How Shared, Open Data Can Help Us Better Overcome Disasters | WIRED

“Hopefully, interest in data about air quality and the difficulty in getting a comprehensive view will drive more people to consider an open data and approach over proprietary ones. Right now, big companies and governments are the largest users of data that we’ve handed to them—mostly for free—to lock up in their vaults. Pharmaceutical firms, for instance, use the data to develop drugs that save lives, but they could save more lives if their data were shared. We need to start using data for more than commercial exploitation, deploying it to understand the long-term effects of policy, and create transparency around those in power—not of private citizens. We need to flip the model from short-term commercial use to long-term societal benefit….”

OCLE: A European open access database on climate change effects on littoral and oceanic ecosystems – ScienceDirect

“Studies on historical and future distribution of marine species are frequently limited by the lack of relevant data on abiotic components (IPCC, 2014), especially when working over large areas (Robinson et al., 2017). Important advances have been achieved in the last years regarding availability of global information on physical and chemical driven forces affecting species distributions. WorldClim (Hijmans et al., 2005) marked a milestone in terrestrial species distribution studies, as it opened the opportunity to address global research studies with high resolution. Other databases including historical and projected variables in the terrestrial environment, mainly temperature and precipitation, such as Climond (Kriticos et al., 2012), Climate wizard (Girvetz et al., 2009) or Chelsea (Karger et al., 2016) have emerged recently. However, in the marine environment the number of global databases is limited. Bio-Oracle is the most valuable reference because it provides surface and benthic layers for water temperature, salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, sea ice, current velocity, phytoplankton, primary productivity, iron and light at high resolution and global coverage (Assis et al., 2017; Tyberghein et al., 2012). Other remarkable databases are MARSPEC (Sbrocco and Barber, 2013), offering variables derived from bathymetry, slope, salinity and sea surface temperature, Aquamaps (Ready et al., 2010), focused on marine animals, or Hexacoral (Fautin and Buddemeier, 2002), with the aim to understand spatial and temporal patterns in biogeochemistry and biogeography. Some databases cover both land and sea areas, such as the MERRAclim (Vega et al., 2017), which offers decadal data of 19 derived variables of air temperature and humidity atmospheric water vapour….

Trying to comply with these requirements and using the best data available, to our best knowledge, this study presents the open access database on climate change effects on littoral and oceanic ecosystems (OCLE), an ecological-driven database of present and future hazards for marine life in Europe….”

Data Sharing and Citations: New Author Guidelines Promoting Open and FAIR Data in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences – Science Editor

“New author guidelines supporting open and FAIR data in scholarly publishing are being adopted throughout the Earth, space, and environmental sciences community. With the new guidelines, supporting resources are provided. These include a new tool for finding the right repository and answers to frequently asked questions. Adoption of these new guidelines requires a shift in the scientific culture around data sharing. Support for this change is needed by researchers, institutions, funders, journals, repositories, and connecting infrastructure—which will advance research across the geosciences….”

How open data can help the world better manage coral reefs

Climate change is a complex, worldwide problem that needs a global solution. One part of which is good monitoring systems, that operate at a large scale. Broad scale datasets from these systems are required to understand how vulnerable ecosystems like coral reefs are changing, and to separate that information from natural variation.

Often, however, scientists that collect coral reef monitoring data do so in isolation. They work on independent research projects, or for relatively small programmes with specific local agenda, and so don’t always make their data available to the scientific community. The pressure on academic researchers to be the first to publish their findings also disincentives data sharing. So there can be a conflict of interest between the motivations of an individual scientist and the larger advancement of science.

More practically, getting data ready to share is time consuming, particularly when there aren’t standardised monitoring procedures or a good data management infrastructure in place. In the absence of good management, data can simply be lost as people move on, taking lab books, data sheets and external hard drives with them.

But these barriers can be overcome. Through, for example, open access journals that publish scientifically valuable datasets. Peer-reviewed, citable datasets with standardised meta-data promotes sharing and reusability, while also recognising the researchers behind it….”

EPA fight against ‘secret science’ slowed amid pushback from researchers – ABC News

“A furious public response has slowed down the Trump administration’s plan to stop using so-called “secret science,” a move that scientists complained could have restricted the types of research used to regulate toxins, pesticides and pollution….”

EPA quietly puts controversial ‘secret science’ plan on hold — for now – ThinkProgress

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears to have put a deeply controversial plan limiting the use of scientific data in policymaking on hold for the time being. The move follows significant outcry from experts and the agency’s own staff….

On its face, that push for transparency might resonate with some — but experts have repeatedly emphasized that confidential data is private for a reason. Making it public could violate patient privacy or industry confidentiality, in many instances breaking the law and potentially allowing for distortions of the information. Limiting the data government officials can use, meanwhile, could hinder efforts to protect both human health and the environment….”

Environmental Protection Agency Rule on ‘Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science’ – SPARC

“SPARC has serious concerns with this proposed rule and calls for it to be rescinded in the detailed response submitted on July 18, 2018. The rule claims to support Open Research Data, however, it calls for the EPA to only use studies whose underlying data is openly available for the purpose of replicating/validating the studies’ conclusions. Basing important policymaking decisions off of studies where the underlying data must be publicly accessible deliberately excludes the use of a wide swath of important data sets – including key longitudinal studies that underpin current clean air and water regulations. SPARC calls for the proposed rule to be rescinded….”

EPA: Wheeler punts Pruitt’s science overhaul — Wednesday, October 17, 2018 —

“Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler has put Scott Pruitt’s plan to restrict the science used in crafting new regulations on the back burner.

The draft rule issued when Pruitt was EPA administrator — titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” — was listed under “long-term actions” in the administration’s fall 2018 regulatory plan released last night, with an expected completion date of January 2020.

In regulatory parlance, that means the proposal is not a top agency priority at the moment….”