Notes #14


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Transition Costs for Open Science

Open Science is one of the current buzzwords in research policy. Like with so many ideas hyped, the idea is great, the challenges of operationalization – not at least the costs – however are often ignored. The recently published report (in Dutch) on the Transition Costs for Open Science in the Netherlands provides an interesting and in-depth analysis of costs, and importantly, the re-allocation of budgets, required under various scenarios to implement an open science policy in The Netherlands. The costs are surprisingly modest, I expected much higher numbers.

The total annual transition costs of the scenarios in relative terms (compared to the current spend on open science) ranges between 3-6% of the research budget in scenario ‘Business as usual’ and 10-20% in scenario ‘ahead of the rest of the world’.

Robert Consultancy & Technopolis Group, September 2019, Transition costs for open science in the Netherlands

Stumbled over …

A flood of social media post pointing to information on the link between sustainability and digitalization in all its various aspects. This nexus seems a surging issue and is quite diverse in terms of where and from what perspective it is addressed.

For example, the German Umweltbundesamt (BUA) – a federal level public administrational body – released a paper on Digitalisierung nachhaltig gestalten (Shaping a sustainable digitalization). It very much follows the comprehensive and coherent framing initially set out in the ‘Our Common Digital Future’ – a Charter for a Sustainable Digital Age, building on the landmark WBGU report Towards our Common Digital Future (see also Notes #7).

Also, a group of authors from academia, international organisations, research networks, civil society organistions etc. published a lengthy article with the title: Are these the 20 top priorities in 2020 for a digital ecosystem for Earth? They state that:

(…) the time is right for the creation of a digital ecosystem for Earth: a set of nested, fully integrated global environmental monitoring, data-sharing, and decision-support systems designed to enhance precautionary, predictive, and adaptive environmental governance. In our vision, a digital ecosystem for Earth is built to support constructive action towards sustainability, and is both co-designed and consulted by governments, large organizations, as well as individual citizens.

David Jensen, Karen Bakker, Christopher Reimer, et al. 2020

Subsequently they sketch an extensive set of principles and targets to which I might dedicate a longer separate text, especially because of their recommendation to put UNEP in charge of efforts to implement the sustainable digital ecosystem. Have they ever visited a UNEP website? Have they ever dealt with any UNEP electronic process? Sure, I understand the governance architecture argument but UNEP is not fit for purpose at current.

And finally, I stumbled over a collection of videos from the Chaos Computer Club on (a rather eclectic set of) issues related to the digitalization and sustainability nexus.

Recommended reading

Side note: the journal Environmental Communication is affiliated with the International Environment Communication Association (IECA). Between 2017 and 2019, I had the honor to serve on the Board of Directors of this small but exciting professional association and recommend everyone interested in communication and environment to become a member!

In other news

#Climate Change#Data & Digitalization#Emerging Technologies#Finance#International Environmental Ccommunication Association (IECA)#Open Data#Open Science#Science Communication#Statistics#Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)#Umweltbundesamt#United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)