Coordinated global change research – the ICSU perspective



Bottom-up collaboration between scientists across borders is expanding, as shown by authorship analyses. It is also fruitful, since publications with authors from several countries have, on the average, higher impact than single-country papers. Coordinated international collaboration is needed to address complex problems in a strategic and interdisciplinary fashion. The International Council for Science (ICSU) organized the International Geophysical Year in 1957, which fostered research in global environmental change from the geosciences perspective. The scope of research interest soon expanded, first into other “hard” natural sciences, then into biological and ecological sciences, and finally into social sciences. To coordinate international research, ICSU with partners set up four interdisciplinary programs, with the focus first on climate (WCRP), then on the geosphere-biosphere (IGBP), ecology and biodiversity (Diversitas), and finally the the human dimension (IHDP). These programs produced most of the science reviewed by the IPCC in its assessments and advice to policymakers

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