Nullius in Verba1: Advancing Data Transparency in Industrial Ecology


With the growth of the field of industrial ecology (IE), research and results have increased significantly leading to a desire for better utilization of the accumulated data in more sophisticated analyses. This implies the need for greater transparency, accessibility, and reusability of IE data, paralleling the considerable momentum throughout the sciences. The Data Transparency Task Force (DTTF) was convened by the governing council of the International Society for Industrial Ecology in late 2016 to propose best‐practice guidelines and incentives for sharing data. In this article, the members of the DTTF present an overview of developments toward transparent and accessible data within the IE community and more broadly. We argue that increased transparency, accessibility, and reusability of IE data will enhance IE research by enabling more detailed and reproducible research, and also facilitate meta‐analyses. These benefits will make the results of IE work more timely. They will enable independent verification of results, thus increasing their credibility and quality. They will also make the uptake of IE research results easier within IE and in other fields as well as by decision makers and sustainability practitioners, thus increasing the overall relevance and impact of the field. Here, we present two initial actions intended to advance these goals: (1) a minimum publication requirement for IE research to be adopted by the Journal of Industrial Ecology; and (2) a system of optional data openness badges rewarding journal articles that contain transparent and accessible data. These actions will help the IE community to move toward data transparency and accessibility. We close with a discussion of potential future initiatives that could build on the minimum requirements and the data openness badge system.

Journal of Industrial Ecology