A new series of interdisciplinary Frontiers journals and sections aims to speed up solutions for sustainable development — the greatest global challenge of our time. Covering the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), our Open Science for Sustainability initiative makes rigorously peer-reviewed sustainability research articles openly and freely available to everybody in the world in order to accelerate the scientific and technological solutions we so urgently need to build a sustainable future.
Urgent need for solutions
As the world population grows from 7.4 to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, the earth is entering the Anthropocene — the first period in history in which a single species has placed basic earth systems in danger. We are in a race against time to find new solutions for tackling climate change and protecting the environment while at the same time ending poverty and fighting inequalities. The UN SDGs provide a framework for governments, cities, businesses and communities to achieve these goals by 2030.
Open Science for a sustainable future
Science and technology are at the heart of meeting the SDGs. As former UN President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson states: “The transformative power of science, innovation and technology is abundantly clear. We must take the necessary steps to ensure that the potential inherent in exponential technological innovations is unlocked to our advantage.”
Leveraging the collective intelligence of diverse research communities is critical, but severely hindered: 93% of sustainability research is published behind paywalls and therefore not accessible to most researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators. For societal transformation to take place, all stakeholders need to benefit from new discoveries.
“New knowledge and tools must spread beyond academic walls to accelerate the development of much-needed solutions,” says Dr Fred Fenter, Frontiers’ Executive Editor. “Scientists, policy-makers and businesses must connect and become more involved in the sustainability discussion. For this to happen, science needs to be openly and freely available to everybody.”
Open Science tools, research articles and data empower researchers, citizens and companies to combine knowledge rapidly and efficiently. This facilitates new discoveries and new sustainability solutions, while simultaneously boosting economies.
Frontiers research supports the SDGs
Frontiers already publishes thousands of rigorously peer-reviewed, impactful articles addressing sustainability research across 66 academic disciplines. As shown in the infographic below, these range from renewable energy and sustainable city development to education and marine conservation and sustainability. Our research topics support collaboration on new approaches to stress tolerance in plants and climate change adaptation and mitigation, to name just two.
“The Frontiers in journal series recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary research in tackling complex, systems-level problems and has the flexibility to develop rapidly in new areas of science,” says Prof. Robert Rees, Specialty Chief Editor, Climate Smart Food Systems.
A new journal launched last month, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, extends the contribution to the sustainable production of safe, nutritious and accessible food to the growing global population. Its first sections include Climate-Smart Food Systems, Sustainable Food Processing and Agro Food Safety. Other sections in the pipeline include Land and Livelihoods, Tech Innovations and Consumer Behavior.
The journal also includes Policy Briefs — a new article type designed to serve as a decision-making tool by summarizing key issues and actionable recommendations on specific topics.
Two new journals are planned for early 2018: Frontiers in Forests and Global Change and Frontiers in Sustainable Business. Future journals and sections will address other key sustainability topics, including sustainable economies, inequalities and resource management.
“Humanity has pushed the boundaries of knowledge to achieve unparalleled growth and development, but at the expense of the planet’s fragile systems,” says Linoy Markram, Sustainability Project Manager at Frontiers. “The Frontiers Sustainability Program will help turn this around. By bringing new, interdisciplinary research to everyone around the world, we can together meet the SDGs and so build a safe and healthy future for people and the planet.”
Current Frontiers journals and sections publishing research related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals