that NERC employees are under pressure to sell anything that can be sold. And if someone asks for something, that means it must surely be worth something, right? Of course this is an attitude that the scientists - who know that they can't really get any significant price for their work - have always implacably opposed, but we don't really count for much when the politicians are demanding budget cuts and percentage returns on investment.
[In fact when I was a NERC employee, they once tried to modify our contracts in order to claim IP rights over everything we ever did, even if entirely unrelated to our jobs, such as taking beautiful photographs as a hobby or composing pop songs in the bath. Many of us refused point-blank to sign up to such absurd terms, there was enough opposition that even the union was persuaded to oppose it, and the idea was eventually dropped.]
Occasionally, it works ok: a previous employer sells this software to mariners all over the place, and I believe that the commercial department actually brings in more money than it costs to employ them (at least that was the situation back then). The vast majority of our work has no meaningful commercial value, however, but the effort of demonstrating this may not always be trivial.
I don't defend any unnecessary secrecy: I was disappointed when a prominent climate scientist refused to allow me to have his widely-used code (a Windows executable was available, but that was no use to me) so I used another model and the developers have gained a handful of highly cited publications as a result. I am also one of the founding executive editors of Geoscientific Model Development, "an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of the description, development and evaluation of numerical models of the Earth System and its components. " We explicitly encourage and support the archiving of code to support the paper.
Returning to the politicians:
""It is important in terms of scientific endeavour that that material is made available," said Willis. He added that the committee accepted that Jones had released all the data that he was able to."
Well, quite. There's no point in MPs pointing fingers when they are the ones setting the policies that make it impossible (or at least difficult and deprecated as a general principle). Is it possible they don't even realise this?