Climate change research aims to understand global environmental change and how it will impact nature and society. The broad scope of climate change impacts means that successful adaptation and mitigation efforts will require an unprecedented collaboration effort that unites diverse disciplines and is able to rapidly respond to evolving climate issues (IPCC, 2014). However, to achieve this aim, climate change research practices need updating: key research findings remain behind journal paywalls, and scientific progress can be impeded by low levels of reproducibility and transparency (Ellison, 2010; Morueta-Holme et al., 2018), individual data ownership (Hampton et al., 2015), and inefficient research workflows (Lowndes et al., 2017). Furthermore, the level of public interest and policy engagement on climate change issues relies on fast communication of academic research to public institutions, with the result that the societal impact of climate change studies will differ according to their public availability and exposure. Here, we argue that by adopting open science (OS) principles, scientists can advance climate change research and accelerate efforts to mitigate impacts; especially for highly vulnerable developing regions of the world where research capacity is limited. We underscore the specific benefits of OS in raising the academic and societal impact of climate change research using citation and media metrics.
An integrated understanding of both social and ecological aspects of environmental issues is essential to address pressing sustainability challenges. An integrated social-ecological systems perspective is purported to provide a better understanding of the complex relationships between humans and nature. Despite a threefold increase in the amount of social-ecological research published between 2010 and 2015, it is unclear whether these approaches have been truly integrative. We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the conceptual, methodological, disciplinary, and functional aspects of social-ecological integration. In general, we found that overall integration is still lacking in social-ecological research. Some social variables deemed important for addressing sustainability challenges are underrepresented in social-ecological studies, e.g., culture, politics, and power. Disciplines such as ecology, urban studies, and geography are better integrated than others, e.g., sociology, biology, and public administration. In addition to ecology and urban studies, biodiversity conservation plays a key brokerage role in integrating other disciplines into social-ecological research. Studies founded on systems theory have the highest rates of integration. Highly integrative studies combine different types of tools, involve stakeholders at appropriate stages, and tend to deliver practical recommendations. Better social-ecological integration must underpin sustainability science. To achieve this potential, future social-ecological research will require greater attention to the following: the interdisciplinary composition of project teams, strategic stakeholder involvement, application of multiple tools, incorporation of both social and ecological variables, consideration of bidirectional relationships between variables, and identification of implications and articulation of clear policy recommendations.
The pursuit of interdisciplinarity in the marine sciences is at last beginning to come into its own, but the kind of interdisciplinarity that bridges the social, human, health, and natural science realms remains rare. This article traces the evolution of my own history of interdisciplinarity from its early days when I worked in two disciplines, to the present when I have worked with many others to bring together the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and earth/ocean sciences in large projects that illuminate the interconnectedness of all these parts of knowledge acquisition. In the process, I have broadened my intellectual vision both in scope and scale, uncovering the many ways in which, quite pragmatically, the very local and the international are more tightly interconnected than is often realized, with all the implications for fisheries governance that that implies. This, then, is both a story and, I hope, a pathway to a rewarding way for young and middle-career fisheries scholars to pursue their research.
The second OceanCanada Partnership conference was held in Vancouver from May 24-27 on the beautiful grounds of the University of British Columbia. The conference brought together more than 60 researchers, students and post-doctoral fellows, advisory board members, community and institutional partners to take stock of our activities and work towards an integrated research agenda. Through […]
OceanCanada investigators joined researchers from around the world to explore integrated ocean, coastal, lake and watershed management at the 2016 CoastalZone Conference in Toronto, June 12-16. Download the full conference schedule Geographic Information and Coastal Zone Management: An Example from Nunavut Sarah Arnold (University of Manitoba), Angela Young (Fishing and Sealing Division, Department of Environment, Government […]
The Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University is seeking a candidate for an interdisciplinary PhD. Successful candidates will apply for admissions through the Interdisciplinary PhD Program at Dalhousie University. PhD: Socioeconomics of prioritizing network connectivity for MPAs Supervisors: Dr. Megan Bailey and Dr. Lucia Fanning Funding: Three years of NSERC stipend Start date: January 2017 Description: The […]
Dr. Rashid Sumaila participated in the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies The International Research Colloquium on Monday, 27 April 2015, showcasing the novel approaches to research currently used by OceanCanada and allied projects. Sumaila and other project leaders outlined key “levers” they have identified, which could turn the ocean and its fisheries from decline into […]