OSF Preprints | Readworthy open-access journals for environmental studies

Abstract:  Accomplishing the sustainable development goal is challenging and requires the joint effort of the whole community, especially when humans are approaching the climate tipping point [1]. To contribute to promoting sustainable development, the AISDL Team has aggregated reliable and open-access scientific journals about environmental issues here as sources of knowledge for any interested researchers.

IBM and NASA teamed up to build the GPT of Earth sciences | Engadget

“NASA estimates that its Earth science missions will generate around a quarter million terabytes of data in 2024 alone. In order for climate scientists and the research community efficiently dig through these reams of raw satellite data, IBM, HuggingFace and NASA have collaborated to build an open-source geospatial foundation model that will serve as the basis for a new class of climate and Earth science AIs that can track deforestation, predict crop yields and rack greenhouse gas emissions.

For this project, IBM leveraged its recently-released Watsonx.ai to serve as the foundational model using a year’s worth of NASA’s Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 satellite data (HLS). That data is collected by the ESA’s pair of Sentinel-2 satellites, which are built to acquire high resolution optical imagery over land and coastal regions in 13 spectral bands.

For it’s part, HuggingFace is hosting the model on its open-source AI platform. According to IBM, by fine-tuning the model on “labeled data for flood and burn scar mapping,” the team was able to improve the model’s performance 15 percent over the current state of the art using half as much data….”

EPA Posts Pesticide Incident Data Publicly | US EPA

“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a major step to increase transparency by posting 10 years of pesticide incident data on its website. Sharing this information advances EPA’s commitment to environmental justice and aligns with EPA’s Equity Action Plan by expanding the availability of data and capacity so the public and community organizations can better understand pesticide exposures, including exposures to vulnerable populations.

This action also advances the President’s transparency goal of ensuring that the public, including members of communities with environmental justice concerns, has adequate access to information on federal activities related to human health or the environment, as charged in Executive Order 14096, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.

The data sets, which pull information from EPA’s Incident Data System (IDS), allow users to access raw data on pesticide exposure incidents such as the incident date, the reason for the report (e.g., adverse effect, product defect), and the severity of the incident. It may also provide information on the location of the incident, the pesticide product, and a description of the incident(s). EPA has not verified the raw data for accuracy or completeness, so users should be aware of this limitation before drawing any conclusions from the data….”

Overview of ICARUS?A Curated, Open Access, Online Repository for Atmospheric Simulation Chamber Data | ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

Abstract:  Atmospheric simulation chambers continue to be indispensable tools for research in the atmospheric sciences. Insights from chamber studies are integrated into atmospheric chemical transport models, which are used for science-informed policy decisions. However, a centralized data management and access infrastructure for their scientific products had not been available in the United States and many parts of the world. ICARUS (Integrated Chamber Atmospheric data Repository for Unified Science) is an open access, searchable, web-based infrastructure for storing, sharing, discovering, and utilizing atmospheric chamber data [https://icarus.ucdavis.edu]. ICARUS has two parts: a data intake portal and a search and discovery portal. Data in ICARUS are curated, uniform, interactive, indexed on popular search engines, mirrored by other repositories, version-tracked, vocabulary-controlled, and citable. ICARUS hosts both legacy data and new data in compliance with open access data mandates. Targeted data discovery is available based on key experimental parameters, including organic reactants and mixtures that are managed using the PubChem chemical database, oxidant information, nitrogen oxide (NOx) content, alkylperoxy radical (RO2) fate, seed particle information, environmental conditions, and reaction categories. A discipline-specific repository such as ICARUS with high amounts of metadata works to support the evaluation and revision of atmospheric model mechanisms, intercomparison of data and models, and the development of new model frameworks that can have more predictive power in the current and future atmosphere. The open accessibility and interactive nature of ICARUS data may also be useful for teaching, data mining, and training machine learning models.

