Data Sharing, Open Access, and Climate Justice (POST 5)

Beginning in January 2023, data sharing will become a requirement for all NIH grant-funded research. This is just one example of a broader push towards the open sharing of data among scientists and researchers. This movement was motivated by the reproducibility crisis and research waste in academic publishing. Sharing data openly allows scientists to check the work of others, attempt to replicate studies, avoid duplication by learning from negative results, and inspire future research through data reuse.

When it comes to climate change and climate justice, data sharing is also important. In the article Information as Power: Democratizing Environmental Data, Annie Brett (2022) provides a historical overview of environmental data systems, noting that much environmental data of the past has been hard to access, even for the very people supplying the data, who are often the ones directly affected by climate change.  These data systems have historically “concentrate[d] power” in the hands of the government or private corporations, and “new calls to open environmental data have the potential to shift these norms,” especially if infrastructure is improved to make data more accessible.

One example of newly developed and publicly available infrastructure that the federal government designed to address climate justice directly is the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. It brings together publicly available datasets to map disadvantaged communities. While it was developed for federal programs to ensure their efforts benefit environmentally disadvantaged communities, anyone designing research or programs can use it. Read the White House press release. The tool is still in its beta version, and feedback is actively solicited.

For more information, tips, and resources on sharing your scientific data, please visit the library’s guide on data management.


Brett, A. (2022). Information as Power: Democratizing Environmental Data. Utah Law Review, 127.