We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

Climate scientists should learn from the open-source software movement to create more effective responses to climate change — but first, they must understand how it works, argue Brendan Barrett and Sulayman K. Sowe.

Opening up climate science to a more creative process of producing knowledge can encourage individuals and communities to generate, adapt and share data and software without licensing restrictions, they say.

For example, Barrett and Sowe suggest that researchers or organisations rework how climate change research is evaluated and distributed, using transparent peer-review processes or adopting an open licence model when publishing results.

They point to the example of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which uses free and open software and makes data available online — showing that openness in science is not an alien concept.

But it is neither a widely accepted concept. Climate scientists have yet to sign up to Science Commons, a project launched to make research, data and resources easier to find online.

The authors argue that to make their research freely available, climate scientists must learn to give up control. Open-source software projects are governed by consensus and assessed through extensive and transparent peer review. Almost anyone with appropriate skills can access and develop parts of the project.

But an institution like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose actions are subject to intense scrutiny, may find it difficult to adopt an innovative and radically open approach to evaluating science, they say.

Barrett and Sowe suggest that the IPCC could 'test the waters' by establishing a new, experimental working group to tackle a specific topic with a truly open approach, from which the climate change community can draw lessons to be implemented in the IPCC's sixth assessment report.

Link to full article in OurWorld 2.0