Thieme launches new open access journal on sustainability and circularity | STM Publishing News

“Sustainability & Circularity NOW publishes latest research on benign molecules and materials, closed-loop, waste-free systems, and other actionable solutions to tackle global environmental crises. The new journal is the first open access publication with a multidisciplinary focus on sustainability and circularity in chemistry and beyond. Authors benefit from fast and professional crowd peer-review processes to publish and disseminate their research open access….”

The Superfund Research Program Analytics Portal: linking environmental chemical exposure to biological phenotypes | Scientific Data

Abstract:  The OSU/PNNL Superfund Research Program (SRP) represents a longstanding collaboration to quantify Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) at various superfund sites in the Pacific Northwest and assess their potential impact on human health. To link the chemical measurements to biological activity, we describe the use of the zebrafish as a high-throughput developmental toxicity model that provides quantitative measurements of the exposure to chemicals. Toward this end, we have linked over 150 PAHs found at Superfund sites to the effect of these same chemicals in zebrafish, creating a rich dataset that links environmental exposure to biological response. To quantify this response, we have implemented a dose-response modelling pipeline to calculate benchmark dose parameters which enable potency comparison across over 500 chemicals and 12 of the phenotypes measured in zebrafish. We provide a rich dataset for download and analysis as well as a web portal that provides public access to this dataset via an interactive web site designed to support exploration and re-use of these data by the scientific community at http://srp.pnnl.gov.


Social media data for environmental sustainability: A critical review of opportunities, threats, and ethical use: One Earth

Abstract:  Social media data are transforming sustainability science. However, challenges from restrictions in data accessibility and ethical concerns regarding potential data misuse have threatened this nascent field. Here, we review the literature on the use of social media data in environmental and sustainability research. We find that they can play a novel and irreplaceable role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by allowing a nuanced understanding of human-nature interactions at scale, observing the dynamics of social-ecological change, and investigating the co-construction of nature values. We reveal threats to data access and highlight scientific responsibility to address trade-offs between research transparency and privacy protection, while promoting inclusivity. This contributes to a wider societal debate of social media data for sustainability science and for the common good.


Postdoc in Data processing for open global environmental monitoring – WUR

“Are you a researcher skilled in software development and motivated in making Earth Observation data more accessible and impactful? Are you interested in working in a cutting-edge international consortium and research how different Earth Observation data clusters can interoperate? Then we are looking for you!

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will work on developing a backend for processing of global scale Earth Observation data within the novel Open Earth Monitor initiative. Your work is a key component for Open Earth Monitor to accelerate the uptake of environmental information to guide current and future users in research, decision making and citizens towards the most sustainable solutions.

Your task will be to make the Open Earth Monitor data processing backend interoperable with multiple satellite data and processing service providers, such as Sentinel Hub, EODC and VITO with the aim to improve the user accessibility. This work will be carried out in collaboration with multiple international scientific institutions and you will work closely together with the team of Prof. Edzer Pebesma from University of Münster (Institute for Geoinformatics), and researchers from EURAC Research, Sinergise, MultiOne, GILAB and OpenGeoHub. You will also have an opportunity to build upon the OpenEO API by helping extend the API with machine learning capabilities and handling of in-situ data….”

Generative AI as a Tool for Environmental Health Research Translation | medRxiv

Abstract:  Generative artificial intelligence, popularized by services like ChatGPT, has been the source of much recent popular attention for publishing health research. Another valuable application is in translating published research studies to readers in non-academic settings. These might include environmental justice communities, mainstream media outlets, and community science groups. Five recently published (2021-2022) open-access, peer-reviewed papers, authored by University of Louisville environmental health investigators and collaborators, were submitted to ChatGPT. The average rating of all summaries of all types across the five different studies ranged between 3 and 5, indicating good overall content quality. ChatGPT’s general summary request was consistently rated lower than all other summary types. Whereas higher ratings of 4 and 5 were assigned to the more synthetic, insight-oriented activities, such as the production of a plain language summaries suitable for an 8th grade reading level and identifying the most important finding and real-world research applications. This is a case where artificial intelligence might help level the playing field, for example by creating accessible insights and enabling the large-scale production of high-quality plain language summaries which would truly bring open access to this scientific information. This possibility, combined with the increasing public policy trends encouraging and demanding free access for research supported with public funds, may alter the role journal publications play in communicating science in society. For the field of environmental health science, no-cost AI technology such as ChatGPT holds the promise to improve research translation, but it must continue to be improved (or improve itself) from its current capability.


