Contrasting the open access dissemination of COVID-19 and SDG research | bioRxiv

Abstract:  This paper examines the extent to which research has been published open access in response to two global threats: COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate change. We compare the accessibility of COVID-19 content versus SDG literature using the Dimensions database between 2000 and 2021, classifying each publication as gold open access, green, bronze, hybrid, or closed. We found that 79.9% of COVID-19 research papers published between January 2020 and December 2021 was open access, with 39.0% published with gold open access licenses. In contrast, just 55.7% of SDG papers were open access in the same time period, with only 36.0% published with gold open access licenses. Papers related to the climate emergency overall had the second-lowest level of open access at just 55.5%. Papers published by the largest for-profit publishers that committed to both the SDG Publishers Compact and climate actions were not predominantly published open access. The paper highlights the need for continued efforts to promote open access publishing to facilitate scientific research and technological development to address global challenges.


A global approach for natural history museum collections | Science

Abstract:  Over the past three centuries, people have collected objects and specimens and placed them in natural history museums throughout the world. Taken as a whole, this global collection is the physical basis for our understanding of the natural world and our place in it, an unparalleled source of information that is directly relevant to issues as diverse as wildlife conservation, climate change, pandemic preparedness, food security, invasive species, rare minerals, and the bioeconomy (1). Strategic coordination and use of the global collection has the potential to focus future collecting and guide decisions that are relevant to the future of humanity and biodiversity. To begin to map the aggregate holdings of the global collection, we describe here a simple and fast method to assess the contents of any natural history museum, and report results based on our assessment of 73 of the world’s largest natural history museums and herbaria from 28 countries.

From the body of the article:

“Natural history museums have generally operated independently, and no interoperable data structure exists to provide open access to their collective holdings. Because most natural history museum data are not digitally discoverable, the networks of data aggregators have not been able to access these “dark data” …”


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.


One more way AI can help us harness one of the most underutilized datasets in the world

“Satellite data may be one of the most underutilized datasets in the world. 

At Planet alone, we have six years of documented history — which means we have over 2,000 images on average for every point on earth’s landmass. This dataset at high resolution never existed before Planet came along and created it. 

What this dataset means is that you can see a lot of change…if you know where to look. 

We’re pulling down 30TB of data daily (nearly 4 million images!) off of ~200 satellites, and it would be impossible for humans to look at, consume and derive insights from all of that manually. Some days, it can literally feel like the world’s largest hidden picture puzzle. 

That’s why we crucially need artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to detect and inform us about what’s in this imagery. Given the size of our archive, it’s a veritable playground for Planeteers and our partners to train AI and ML models and to build algorithms that can extract objects and patterns – to find newly-built roads, identify collapsed or raised buildings, monitor change in forests throughout time, or track surveillance balloons over oceans – all possible today….”

Stop Elsevier – Turn the page on science in service of extraction

“The world’s premier publisher of climate research and its parent company refuse to stop supporting fossil fuel expansion.

Elsevier and RELX support fossil fuels through:
• Publications that identify technologies, methods, and areas for new fossil fuel development.
• Data services — developed from academic research papers — that help most major oil, gas, and coal companies find and develop new fossil fuel resources.
• Exhibition services for fossil fuel industry companies operating in exploration and development.
• Support for U.S. politicians who obstruct and deny the need for immediate climate action….”

[No. 010] Technics and Civilization: Open Science and the Creative Commons Climate Campaign – Korea IT Times

“The Creative Commons launched their 4-Year Open Climate Campaign late last year in 2022, and I contacted a lead scientist on the project, Dr. Monica Granados (Canada) about this remarkable project. The open science movement has contributed greatly to public awareness and subsequent public participation in science and society….”

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.


CRKN and UTP Make Climate Change Journal Accessible to Readers Around the Globe | Canadian Research Knowledge Network

“The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) and University of Toronto Press (UTP) are very pleased to announce an innovative partnership for access to the Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy through the Subscribe to Open model. The Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy publishes timely, evidence-based research that contributes to the urban climate agenda and supports governmental policy towards an equitable and resilient world. Through this partnership, CRKN members will gain access to critical climate research and support the open access dissemination of this research without any cost to authors.

Subscribe to Open is an equitable access model that offers a wide range of benefits to researchers, libraries, and the community at large. Institutional subscribers access the content through subscription, as with a regular subscription model. What is unique to the model is that once an annual subscription threshold is met, the volume year becomes open access and available to researchers, policymakers, and urban practitioners globally. University of Toronto Press launched the Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy in October 2022 based upon this model….”

Data Sharing Across Sectors Creates Better Early Warning Systems –

“The existing public sector’s early warning systems for infectious disease and climate events are commonly disconnected; there are limited mechanisms in place that relate the two. In other words, there is a lack of data that helps understand and predict the impacts of extreme weather events and environmental changes on disease risk.

Attempting to find and connect climate and health data proves next to impossible with the current infrastructure in developing countries. For instance, when faced with an outbreak of dengue fever in Peru, the health minister has data on only health and demographics. If you wanted to combine that with climate data you would need to ask the minister of the environment. Want to relate economic data? Ask the minister of the economy and finance….


The Harmonize Project seeks to build a digital infrastructure of harmonized databases to feed early warning systems for epidemics exacerbated by climate change in the LAC region.


In collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)—and a network in Brazil, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic—and supported by Wellcome, the project will bring together ministries, universities, private companies, social impact organizations, and more to create a complex data infrastructure and collect real longitudinal data on the ground. These new data sets will provide valuable information on seasonal variation in land use and human behavior has given climate hazards, which are generally assumed to be unchanging in health impact models.

The outcome of such an infrastructure? Actionable knowledge to inform local risk mapping and create strong early warning systems to drive resilience in low-resource communities….”

Data Inclusion Specialist, Open Environmental Data Project

“At Open Environmental Data Project, the ACLS Leading Edge Fellow would take on the role of Data Inclusion Specialist to help improve and sustain OEDP’s data collection and stewardship processes. OEDP centers the creation of inclusive socio-technical systems that value and highlight multiple forms of data. We do this to address how current systems perpetuate injustice, ensuring that information gathered in communities is (i) usable throughout our governance structures, (ii) that communities and researchers can use other forms of scientific data, and (iii) that communities are equitably represented in scientific data and regulatory information flows. While these systems by and large include quantitative  information, our work is deeply qualitative in nature, integrating local experience, history, and geography. Supervised by the Director of Policy Initiatives, the Fellow will work across our Research and Policy programs to apply nuances in the collection, discovery, access, use, interpretation, and inclusion of diverse environmental data in our governance systems. …”

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.


Open Net Zero—can we build a web of net-zero data for everyone? | Icebreaker One, 2022-09-22 | Gavin Starks

“Today, Icebreaker One announces Open Net Zero search at It is a starting point for net-zero data infrastructure built to address commercial, non-commercial, government and public needs.  It’s designed to help make net-zero data discoverable, accessible and usable. There is a lot of Open Data related to net zero (e.g. company disclosures) and we aim to make this far more discoverable than it is today.  However, much of the data needed to drive net-zero decisions is not openly licensed or free for anyone to use. We aim to make this data more discoverable. To address restricted usage, we are building a Trust Framework for data sharing. This enables Shared Data to be discovered and licensed at scale.  We are not building a ‘database’ of all the data. We are working with partners [see below] to enable all the data to be more discoverable using open standards. Ideally, anyone should be able to make their own search engine or build their own data lake based on these open standards.  …”

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.