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A Year in the Open Climate Campaign

“River Banner” by Impact Media Lab for Creative Commons is licensed via CC BY 4.0.

If we are going to solve climate change, the knowledge about it must be open. Only 47% of research papers on climate change are open. That means less than half of all climate research can be read by the public, researchers, journalists, educators, policy makers, students and others seeking to mobilize this knowledge in mitigations and solutions for climate change. One year ago, Creative Commons and our partners — SPARC & EIFL with the guidance of the Steering Committee — launched the Open Climate Campaign to address the lack of access to climate change research. Comprising 11 goals, the Open Climate Campaign’s mission is to make the open sharing of research the norm in climate science.

The Campaign was successfully launched on 30 August 2022 and was covered by the International Science Council, Infodocket, Research Information, Nature, and Axios Brief. We began by developing campaign materials — for our target audiences — to advertise the Campaign and to persuade researchers, librarians, national governments, environmental organizations and funders the free and open sharing of the research they create and fund is key to addressing climate change. We leveraged these materials to organize and present at 39 events to connect with our target audiences. We partnered with the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative to secure open access benchmark data for climate change publications, and drafted a report on the legal and policy barriers to open access; both activities helped the Campaign understand the landscape of open access in climate change research.

In Year One, the Campaign began working with National Governments and partnered with the Open Research Funder’s Group to offer a policy development program for funders of climate change research. The Campaign secured endorsements from several organizations including, but not limited to, PLOS, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Digital Public Goods Alliance.

In keeping with the global focus of the Campaign, we also began recruiting for a working group of open access and climate change experts — in the global south — to ensure inclusive outcomes throughout the campaign. Finally, we made progress on the Campaign’s unbinding work by beginning to form relationships with publishers and open access tools to facilitate the opening of past climate change publications.

The Open Climate Campaign is looking forward to leveraging this success and progress into Year 2 as the Campaign continues to work on developing open access policies with national governments, funders, and environmental organizations in service of changing the culture of sharing in climate change research.

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