The Law on What Documents Scientists Must Keep and Disclose

Recently, several climate scientists have received demands to produce their raw data, working notes, e-mails, letters, or other communications. These demands may come in the form of subpoenas, U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, or requests during litigation. Below are some general guidelines for scientists about complying with their document retention and disclosure obligations, both as a matter of routine practice and in the event of legal action. This article concerns only U.S. laws and is not legal advice, which should be sought from the scientist’s lawyers or those of his or her employer.


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