The COVID-19 pandemic and open science

–  Valeria Arza and Agustina Colonna

Research Center for Transformation (CENIT), Economics and Business School, National University of San Martin

6 May 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes throughout the world in only a matter of weeks. Humanity is facing a problem without precedent; the final effects are yet uncertain and most of us have been forced to drastically change our routines and behaviors in a way we have never imagined. Big challenges often boost creativity and promote important transformations in society, and this has been the case with the coronavirus crisis. Note for instance the many solidarity initiatives ranging from fund-raising schemes and food banks, to volunteers assisting individuals in high-risk groups, together with several citizen-led resources that have been created or adapted to help find our way through the pandemic (EU Citizen Science 2020). Another relevant example has been the drastic change in many information markets, where thousands of resources such as books, museum exhibitions and movies have been temporarily opened for the community free of cost.

For science, the particular challenge posed by this situation is immense, as the spread of coronavirus has created urgent and life-threatening problems. Solutions must then be fast, while the

By |2021-04-18T18:50:25+01:00May 6th, 2020|Blogs|0 Comments

Modernity without its clothes: the pandemic crisis shines a light on futilities of control

Andy Stirling

This blog was originally published on the STEPS Centre blog.

With so many self-appointed pundits (like me!) currently locked down with their laptops, the present rush of commentary on how to pivot the coronavirus crisis is hardly surprising. Beyond the general news and commentary, scores of articles are exploding across the media, diagnosing what this global catastrophe means, and prescribing how it can be turned to variously-held positive ends.

Understandably, dozens of these contributions focus on renewing – or reversing impeded – action on climate change. But other strongly-pursued aims include reforming academic orthodoxiesreimagining universitiesenhancing scientific collaborationde-globalising infrastructuresaccelerating energy transitionsbuilding resilienceadvancing conservationmobilising political movementsimproving social justicereducing consumptionachieving the Sustainable Development Goalsrejuvenating democracyreorienting capitalismrestructuring the economybuilding a greener worldresisting ecofascism; and generally steering possible futures to save the planet. All eloquently voiced, several of these agendas coincide. I would strongly support many of them.

But there is another point

By |2021-04-18T19:01:39+01:00April 17th, 2020|Blogs|0 Comments

COVID-19 and Sustainability

– John Robinson

Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto.

15 April 2020

The plethora of articles about the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis makes me think of the Danish saying, (sometimes attributed to Niels Bohr) “it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future”. Many articles provide a mixture of highly plausible projections, mixed in with some wishful thinking. However, I think it is fair to say that such lists consist almost entirely of what might be called first-order predictions: expectations about the immediate consequences of COVID-19. Another saying I like is that the only law of sociology is the law of unanticipated consequences, and I think there will be lots of second and third-order effects that may take us in entirely different directions, even if many of the first order prognostications turn out to be correct. My own personal view is that the second order consequences of any major socio-technical system change are often in the opposite direction of the first order consequences, and bigger. Think of projections of IT leading to the paperless office or of highway building leading to less congestion. The

By |2020-11-26T17:14:49+00:00April 15th, 2020|Blogs|0 Comments

Global solidarity in science and innovation will stop COVID-19 and speed the SDGs

– John Ouma-Mugabe

Professor of Science and Innovation Policy, Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM), University of Pretoria

27 March 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is exposing the complex organic interrelationships of science, innovation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An invisible virus, COVID-19 is a threat to humanity and the world’s economies. It is intricately linked to our delicate social, economic, technological and ecological systems. COVID-19 may have been caused by human activities and their impacts on the environment. In The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It, Jonathan Quick, notes that deforestation, climate change and rapid urbanization contribute to the emergence of new pathogens that pose global health risks.[1]

COVID-19 may undermine prospects of attaining some of the SDGs. For example, it is already causing disruptions in the transitions to SDG8 (decent work and employment) and SDG9 (fostering industry, innovation and infrastructure). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate that the global economy will contract by at least 50%, with GDP growth expected to be 1.5% instead of the 3% that had been projected at the beginning of this year.[2] The decline in

By |2020-11-26T17:15:04+00:00March 27th, 2020|Blogs|0 Comments
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