An open database on global coal and metal mine production | Scientific Data

Abstract:  While the extraction of natural resources has been well documented and analysed at the national level, production trends at the level of individual mines are more difficult to uncover, mainly due to poor availability of mining data with sub-national detail. In this paper, we contribute to filling this gap by presenting an open database on global coal and metal mine production on the level of individual mines. It is based on manually gathered information from more than 1900 freely available reports of mining companies, where every data point is linked to its source document, ensuring full transparency. The database covers 1171 individual mines and reports mine-level production for 80 different materials in the period 2000–2021. Furthermore, also data on mining coordinates, ownership, mineral reserves, mining waste, transportation of mining products, as well as mineral processing capacities (smelters and mineral refineries) and production is included.


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….”

RePP Africa – a georeferenced and curated database on existing and proposed wind, solar, and hydropower plants | Scientific Data

Abstract:  Promoting a transition to low-carbon energy systems to mitigate climate change requires an optimization of renewable energy (RE) planning. However, curated data for the most promising RE technologies, hydro-, wind and solar power, are missing, which limits data-based decision-making support. Here, a spatially explicit database for existing and proposed renewable power plants is provided: The Renewable Power Plant database for Africa (RePP Africa) encompasses 1074 hydro-, 1128 solar, and 276 wind power plant records. For each power plant, geographic coordinates, country, construction status, and capacity (in megawatt) are reported. The number of RePP Africa records exceeds the respective values in other existing open-access databases and matches available cumulative capacity data reported by international energy organizations best with deviations <13% for hydro-, <23% for wind, and <32% for solar power plants. This contemporary database is the most harmonized open-accessible reference source on RE power plants across Africa for stakeholders from science, (non-)governmental organizations, consulting, and industry; providing a fundamental data basis for the development of an integrated sustainable RE mix.


Kenyon | The Journal Article as a Means to Share Data: a Content Analysis of Supplementary Materials from Two Disciplines | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION The practice of publishing supplementary materials with journal articles is becoming increasingly prevalent across the sciences. We sought to understand better the content of these materials by investigating the differences between the supplementary materials published by authors in the geosciences and plant sciences. METHODS We conducted a random stratified sampling of four articles from each of 30 journals published in 2013. In total, we examined 297 supplementary data files for a range of different factors. RESULTS We identified many similarities between the practices of authors in the two fields, including the formats used (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs) and the small size of the files. There were differences identified in the content of the supplementary materials: the geology materials contained more maps and machine-readable data; the plant science materials included much more tabular data and multimedia content. DISCUSSION Our results suggest that the data shared through supplementary files in these fields may not lend itself to reuse. Code and related scripts are not often shared, nor is much ‘raw’ data. Instead, the files often contain summary data, modified for human reading and use. CONCLUSION Given these and other differences, our results suggest implications for publishers, librarians, and authors, and may require shifts in behavior if effective data sharing is to be realized.


PLOS partners with EarthArXiv for 2023 – Latitude

“We are pleased to announce that PLOS has entered into a partnership with EarthArXiv—a preprint server focused on earth and planetary science, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research. EarthArXiv is a community-based server, governed by a diverse advisory council with representatives from many regions and institutions, and hosted by the California Digital Library (CDL), an organization committed to open scholarship.

This relationship will open new opportunities for authors submitting to PLOS Climate, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water to post preprints with ease. Beginning early in 2023, submitting authors will have the option to automatically forward their manuscript to the EarthArXiv preprint server, directly from our submission system….”

Linux Foundation’s ‘AgStack Project’ Plans First Dataset of the World’s Agricultural Field Boundaries – Slashdot

“The nonprofit Linux Foundation not only pays the salary of Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman. It also runs the AgStack Foundation, which seeks more efficient agriculture through “free, re-usable, open and specialized digital infrastructure for data and applications.”

And this week that Foundation announced a new open source code base for creating and maintaining a global dataset that’s a kind of registry for the boundaries of agricultural fields to enable field-level analytics like carbon tracking, food traceability, and crop production….”

Linux Foundation Announces Overture Maps Foundation to Build Interoperable Open Map Data

“The Linux Foundation, a global nonprofit organization enabling innovation through open source, today announced the formation of the Overture Maps Foundation, a new collaborative effort to develop interoperable open map data as a shared asset that can strengthen mapping services worldwide. The initiative was founded by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft, and TomTom and is open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data.

Overture’s mission is to enable current and next-generation map products by creating reliable, easy-to-use, and interoperable open map data. This interoperable map is the basis for extensibility, enabling companies to contribute their own data. Members will combine resources to build map data that is complete, accurate, and refreshed as the physical world changes. Map data will be open and extensible by all under an open data license. This will drive innovation by enabling a network of communities that create services on top of Overture data….”

Linux, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft want to break the Google Maps monopoly | Ars Technica

“Google Maps is getting some competition. The Linux Foundation has announced Overture Maps, a “new collaborative effort to develop interoperable open map data as a shared asset that can strengthen mapping services worldwide.” It’s an open source mapping effort that includes a list of heavy hitters: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft, and TomTom, with the foundation adding that the project is “open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data.”…

If you’re saying, “Wait! isn’t there already an open source map community out there?”  There is, and it’s called “OpenStreetMap,” the Wikipedia of maps that anyone can edit. The Overture press release says, “The project will seek to integrate with existing open map data from projects such as OpenStreetMap and city planning departments, along with new map data contributed by members and built using computer vision and AI/ML techniques to create a living digital record of the physical world.” …”

Building Digital Research Tools for Open Access to Canada’s Historical Topographic Maps and Data | University of Toronto Libraries

“The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) is pleased to announce the Historical National Topographic System (NTS): 1:50,000 Scale Maps, Data, & GIS, a new Open Access geospatial data collection of over 6000 Canadian maps that all researchers can discover, explore, and analyze. 

