The British university caught in the center of what climate skeptics are calling ClimateGate, said on Thursday it's called an outside reviewer to lead the investigation.

Ex-civil servant Sir Muir Russell will head the probe into the hacked e-mails and documents from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in the UK last month.

Given the nature of the allegations it is right that someone who has no links to either the university or the climate science community looks at the evidence and makes recommendations based on what they find, Sir Russell said in a statement.

My first task is to scope the project, gather the information I need and source the additional expertise that will be required in order to investigate fully the allegations that have been made.

Over 1,000 emails and 3,000 documents were stolen from the CRU at and were then leaked online. Skeptics have begun interpreting the emails as proof that scientist have conspired to make the public believe that global warming is man-made.

Professor Phil Jones, the director of the unit, stepped down Tuesday in a move to ensure an independent review, the university said. Emails that Professor Jones had sent in 1999, which were also hacked into, show that he uses the word trick and talks about hiding the decline of climate change.

In his defense, Professor Jones said the e-mail was genuine but taken completely out of context.

The review will concentrate on the manipulation or suppression of data at odds with acceptable scientific practice. The review will:

  •  Examine e-mail exchanges to determine whether there is evidence of suppression or manipulation of data at odds with acceptable scientific practice which 'may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes'.
  •  Review the CRU's policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and 'their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice'.
  •  Review the CRU's compliance or otherwise with the UEA's policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations for the release of data.
  •  Review and make recommendations about the management, governance and security structures for the CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds.

The university has asked that the review be completed by Spring 2010.

Next week Monday, world leaders will attend a climate summit in Copenhagen to discuss policies that will curb greenhouse-gas emissions and slow global warming.

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