How can open science help achieve sustainability? | Research Information

“A focused, strategic and global approach to addressing the causes of climate change could pull us back from the precipice upon which we stand. But what does this have to do with research publishing? Of course publishers are part of a global network that reviews, improves, disseminates and ensures access to critical research that is providing the evidence-base about climate change – and, crucially – mitigation of its impact. However we believe that scholarly publishing, as a sector, has a wider role to play. Our impact is not just through publication of climate research, not just through our environmental consciousness as businesses, but also through driving open research. But why is open science critical if we are to collectively address climate change or support other sustainable development goals? 

The last 18 months has provided a perfect case study of why open science and open research matters. As Covid-19 took hold around the globe, it underscored how interconnected the world is and provided many examples of the vital role that open science could play in speeding up the response and improving outcomes. If rapidly and openly sharing research data and papers is critical to understanding and combating coronavirus, doesn’t the same hold true for climate and environmental concerns? Or other health issues such as cancer, heart disease, maternal and child mortality? 

The short answer is yes. But we have a long way to go. The past 18 months has shown the positive impact that open science can have in tackling the sorts of global issues that require collaborative, multi-disciplinary solutions. However it has also thrown into stark relief the gaps and challenges that hinder the full realisation of the potential of open research to help address societal challenges. The lack of integrated policy, if not tackled, will limit the social impact of open research, particularly with respect to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). …”

Analysis: The lack of diversity in climate-science research – Carbon Brief

“A recent analysis entitled “The Reuters Hot List” ranked the 1,000 “most influential” climate scientists – largely based on their publication record and social media engagement. Scientists from the global south are vastly under-represented in the list, with, for example, only five African scientists included. Meanwhile, only 122 of the 1,000 authors are female.

Biases in authorship make it likely that the existing bank of knowledge around climate change and its impacts is skewed towards the interests of male authors from the global north. This can create blind spots around the needs of some of the most vulnerable people to climate change, particularly women and communities in the global south.

Carbon Brief has analysed the gender and “country of affiliation” of the authors of 100 highly cited climate science papers from the past five years – mapped below – to reveal geographic and gender biases….

Conducting scientific research is expensive – and, arguably, the most obvious issue with running climate studies from countries in the global south is the lack of funding. While the US dedicates more than 2.5% of its annual GDP to “research and development”, no country in sub-saharan Africa – even the comparably rich South Africa – spends more than 1%. …

The inaccessibility of scientific literature is also a problem for publishing. “One of the biggest issues is that people can’t access literature that they can cite,” Schipper tells Carbon Brief. …

[Quoting Marton Demeter:] ‘If open access in journals with article processing charges (APCs) become the mainstream way of publication, then global-south scholars’ chances to publish in leading journals will be even lower than today, as they wont be able to pay the high APCs – which will be easily paid by researchers working at sourceful western universities or researchers that are funded by international grants.’ ”


Earth System Science: Open Data and Open Science in support of our Planet

“Twenty-four hours a day, and every day of the year, NASA missions are monitoring, observing and exploring our planet with a fleet of legacy and novel observatories that help us understand climate change over time while discovering new insights about our complex and dynamic Earth system. These insights, combined with the rapid pace of innovation and private sector investment in areas such as digital technology, lead to more reliable models and better data analysis than ever before possible. These models are making critical contributions that enable society and individuals to understand and prepare for the most consequential risks of climate change. These risks extend to every part of the world, to every economic sector, and to nearly every aspect of human well-being.

At NASA, our work to explore and understand our dynamic planet is not done in isolation. Instead, we actively search for ways to leverage our strategic partnerships, working closely with international, commercial, academic, and non-profit partners. As the impacts of global climate change become more numerous and pronounced in given locations and contexts, the demand for more accurate, timely, and actionable knowledge about the Earth system is increasing in capitals, board rooms, and academic institutions around the globe. In this plenary keynote, NASA will present a summary of its future programs – the planned expansion of NASA’s Earth observation portfolio and the enabling partnerships that NASA plans over the next decade. The keynote will also address the key building blocks of this exciting endeavor, such as principles of open data and open science that foster more rapid progress to create and provide foundational and decisional knowledge – knowledge that will help us adapt and thrive on our changing planet.”