This map series stretches across Canada and across time, covering the period of 1948 to today, providing an invaluable record of changes to the natural and human geography of the country. Digitization for a large portion of the series was recently completed by the McGill University Library and released as part of the online Canadiana collection. The current project builds on this series, transforming the maps into an open geospatial data resource available on the Borealis and Scholars GeoPortal platforms.  

UTL, in partnership with McGill Libraries and with funding from Compute Ontario, are currently undertaking a mass-scale project to georeference the maps, a process that geographically positions the maps onto the Earth’s surface and creates geospatial data. Researchers can use the data in a variety of digital research tools, including geographic information systems (GIS), to analyze the maps. Access to historical GIS datasets based on national map series held in library collections supports transformation of physical maps into digital research data, enabling integration with current, real-world data for in-depth research and longitudinal analysis. This project builds on the commitment of academic libraries across the country to support access and preservation of these important historical maps and cultural resources….”

PLOS announces partnership with EarthArXiv

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) today announced that it has partnered with EarthArXiv, which enables authors submitting to PLOS Climate, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water to post preprints with ease. Beginning next year, submitting authors will have the option to automatically forward their manuscript to the EarthArXiv preprint server, directly from our submission system.

1 Million Strong! – Open Knowledge Maps

“Calling one, calling all, calling… one million? Yes, you read that right, – over 1 million knowledge maps have been created on the Open Knowledge Maps website!

Of course, we rather proudly share this achievement with our immensely multifaceted and curious users. We are grateful and send a big thank you to all the researchers, students, librarians, educators, practitioners, and purely inquisitive people. With the help of this ever-growing community, OKMaps has reached yet another extraordinary milestone in our mission of empowering the world with knowledge one map at a time!

Fun fact: the users of OKMaps hail from nearly every corner of the world. This year alone, we have welcomed visitors from 213 countries and territories. Our busiest hour is between 2pm and 3pm UTC, where users from all over join us in their quest for scientific knowledge. These diverse knowledge-seekers search for myriad terms across all disciplines, creating new maps along the way….”

Open access and the evolving academic publishing landscape of the water sector: Water International: Vol 0, No 0

“The launch of many new water journals in recent years is a testament to the growth and importance of water research as a problematique, that is, as both a problem in and of itself and as an important correlate of other global challenges. As entire regions start to run dry or suffer repeated flooding due to climate change, it is more important than ever to understand water availability, quality, use and governance. And as the burgeoning industry of ‘nexus’ studies shows, researchers and policy- makers have discovered at, indeed, most elements of society are linked to water. This is a great time to be a water scholar with exciting new opportunities to collaborate with researchers from across the natural and social sciences, engineering. and humanities. Water scholars also have initiated many new journals, book series, etc., that clamour for our insights and academic production. But there are tensions too, linked to the perhaps too-rapid proliferation of journals, their transition to open access (OA) business models, and the unhealthy ways in which these are linked to career prospects for water scholars.”

Tectonic shifts in academic publishing – McGill Reporter

“McGill Library’s support for a new seismology journal is just one example of how the Library is helping researchers challenge the status quo in academic publishing…

Seismica, which charges neither subscription fees for readers, nor publication fees for authors, is a landmark in Rowe’s move away from the world of for-profit academic publishing. After more than 10 years serving on the editorial boards of several journals in her field, she says she decided to cut ties with big publishers. A watershed moment came in 2020 when the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) announced an author fee of €10,000 for each paper published in one of its ‘open access’ journals. At a time when government funding agencies are increasingly requiring researchers to publish their work in open access journals as a condition of their grants, moves like this are seen by some as a strategy on the part of commercial publishers to shore up their revenue base by shifting fees from subscribers to authors.

According to Rowe, however, researchers themselves are partly to blame for feeding a cycle of high fees and perceived status in academic publishing. “The only reason authors would pay [these fees] is for the prestige – and potential career benefits – of publishing in Nature,” she says. “In other words, we academics have created an expensive spiral of prestige and power – which we ourselves enforce on one another – which drives the flow of grant money toward these publishing companies.” …”

Avert Bangladesh’s looming water crisis through open science and better data

“Access to data is a huge problem. Bangladesh collects a large amount of hydrological data, such as for stream flow, surface and groundwater levels, precipitation, water quality and water consumption. But these data are not readily available: researchers must seek out officials individually to gain access. India’s hydrological data can be similarly hard to obtain, preventing downstream Bangladesh from accurately predicting flows into its rivers….

Publishing hydrological data in an open-access database would be an exciting step. For now, however, the logistics, funding and politics to make on-the-ground data publicly available are likely to remain out of reach.

Fortunately, satellite data can help to fill the gaps. Current Earth-observing satellite missions, such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Follow-On, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) network, multiple radar altimeters and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors make data freely available and can provide an overall picture of water availability across the country (this is what we used in many of our analyses). The picture is soon to improve. In December, NASA and CNES, France’s space agency, plan to launch the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission. SWOT will provide unprecedented information on global ocean and inland surface waters at fine spatial resolution, allowing for much more detailed monitoring of water levels than is possible today. The international scientific community has been working hard over the past 15 years to get ready to store, process and use SWOT data….

New open-science initiatives, particularly NASA’s Earth Information System, launched in 2021, can help by supporting the development of customized data-analysis and modelling tools (see The data we present here were acquired in this framework. We are currently working on an advanced hydrological model that will be capable of representing climate-change effects and human impacts on Bangladesh’s water availability. We expect that the co-development of such a modelling system with local partners will support decision-making….”