07 January 2009

Climate Change Implies Open Access

One of the answers to What Will Change Everything? is - reasonably enough - climate change. But interestingly it focuses on the way that climate change will mean that science itself must adapt and become more interventional:

Climate may well force on us a major change in how science is distilled into major findings. There are many examples of the ponderous nature of big organizations and big projects. While I think that the IPCC deserves every bit of its hemi-Nobel, the emphasis on "certainty" and the time required for a thousand scientists and a hundred countries to reach unanimous agreement probably added up to a considerable delay in public awareness and political action.

Climate will change our ways of doing science, making some areas more like medicine with its combination of science and interventional activism, where delay to resolve uncertainties is often not an option. Few scientists are trained to think this way — and certainly not climate scientists, who are having to improvise as the window of interventional opportunity shrinks.

One consequence of this is that science will have to adopt open access. The pace and seriousness of climate change means that humanity does not have the "luxury" of hiding scientific results for six or twelve months: everything must be out in the open as soon as possible for others to use and build on. Delaying could literally be fatal on a rather large scale....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the government will issue us with free fur coats!. p