July 23, 2023:

Based on the editor’s suggestions (see the update of June 21 below), we are calling for high-level discussions on the following items:

  • Science-i makes global proprietary data available to under-represented researchers for high-impact research.
  • Science-i complements, rather than competes with, other data platforms.
  • Science-i promotes open data, while respecting data owners’ needs for data confidentiality.
  • How Science-i can be improved to better accommodate and support other data platforms and FAO’s mission to make forest data open?

Please email me (jjliang@purdue.edu) if you would like to contribute to the discussion.


June 21, 2023:
Dear all,
I sent a pre-submission inquiry to Nature Ecology&Evolution. Based on the editor’s response (below), we are invited to submit this article as a “Comment”, pending revision as suggested by the editor.

“Dear Professor Liang

Thank you very much for your enquiry about submitting a manuscript to Nature Ecology & Evolution. I’ve now had a chance to discuss your work with my colleagues. If we are to further consider a submission along these lines, it would be in our Comment format. Comment pieces are opinion-led articles of ideally up to 1800 words, with 1-2 figures, designed to be solutions-oriented and very accessible to a broad readership.

We are certainly interested in the topic, but feel there is currently considerable conceptual overlap with a Comment we published last year by de Lima et al. entitled “Making forest data fair and open” (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-022-01738-7). We also feel that the descriptions of the proposed cyberinfrastructure are currently rather too detailed for our Comment format. However, we do feel that there are distinctions between this and the previous Comment, in terms of your specific recommendations for using collaborative networks to address the commonly-identified issues.

We would be prepared to consider a revised version that is more explictly distinguished from the Comment article from de Lima et al. We expect that such a revision might have a somewhat more upfront focus on the Science-i initiative – in other words, that the piece might be framed more explicitly around this initiative rather than it being at the end of the piece. However, we would be keen to see this in a broad context, rather than only profiling this initiative. We would also anticipate that the description of the cyberinfrastucture be considerably shortened, and the overall piece provide a more critical appraisal of the proposals put forward eg. feasibility, costs, hosting, integration with other data platforms etc. This is essential to avoid the piece coming across as an “ad” for the initiative, and to avoid an impression of a cyberinfrastructure being presented as a single ‘fix’ for all the equity issues presented at the start of the piece.”

April 29th, 2023:

Dear Coauthors,

Our final draft is ready for your proofreading:





Our Author Onboarding Procedure (AOP) requires two steps: 1) proofread the manuscript, and 2) enter your name and contact information in the Google Sheet below, in exactly the same way you want them to appear in our final publication:


Please complete AOP within 2 weeks (by May 15th, 2023), if you want to be listed as a coauthor of this article.

Thank you,






January 13, 2023:

Dear all,

I have finished a rough draft of whitepaper entitled “Reducing inequality in science through cyber-innovated global partnership.” You can access a copy of this manuscript at (please keep it strictly confidential):


This whitepaper is partly based on our 2022 Science-I webinar series, and is intended to be submitted for publication in Policy Forums (Science) or Opinions (PNAS).

At this early stage, I am inviting specific contributions from volunteers (one or two paragraphs from each person) in the following areas:

  • Hurdles facing the indigenous communities in participating in forest research and decision-making in climate actions;
  • Inequalities in academia, especially in terms of publications in big journals such as PNAS;
  • Global partnership, and its importance in addressing fundamental questions in forest sciences;
  • How the proposed CI can be supported by the commercial sector.

Please contact me <jjliang at purdue.edu> if you would like to volunteer on specific questions, or if you have any additional suggestions.

I’d appreciate it if you could send me your paragraphs within two(2) weeks.

 Many thanks,




Welcome to the development of 2022 Science-i Whitepaper entitled Empower the under-represented for forests and climate action

1. You can access the draft manuscript at:


Please use “Suggesting” mode to add your edits/comments

2. If you cannot access Google Doc, you can also access the draft manuscript below.

3. For major edits and suggestions for re-organization, please initiate a ‘Discussions’ thread

4. Please keep everything in this project confidential until its publication.






Title: Empower the under-represented for forests and climate action






Although many scientific communities across the world are improving their diversity, equity, and inclusion, forest science continues to struggle with workforce diversity. To address this disparity, we organized Science-i Global Webinar Series 2022 and invited global audiences to join our guest speakers from the Amazon Web Services, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, National Indian Carbon Coalition, SilvaCarbon, and Science Magazine in developing this article.

This article was produced from the transcribed conversation and dialogue on the topic, between the audiences and guest speakers. All participating audiences were invited as coauthors of this whitepaper, provided that one have completed all the following tasks: a) participated in at least three of the four webinars; b) contributed to the idea development and manuscript writing; and c) completed all required authorship documents according to the timeline to be specified in Science-i.


Main Structure

Problem Statement

Under-represented in decision-making

Many scientists in our audience have often been frustrated at how little their advice is heard by decision-making institutions with the most outstanding example being the ill pathway that anthropogenic global change has taken so far. Viewing the current trends in science democratization (which involves having greater influence of the public over science and that influence being shared more equally among members of the public – a good example being citizen science), from the perspective of a UN implementing agency, what is FAO doing to incentivize this dialogue between science, decision-makers and international organizations?

We are today witnessing the empowerment of underrepresented communities both in science, and, possibly to a lesser degree, in government action. What has been specifically your experience watching this enlightenment both in regards to gender (including LGBTQIA+ community) ?

Nowadays much of the activism behind climate protests is spearheaded by young women, many of them from underrepresented geographies. As a woman, how do you see the  future role of women in decision-making? Could you suggest some basic steps where gender inclusion in science and government in developing countries could be enhanced in the formulation of ground-breaking climate policies?

Under-represented in forest monitoring

Forest monitoring is traditionally an expensive enterprise usually taken by either researchers, timber companies or governments. In recent years, however, local and indigenous communities have taken more proactive roles in monitoring their forests in an effort to incentivize stewardship of their forest lands. Strengthening land tenure has been critical in climate change mitigation, particularly in Latin America. Could you mention some anecdotal evidence on the use of monitoring tools or systems to strengthen land tenure based on your experience? [notes: use of tool for land tenure purposes/ empowerment]

In regards to forest monitoring, you have experienced a recent push of Latin American countries towards  establishing a collaborative network of governments in the exchange of experiences behind forest inventories. Are there lessons to learn from South-South cooperation and how could we open these government-led initiatives to researchers across the Globe?

The challenge of data openness and transparency

We are in the big data era, a clear example having come from the COVID-19 pandemic. And availability of forest-related data is also becoming widespread to scientists. However, many governments are still reluctant to share their forest data openly to the public. Given that these data are usually publicly funded, what are the reasons for this apparent lack of transparency and what can we do to improve it?

Solutions and Future Outlooks

The role of the United Nations and particularly FAO in climate action

1. FAO specialized agency of the UN; 2. FAO climate action, 3. FAO in the forest sector, 4. Introducing CBIT-Forest an FAO-Global Environment Facility, GEF partnership to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement aiming to work towards open and transparent forest data by enhancing countries’ national forest monitoring systems – through a joint collaboration between the FRA and NFM teams; as a FAO focal point on the ground in Latin America, what makes the region special in terms of action in the forest sector for climate mitigation? 

Some papers have recently aimed to empower researchers from the Global South by helping establishing FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles for data sharing, but a UNFAIR gap still exists between tropical forest data users, mostly from the Global North, and data producers from the South. This is very relevant in the research community. What measures could we all take to improve representation and empower opportunities among researchers from underrepresented geographies?

The role of US Government (SilvaCarbon)

Dealing with underrepresentation involves cross-cutting dimensions among the interested vulnerable groups. Are there possible conflicts arising from aiming to reach solutions that benefit all of them? What can we make to produce an overall benefit that is larger than the sum of all possible solutions for different groups?

The role of NGOs and citizen science groups?


The role of International research hub and cyberinfrastructure (Science-i)

(Jingjing will cover this section)