The Penn State panel investigated four allegations against Mann, summarised as follows:
1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?
2. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?
3. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?
4. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?
It then goes on to explain the process they followed and Mann’s cooperation and participation. By all accounts he cooperated fully with the inquiry. In sum they find no credible evidence to support the first three allegations. But they have an open finding on the fourth allegation.
The allegation inquires about whether Dr. Mann seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities. In 2006, similar questions were asked about Dr. Mann and these questions motivated the National Academy of Sciences to undertake an in depth investigation of his research. The committee that wrote the report on surface temperature reconstructions found that Dr. Mann’s science did fall well within the bounds of accepted practice. What has changed since that time is that private emails have come to our attention and that of the public at large, and these give us a glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of Dr. Mann and many of his colleagues in the conduct of their science.
The Penn State panel seem to have some reservations in this area (emphasis original).
In sum, the overriding sentiment of this committee, which is composed of University administrators, is that allegation #4 revolves around the question of accepted faculty conduct surrounding scientific discourse and thus merits a review by a committee of faculty scientists. Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged it responsibility on this matter.
So there will be an additional inquiry into that matter. So he is not yet entirely off the hook, but Mann is confident.
“This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong,” Mann told New Scientist. “I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts.”
I have seen some commentary that suggests that a bunch of tenured profs have just vindicated another tenured prof. That sort of commentary doesn’t take us very far. Within the university a series of allegations have been made and within the processes available to Penn State they have been investigated. That doesn’t mean that Mann is now ‘innocent’ but it does mean that he is not guilty of the misconduct allegations made against him (well 3 of them anyway) under the university rules.