In a First, Global Climate Models Will Be Made Available Via the Cloud

“Until now, the most advanced climate models have mostly been available to researchers in the wealthiest countries.

New program will see Amazon Web Services’ advanced cloud technologies host 30 climate model simulations and make them available to researchers around the globe….

The resulting free, open access dataset will allow research teams internationally to skirt one of the major barriers to specialized climate modeling, even for those who have the computing capacity to make it happen: cost. Wanser said running the 30 simultaneous simulations would normally cost roughly $700,000, and take two months to run. 

The AWS program will cover all costs associated with hosting and sharing data from the cloud, and accessing and downloading it will be free. Grants will be available to users who choose to analyze or run additional models on AWS.”


“Advancing climate science to improve understanding of Earth’s changing climate and changes that pose the greatest risk to society. This includes: facilitating public access to climate-related information that will assist Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments in climate planning and resilience activities, coupled with capacity building and training to increase access to and support the use of data, information, and climate services; research to advance understanding of the societal and economic impacts of climate change (e.g., human and ecosystem health, wildlife and fisheries); improving observational networks to create carbon inventories and baselines; improving modeling capabilities for local-scale, regional climate and related extreme weather events; and disaster attribution science, including in potential tipping points in physical, natural, and human systems….

For example, open science and other participatory modes of research, such as community-based datahubs that give citizens access to information and data, as well as community-engaged research that respectfully provides opportunities for the participation in science and technology of those historically excluded from the scientific enterprise. Public participation in science is critical for the health of the nation and leads to more innovative research of all kinds, including research that addresses the needs of diverse communities…. 

Relevant agencies should develop data infrastructure that facilitates identification of inequities across sectors at scale, especially in underserved rural and urban communities, including through data linkage across Federal agencies, creation of interoperable data systems, and efforts to make data more available to the public, while preserving privacy and upholding ethical principles. This includes a focus on the underutilized, inaccessible, or missing data needed to measure and promote equity. Finally, agencies should also take steps to improve diversity and equity in the research workforce…. 

To build a trustworthy and engaged U.S. science and technology (S&T) enterprise, agencies should prioritize making Federally funded R&D: open to the public in a findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable way; more rigorous, reproducible, and transparent; safe and secure; grounded in assessment of ethical, legal, and societal implications; and free from improper political interference—all while minimizing administrative burden….”

Climate change: ‘Glasgow Agreement’ can save the planet but locking scientific research behind paywalls is holding us back – Catherine Stihler | The Scotsman

“We have seen the incredible value of open research in addressing the Covid crisis. After researchers sequenced the viral genome and shared it freely online, it ultimately led to the development of life-saving vaccines.

The same approach to the Covid emergency must apply to the climate emergency.”

A New Dataset Could Aid Climate Justice Research

“Many studies focusing on the damages and financial consequences of climate change rely on commercial datasets that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase. Those costs can be a significant hurdle for many researchers and communities.

Instead, the SEPHER dataset combines data from many publicly available sources, including:

the Social Vulnerability Index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes an array of socioeconomic data as well as information regarding disability and minority status;
FEMA’s National Risk Index for Natural Hazards, which combines the likelihood and expected losses from natural hazards with social vulnerability factors and resilience capabilities;
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, including information about whether mortgage applications were approved or denied, property characteristics, and applicant demographics such as ethnicity, race, and gender;
Eviction data from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University;
Rental price trends for properties….”

A New Dataset Integrating Public Socioeconomic, Physical Risk, and Housing Data for Climate Justice Metrics: A Test-Case Study in Miami | Environmental Justice

