— 100% open access publishing for climate change research

📗/🌍 #openclimate #eLifeSprint

An open collaboration between Peter Murray-Rust and GenR with an invitation to the wider open science community. Open Climate text is by GenR editor Simon Worthington.

Question: If climate change related research publishing is at <30% how can it be made 100% open access ASAP?!

Invitation: Get involved, remote participation welcome! eLife are holding an innovation sprint in Cambridge, UK (and online), on 4-5th September 2019, where Peter Murray-Rust is leading a sprint contribution to create an ‘open annotated corpus of open access climate research publishing’. See: https://github.com/petermr/climate.

Project ‘Open Climate’: Open Climate is a community initiative in response to ‘climate protests’ to provide an actionable ‘framework plan’ for how to transition climate change research publishing from closed to open access publishing in the shortest time possible.

Based on our initial research it would appear that climate change research publishing is at levels of less than 30% as of 2016. This is obviously an extremely poor situation and wrong on so many levels — as they say — to address the effects of climate change, to create trust in science by the wider public, having an equitable and effective global research community, and for the cost effective spending of public resources on research and climate change mitigation.

See: Tai, Travis C., and James P. W. Robinson. ‘Enhancing Climate Change Research With Open Science’. Frontiers in Environmental Science 6 (2018). https://doi.org/10/gf64mq. (Tai and Robinson 2018)

It is important to note that what is being talked about here is making research publications that academics are already willing to make public — to publish — but are not making open access (aka open to all). The Open Climate proposed transition to open access (OA) places no onerous burden on the academic to reveal sensitive or private research. Questions about open science and of making the whole research cycle open can follow at a later date, as it has already been shown that this is vital for the effectiveness of research as in the paper ‘Enhancing Climate Change Research With Open Science’. (Tai and Robinson 2018)

Establishing a climate change knowledgebase

To support the goal of making all climate change research publishing to be 100% open access an up-to-date knowledgebase needs creating. Below are the initial suggestions for what is needed in a first round of work. For this first step publication metrics will be the focus. Metrics for open data and free and open source software are more difficult and these questions can be full addressed at a later stage.

  • Define the fields that make up climate change from low carbon technologies to climate sciences and beyond: energy modeling, mobility, meteorology, disasters, etc.
  • Gather metrics for publications.

Survey and confirm the assumption of low OA rates in climate change

Make lists of:

  • List climate change related fields.
  • Types of publication: papers, PhDs, grey literature, reports, etc.
  • What are the sources for research publications?:
    • Closed commercial publishing
    • Publishers, journals, companies, think tanks, governments
    • Preprint,
    • Collections,
    • Repositories.
  • Climate change related collections: publisher collections, university repositories, etc.
  • Open access vs. closed research publishing statistics.
  • List initiatives for making climate change research OA. Domain specific, general, for the public and demographics, types, etc.
  • Literature survey of publications on the topic of ‘climate change and open access publishing’.

Looking for volunteers and partners

Open Climate is looking for participation from a variety of areas and sectors, especially from: the public, libraries, developers, data scientists, and climate change scientists.

Help is needed on: the knowledge base, organization, lending LIS and developer expertise, and infrastructure.

The best place to get an up-to-date picture of what is going on is here https://github.com/petermr/climate

A regular vidconf will take place here (date and time TBC) https://meet.jit.si/open%20climate

Making a plan — ‘the infrastructure is the message’

The goal of the Open Climate project to bring about a 100% OA publishing in climate change research ASAP. To achieve this goal a wide variety of issues and problems need to be solved in scholarly communications.

Before the planning can start as the projects central focus the initial climate change knowledgebase as well as consultations needs to take place.

As a comment on the current progress of OA and policy changes being made — Open Climate would question the approach of just paying to make all content OA as with Plan S and DEAL initiatives — even though time is of the essence here. There are many reasons for this resistance, but two stick out to illustrate the need for open infrastructures: firstly, infrastructures matter as they affect how content can be used as clearly laid out by Peter Kraker around the question of ‘Dark Knowledge’ (Kraker 2018) highlighting the need for transparency of search algorithms, indexes, etc.; and secondly, a global knowledge system is needed where global south scientists can equitably contribute knowledge as well all countries be able to speedily make use of scientific knowledge.

The assertion is that OA savings instead need to be invested in the underfunded publishing infrastructures to accelerate research and enable its global reach. It has been clear for some time that new automated technologies should be put in place to disintermediate publishing processes — cutting out the middleman and content silos — to save on operating costs and efficiently circulate knowledge.


See Zotero tag: open climate https://www.zotero.org/groups/1838445/generation_r/items/tag/open%20climate

Tai, Travis C., and James P. W. Robinson. ‘Enhancing Climate Change Research With Open Science’. Frontiers in Environmental Science 6 (2018). https://doi.org/10/gf64mq.

Kraker, Peter. ‘Illuminating Dark Knowledge’. Text. (blog), 3 December 2018. https://doi.org/10.25815/FN1Q-KC98.