Let peer review be transparent | Communications Earth & Environment

“For all peer reviewed articles submitted from 23rd January 2023, we will publish the editor decision letters, reviewer reports and author responses, together with the published paper. Reviewers can choose to remain anonymous or reveal their identity….

At Communications Earth & Environment, we are convinced that opening up the scholarly discussions that precede publication of our articles will deepen understanding of the scientific process and help spark trust in science. We are enormously grateful for the time and effort our reviewers put into elaborating on the merits and shortcomings of papers with the aim to improve them. We are impressed by the detailed and positive letters our authors send back along with their revisions in response to the points raised by the reviewers. And we are proud to put care and thought into our editorial decisions and give constructive guidance to our authors by explaining our take on the reviewer comments….”

The need for open technology standards for environmental monitoring | by Journal of Open HW | Nov, 2022 | Medium

“The barriers to the uptake of open hardware in environmental monitoring may seem insurmountable: not only is procurement difficult, but expertise is often hard to find and capacity is hard to build in the context of widespread commercialization of the sciences. We have already made some progress, yet not enough to gain the visibility that other open initiatives have in the broader context of Open Science. With the allocation of resources and capacity, there are straightforward ways to address the standardization issues of open instrumentation for environmental monitoring. In the US, with attention to addressing climate change and environmental inequities through initiatives such as Justice40 and legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, carving out a space for the inclusion of open hardware would be in the interest of an environmental monitoring space that is focused on the advancement of collective agendas towards community and environmental health. To accomplish this, we suggest the following strategies:

Co-design a common space for the generative “un-siloing” for researchers, open hardware developers, and environmental regulatory authorities. The first aim of this common space should be to create a shared agenda with actionable objectives leading toward concrete goals in the near, medium, and long term.
Co-create a certification system for open environmental monitoring hardware that can operate within regulatory systems of environmental governance. Such a system should identify where and how open hardware tools and the resulting data can be used.
Solve the documentation dilemma with standardization efforts for open instrumentation in which updates and new iterations can be easily followed and understood. A collective effort towards providing a repo of open tools, their use and role in environmental monitoring, and where and how data from these tools can constructively be used in environmental governance and management is a must.
Ensure a percentage of research funds are allocated to the maintenance of open scientific technology projects. To help senior scientists support open technologies, point them to the discussion on the return on investment in open hardware.
Common resources and community-building efforts should focus on infrastructure across the open ecosystem, not just a singular tool. While open hardware involves the design and implementation of the material part of environmental monitoring, it is part of a much broader ecosystem of open technologies that involve software, data, and analytic tools. Funding agendas many times segregate infrastructural components, and domain experts focus on their piece of the infrastructure.
Commercialization of the sciences tends to undermine our ability to achieve cohesive, inclusive, and usable environmental governance structures. Looking to open source communities for better practices for research collaboration may allow for common, centralized efforts and agendas to exist while maintaining the autonomy of decentralized projects and organizations….”