Abstract:  Assessing the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations and the implications of such impacts is a critical step toward climate and environmental justice. In general, indices or metrics that aim at studying linkages between climatic environmental impacts and vulnerable populations lack housing information. Financially relevant real estate data (e.g., mortgages, evictions) alongside other socioeconomic and physical risk information can, however, provide a crucial lens to assess climate justice. In addition, standard socioeconomic and demographic variables aggregated at census units lack the granularity required to capture inequalities, especially in heterogeneous communities, so there is a need for publicly available, ready-to-use, digitized, and distributed datasets containing relevant inequality metrics using real estate and financial information. Also, studies focusing on damages and financial impacts of climate change often use commercial datasets, which must be acquired for hundreds of thousands of dollars, making the inclusion of such information prohibitive for advocacy groups, journalists, and other interested people. With this in mind, we integrated multiple publicly available datasets that include socioeconomic, climate risk scores, evictions, and housing variables at the census tract level over the United States to be used to investigate environmental justice themes. Our goal is that the dataset proposed here will allow for testing, assessing, and generating new analysis and metrics that can address inequalities and climate injustice. To demonstrate the potential of the new dataset, we report examples of application to the Miami area, where the recent increased risk of floods and extreme events has exposed socially vulnerable populations to the consequences of climate change.


Open Climate Now! | Branch magazine issue #2, June 2021

“Two global movements—open and climate—both reckoning with privilege and power in their own organizing, should seize the moment to work more intersectionally and learn from each other. The open movement with its values, community and action has the potential to greatly contribute to climate research and activism, and climate scientists and organizers should join the fight for the (digital) commons.  …

A scan of the open movement—which comprises networks, projects, and organizations that advocate for the creation, curation, and sharing of the knowledge commons through the use of open licenses—shows very limited collaboration between both communities. These movements share similar values and their activists envision similar horizons of human and planetary well-being, yet actions are being organized and conducted separately. We must now reflect: how will future generations of open activists use the digital commons to grapple with climate change, one of the greatest challenges of humanity?…”

Authors: Shannon Dosemagen, Evelin Heidel, Luis Felipe R. Murillo, Emilio Velis, Alex Stinson and Michelle Thorne

Branch magazine funded in part by EIT Climate KIC

Open Environmental Data Project

“We partner and collaborate with institutes, nonprofits, individuals and universities to help articulate best practices for new data commons models in the environmental context….

We provide insight that identifies, evaluates and summarizes scientific, legal, economic and cultural incentive and strategy levers for advancing environmental generative actions….”

Director of Policy Initiatives

“OEDP seeks a bold and strategic Director of Policy Initiatives to lead the work of identifying opportunities and possibilities for creating an inclusive environmental data ecosystem. The Director of Policy Initiative’s primary responsibilities will be to develop policy recommendations related to the inclusion of environmental data at all levels of government; interact with and comment on projects and policy as they relate to environmental and climate data and governance; and lead initiatives related to environmental and scientific policy (for instance: SIDE environmental events and Civic Voice). Strong candidates will have a deep understanding of environment and science policy, demonstrated research and analysis skills, and experience working on federal and/or state environmental policy or politics. The ideal person for this position is enthusiastic about sharing ideas, building community (with grassroots efforts, government, and academics), and creating networks….”

Over 50 Magazine Publishers Contribute to Freely-Accessible Climate Crisis Resource Page

“Digital platform Exact Editions has published a freely-accessible ‘Climate Crisis Resource Page’ in collaboration with over 50 of their publishing partners. Currently including nearly 150 articles from digitally archived issues which are usually only available by paid subscription, the page will be updated with new content on a monthly basis and counts among its prestigious contributors Geographical, New Internationalist and Resurgence & Ecologist.

The comprehensive resource page is divided into eight distinct sections that each feature a rich collection of articles; ‘Agriculture’, ‘Biodiversity & Conversation’, ‘Climate Activism’, ‘Climate Literature & Art’, ‘Climate Politics’, ‘Deforestation’, ‘Fossil Fuels & Pollution’ and ‘Renewable & Sustainable Resources’. The page is designed for both personal reading and unlimited use in schools, universities and other educational institutions as a diverse teaching tool that spans multiple disciplines….”

2nd UN Open Science Conference – International Science Council

In the 2nd Open Science Conference, From Tackling the Pandemic to Addressing Climate Change, policymakers, main IGO actors, librarians, publishers and research practitioners will engage in a public dialogue focusing on what Open Science has learned from COVID-19 and how this can be applied into actions addressing the global climate crisis, at the interface of science, technology, policy and research.