It is Open Access Week again, and this year the theme is Open For Climate Justice. Programs will be held at libraries and universities around the world to encourage communities to collaborate to address this important issue. Climate change does not and will not affect everyone around the world equally. Richer nations and those in power will be able to weather the effects of climate change much more easily than poorer nations or underrepresented communities. Access and control of data and information about climate change can play a part in ameliorating this imbalance, as “equitable knowledge sharing” can help address the “inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them” (SPARC).
The library will publish a series of posts this week designed to help the Jefferson community appreciate in more detail how the open sharing of information is critical to our future. We will discuss how information, or a lack of it, can affect power imbalances, and we will highlight several projects that seek to make data related to the intersection of climate justice and health more open.
This series will also highlight a few Thomas Jefferson University community members who have already dedicated themselves to raising awareness about the intersections of climate change and health. Recently, Dr. Edith Mitchel published an editorial in the Journal of the National Medical Association, calling on physicians and clinicians to “influence the impact of policies related to diminishing the effects of….climate change on the health risks of individuals.” She told Larissa Gordon, Scott Library’s Scholarly Communications Librarian, that it was “very important” for individuals to “have access to important information regarding [the] potential impact” that climate change has “on wellness, wellbeing and healthcare.”
Dr. Natalie Antosh, a third-year resident at Jefferson, gave a Grand Rounds presentation on this topic to the Department of Family and Community Medicine last month. This talk is openly available on Jefferson’s institutional repository, the Jefferson Digital Commons (JDC). Dr. Antosh believes that this type of open access “is crucial in minimizing barriers to educational resources” to help everyone become more aware of “important topics such as the intersection of climate change and health.”
Stay tuned to Library News to learn more about the intersection of climate justice and health care, and about how the open sharing of information can address this issue. To follow activities taking place around the world related to this year’s Open Access Week theme use the Twitter hashtag #openforclimatejustice.