Design and development of an open-source framework for citizen-centric environmental monitoring and data analysis | Scientific Reports

Abstract:  Cities around the world are struggling with environmental pollution. The conventional monitoring approaches are not effective for undertaking large-scale environmental monitoring due to logistical and cost-related issues. The availability of low-cost and low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices has proved to be an effective alternative to monitoring the environment. Such systems have opened up environment monitoring opportunities to citizens while simultaneously confronting them with challenges related to sensor accuracy and the accumulation of large data sets. Analyzing and interpreting sensor data itself is a formidable task that requires extensive computational resources and expertise. To address this challenge, a social, open-source, and citizen-centric IoT (Soc-IoT) framework is presented, which combines a real-time environmental sensing device with an intuitive data analysis and visualization application. Soc-IoT has two main components: (1) CoSense Unit—a resource-efficient, portable and modular device designed and evaluated for indoor and outdoor environmental monitoring, and (2) exploreR—an intuitive cross-platform data analysis and visualization application that offers a comprehensive set of tools for systematic analysis of sensor data without the need for coding. Developed as a proof-of-concept framework to monitor the environment at scale, Soc-IoT aims to promote environmental resilience and open innovation by lowering technological barriers.


A new open-access platform to bring greater oversight of deforestation risks – SPOTT.org | SPOTT.org

“ZSL [Zoological Society of London], as a sub-grantee alongside Global Canopy, will be launching a revolutionary platform in 2022 bringing together the best data available on corporate exposure to, and reporting on, deforestation and other related environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

The project aims to provide market-leading data to help financial institutions identify risks and find opportunities for sustainable investments to meet the growing demand for responsible financial products in light of the biodiversity and climate crises.

The database will be underpinned by the data collected through ZSL’s SPOTT assessments, Global Canopy’s Forest 500 assessments and the Stockholm Environment Institute, Global Canopy and Neural Alpha’s Trase Supply Chains and Trase Finance data, and will be aligned with the Accountability Framework Initiative and its guidance.

Supported by a five-year grant from the Norwegian government, the resulting data and metrics will provide a more comprehensive view of company performance on deforestation, conversion and associated human rights risks. The dataset will also provide broader coverage of the most exposed forest risk supply chains (in particular: palm oil, soy, timber, pulp, rubber and cattle products) and geographies where corporate performance data on these topics is currently missing. By mapping and integrating data from aligned initiatives and external datasets, more complete and in-depth coverage of corporate performance data will be available….”

PRESS RELEASE: Open Letter to EPA Asks Agency Not to Sunset its Online Archive – Environmental Data and Governance Initiative

“Today, environmental and archivist groups including the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Free Government Information published an open letter asking the Environmental Protection Agency not to sunset its online archive, which the agency has indicated it will do in July 2022. The letter and the complete list of initial signatories can be found here. A companion letter from professional historians’ organizations, including the Environmental Historians Action Collaborative and American Society of Environmental Historians, can be found here. 

The EPA’s online archive contains a public record of the agency’s positions and activities over the last 20-plus years. These resources convey information about critical environmental issues, and past and present agency activities, policies, and priorities and have facilitated public engagement and oversight of the agency. Maintaining—and improving—the archive supports the agency’s outspoken commitments to public trust, scientific integrity, and environmental justice. Retiring the archive undermines these commitments.

There are documents discoverable through the EPA’s archive that are not available anywhere else, including records of chemicals authorizations, policy decisions, and monitoring data from natural disasters. Only through the EPA archive is it possible to trace public-facing EPA climate change information over the course of the escalating crisis. The EPA’s archive served as a tool to counter some of the effects of the Trump administration’s censorship—especially of climate-related information. When the Trump administration deleted the majority of EPA’s climate change web resources, many of them became available (if challenging to access) through the archive. 

In our digital age, agencies must make their documents accessible to the public. We need the EPA’s archive to be improved, not retired. Instead of doing away with the EPA archive, the Biden administration could promote it as a model for other parts of the Executive Branch….”

Call for abstracts for ILTER’s 2022 Open Science Meeting | UK Environmental Change Network

“The International Long-Term Ecological Research Network, ILTER, is planning its third Open Science Meeting, that will take place later this year. The event will take place from September 12-16 in Kunming, China, and will be hosted by the Chinese Environmental Research Network, CERN. The meeting will be offered in a hybrid mode (both in-person and remote participation possible).

There is a call for abstracts for oral or poster presentations, or for a workshop. For details of the event and the call for abstracts, please visit the ILTER website….”