Open for climate justice – Open Access week and healthcare publications

For the final post in our Open Access Week series, we consider climate justice and health

Aerial View of City With Yellow Trees and Road

Climate change and health

Since a stable climate is a critical factor for human health, climate change may be the biggest public health hazard now confronting humanity. It is vital that significant and coordinated changes in policy are made to effectively confront this worldwide crisis (1) (2). Sadly, the most vulnerable members of society such as children and the elderly, members of racial and ethnic minorities, residents of low-income areas, and those with underlying medical issues are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. Recent commitments to cut emissions and protect biodiversity are welcome, but alone they are insufficient and must be supported by viable short- and long-term plans (3).

Open for Climate Justice

A poster for international open access week

The theme of International Open Access Week this year presents all of us with an opportunity to highlight the importance of raising awareness, taking action and coming together on open access publications that could help us achieve climate justice.

Research shows that open access strengthens societies and advances science by giving instant and unrestricted access to the latest research findings. This means accelerating breakthroughs and opening up opportunities for fresh ideas, which ultimately improve human life. In a nutshell, the benefits of open are: (4)

  • Greater impact
  • Wider global audience
  • Supports innovation and advances discovery
  • Compliance with open access mandates

Open access is pivotal to sharing knowledge and expertise to create a healthier world. By placing importance on increasing the reach and use of what is published, we re-shape the way clinical research is conducted and disseminated (4).

Further reading

These open access articles consider climate change in connection to its effects on our health:

Health effects of climate change: an overview of systematic reviews

Public health institutes and the fight against climate change

Health impacts of climate change and health and social inequalities in the UK

References

1.         USGCRP. Fourth National Climate Assessment [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH14

2.         Maibach E, Miller J, Armstrong F, El Omrani O, Zhang Y, Philpott N, et al. Health professionals, the Paris agreement, and the fierce urgency of now. J Clim Change Health. 2021 Mar 1;1:100002.

3.         Atwoli L, Baqui AH, Benfield T, Bosurgi R, Godlee F, Hancocks S, et al. Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health. BMJ. 2021 Sep 6;374:n1734.

4.         BMJ. What is open access; its benefits & other FAQs | BMJ [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/company/openaccess/open-access-faq/