"Over the subsequent three years, the university has claimed that it did not have to supply the data because it would be too time-consuming; because the data does not amount to environmental information; because the research is unfinished; because the data is private property, commercially confidential and of "negligible" public interest – and because Keenan would not understand them.
But Smith says the university, one of the world's leading centres for tree-ring research, is wrong on each count."
If the collection of data was paid for, we can lose the trudging over bogs and fields rubbish. For that they were paid and not under an exclusive arrangement AFAIK.
""a direct, and unpleasant, off-shoot of the information revolution. It now appears that research data can be demanded, and indeed obtained, by anyone.""
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/20/climate-sceptic-wins-data-victory (view on Google Sidewiki)