Lack of 'openness'

"On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU (university's climate research unit) scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are  not in doubt," the review concluded.

But the probe into the "climategate" affair found that scientists at the university's climatic research unit had not been sufficiently open about their studies.

"There has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness," the inquiry concluded, pointing out that scientists had failed to meet requests made under Britain's Freedom of Information legislation.

The panel of inquiry, led by Muir Russell, a former British civil servant, is the third major investigation into the theft and dissemination of the emails which were taken from a back-up server at the university.

The communications caused a sensation when they were published online in November.

They captured researchers speaking in scathing terms about their critics, discussing ways to stonewall sceptics of man-made climate change, and talking about how to freeze opponents out of peer-reviewed journals.

The ensuing scandal energised sceptics and has been accused of destabilising the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen last December.

Phil Jones, the CRU's chief, stepped down while Russell, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, was brought in to investigate.