An Open, Inclusive, and Collaborative International Network-of-Networks Framework to Advance Geoscience

Opening dialogues and enhancing communication streams can be extremely beneficial to science.

Tackling geoscientific issues necessitates establishing an open, inclusive, and collaborative network at an international scale that aims for equitable access to funding, equipment, training, research resources, and mentors.

[Reprinted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) from Arora, B., et al. “Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science.” Earth and Space Science 9 (4), e2021EA002120 (2022). DOI:10.1029/2021EA002120.]

The Science

Geoscience fields such as Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP) are extremely broad, involving applications and research questions ranging from planetary geology to the creation of mountains. For this reason, working across traditional disciplinary VGP boundaries has been largely limited to specific challenges and application areas. This limitation has prevented broad sharing of metadata, standards, protocols, and models as scientists move from one application area to the next, thereby keeping the VGP field in “stamp-collecting” mode. To allow for future innovation in VGP, there is an urgent need to advance collaboration, increase resource efficiency, and create transferable knowledge in VGP through Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON) science. In this article, scientists described the elements of, challenges to, and path forward in implementing ICON principles within VGP.

The Impact

Advancing collaboration and resources in the field of geoscience can close knowledge gaps and break barriers that limit scientific development and progress in addressing global issues. A team of researchers advocated for the development of an international network-of-networks framework that can create meaningful connections with all relevant groups represented and working together as equals. This framework can mobilize the scientific community and serve as a foundation for a more international, collaborative, and open science model underpinned by strong communication channels.


This article is part of a recent Earth and Space Science collection of commentaries (Goldman et al. 2021) spanning the geosciences about the state and future of Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON) science. To implement ICON principles in VGP, researchers advocated for an open, inclusive, collaborative, and evolving model of an international coordinated network. For this team, ICON means collaboration, equitable access to data for the entire scientific community, and forging partnerships that can contribute to more innovative ways of coordinating and sharing research. Establishing ICON in VGP also entails implementing effective measures to enhance access to funding, equipment, resources, and mentors that can optimize equity and advancement in the earth sciences.

Principal Investigator

Bhavna Arora
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
[email protected]

Co-Principal Investigator

Eoin Brodie
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
[email protected]

Program Manager

Jennifer Arrigo
U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Environmental System Science
[email protected]


This material is partly based upon work from the Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program.


Arora, B., et al. "Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science." Earth and Space Science 9 (4), e2021EA002120  (2022).