COP28: Switzerland’s Frontiers Introduces an ‘Open Science Charter’

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In a series of panel discussions and special events, Lausanne-based Frontiers is rolling out its ‘Open Science Charter’ at COP28 in Dubai.

At COP28’s November 30 opening in Dubai. Image: COP28 Dubai, United Nations Climate Change

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘To Support Global Efforts To Combat Climate Change’
In research and science publishing today (November 30), the opening of the United Nations Climate Change meetings in Dubai at COP28 have had the collaboration of the Lausanne-based Frontiers “open science platform” and the Frontiers Research Foundation.

The nonprofit foundation, less familiar to Publishing Perspectives readers than the scholarly publisher, was created in 2006 by Henry and Kamila Markram in Lausanne, and holds as the first of its principles the flashpoint of so much climate-crisis debate today: “Human activity is destabilizing the global ecosystem,” the foundation’s lead message reads, “threatening life on the planet. It is a complex and huge problem to solve, but science can provide the solutions, with the scientific method ensuring that the knowledge used to build our future society is objective, robust, and reproducible.”

“During COP28,” the company’s media messaging today reads, “Frontiers will showcase its latest initiatives to support global efforts to combat climate change, achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and fulfill the goal of becoming net-zero by 2050.

Making news at COP28, the attending nations have approved details of a fund to provide cash to vulnerable countries in climate crises. As Chico Harlan writes at the Washington Post, “The ‘loss and damage’ fund is an unprecedented effort to reduce the inequities of a warming planet, where some of the poorest countries tend to be the hardest-hit.”

Frontiers, establishing both its interest and its brand prominently in COP activities in the United Arab Emirates—where COP28 runs through December 12—has today opened its role as a supporting partner with the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub

That sponsorship has featured an opening panel, introducing and promoting the signing at COP28 of the Frontiers Foundation’s presentation of its “Open Science Charter.”

Speaking to that effort in the opening panel moderated by Jorn Verbeeck of KPMG, were:

  • Nitin Arora, project manager, UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub
  • Massamba Thioye, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Kirsten Dunlop, CEO, Climate-KIC
  • Dennis Pamlin, executive director, Mission Innovation
  • Martin Wainstein, executive director, Open Earth Foundation
  • Andy Deacon, co-managing director, Global Covenant of Mayor
  • Luis Neves, CEO, Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative
  • Frederick Fenter, chief executive editor, Frontiers
  • Stephan de Haas, head of co-Cceation and client consulting, T-Systems International

More sessions with Frontiers’ support and participation include:

  • “Systems Change and Innovation for Climate and Sustainability Action”
  • “Pathways to a Sustainable Earth: Unlocking Solutions through Transformational Science”
  • “Embracing Open Science for the Climate Crisis: Collaborative Solutions for a Resilient Future”

And the introduction of the Open Science Charter is the focus and main action of a session on Sunday (December 2) at 2 p.m. in Dubai, when “Open Science for Inclusive and Transformative Climate and Sustainability Innovation” is moderated by Frontiers’ Henry Markram, with:

  • Vladimir Ryabinin, UNESCO assistant director-general; executive secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • Maria Espinosa, former UN General Assembly president and; former Ecuador external affairs minister
  • Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Climate Change and Health Unit Head, World Health Organization
  • Gavin McCormick, executive director, WattTime; co-founder, Climate TRACE
  • Lars Peter Riishøjgaard, director, World Meteorological Organization

The four main areas in which the new Open Science Charter looks to gain buy-in from its signatories are:

  • Unrestricted access to scientific knowledge by 2030: Commit to transitioning all published research articles from subscription to fully open-access models before the end of this decade
  • Uphold peer-review quality: Preserve and champion the core values of scientific publishing, including registration, validation, certification, and perpetual conservation of scientific findings
  • Transparent pricing linked to quality: Adopt transparent financial models that directly correlate the price of publication with the quality of services offered
  • Strengthen trust in science: Make the knowledge available to the public who helped pay for it and who will benefit from its accessibility

And in terms of publications, watch for Frontiers’ presentation of The Zero Emissions Commitment and Climate Stabilization in the journal Frontiers in Science, an article getting a special rollout at COP28 by the publisher for its examination of “the concept of zero emissions commitment (ZEC), which quantifies the amount of global warming that would occur after greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to zero.”

The IPA-UN SDG Publishers Compact

Meanwhile, of course, Publishing Perspectives‘ international professional publishing readers are familiar with a charter of their own, created by the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the United Nations.

Opened at Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2020, the SDG Publishers Compact’s signatories count has soared and publishers, both trade and academic, are welcome to engage and endorse that program, which has as its own 10 points of agreed responsibility:

  • Committing to the SDGs: Stating sustainability policies and targets on the signatory’s site, including adherence to this compact; incorporating SDGs and their targets as appropriate
  • Actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for themes represented by the SDGs, such as equality, sustainability, justice, and safeguarding and strengthening the environment
  • Annually reporting on progress toward achieving SDGs, sharing data and contributing to benchmarking activities, helping to share best practices and identify gaps that still need to be addressed
  • Nominating a person [in the signatory company] who will promote SDG progress, acting as a point of contact and coordinating the SDG themes throughout the organization
  • Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among staffers to increase awareness of SDG-related policies and goals and encouraging projects that will help achieve the SDGs by 2030
  • Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among suppliers, to advocate for SDGs and to collaborate on areas that need innovative actions and solutions
  • Becoming an advocate to customers and stakeholders by promoting and actively communicating about the SDG agenda through marketing, sites online, promotions and projects
  • Collaborating across cities, countries, and continents with other signatories and organizations to develop, localize, and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs individually or through [the company’s]
  • Dedicating budget and other resources toward accelerating progress for SDG-dedicated projects and promoting SDG principles
  • Taking action on at least one SDG goal—either as an individual publisher or through your national publishing association—and sharing progress annually

More from Publishing Perspectives on open access is here, more on scholarly and academic publishing is here, more on scholarly journals is here, more on the Swiss market is here, more on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is here, more on the climate crisis is here, and more on the SDG Publishers Compact is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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