I admire Mr. McIntyre's persistence. He tells his experiences with data access at this link: Climate Audit Entry on Neukom and Steig
Ever since I stumbled upon his blog many years ago, I liked the idea of someone outside the climate science field "auditing" the statistical methods. I have a weak background in statistics and enjoyed his entries, especially since he posted his code and data for me to try out and learn.
When I worked with NASA's ERBE data as a graduate student, the NASA rule was that the active developers of the project had one year of data analysis before releasing the data into the public domain. This gave them a chance to publish a few papers before everyone else. It always seemed pretty fair to me, as they had done a lot of work and their papers would provide a good knowledge base upon which other scientists could perform their own research.
The proxy and instrument data have been treated differently, it seems. Steve McIntyre has been trying to reproduce Mann's hockey stick plot, which showed temperatures increasing at an alarming rate in the 20th century. Although the name of his blog, "Audit" implies an impartial testing of the results, he was treated the same as a lot of other people whose goal was to discredit Mann's analysis. I feel that he was treated wrongly.
Steve McIntyre is not considered a professional scientist because he is not an employee of an Institute or University. Therefore, somehow he is not qualified to have access to this data. Since I am an unemployed scientist, I am also affected by this attitude. I hope to write more about this.