The Power of Connected and Coordinated Science

Biogeoscience needs Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON) principles to address global problems and reduce geographical bias that limit progress.

Biogeoscience is an interdisciplinary field, meaning it relates to multiple branches of knowledge. ICON principles are needed to address global problems; however, various challenges hinder ICON in biogeosciences, such as cultural and institutional barriers.

[Reprinted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) from Dwivedi, D., et al. “Biogeosciences Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science." Earth and Space Science 9 (3), e2021EA002119 (2022). DOI:10.1029/2021EA002119.]

The Science

Many environmental challenges such as climate change are global in scope and surpass national boundaries. These challenges involve local-to-global ecosystem processes (e.g., carbon or nitrogen cycling) that require observations across spatial scales. Tackling these grand challenges requires actions that are Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON). A team of scientists outline several opportunities for ICON science, including organized experimentation and field observation across global sites to advance science and social progress.

The Impact

Biogeoscience requires multiscale global data and joint international community efforts to tackle environmental challenges. However, several technical, institutional, and cultural hurdles have remained major roadblocks toward scientific progress. ICON science aims to address these challenges and create transferrable knowledge. In this article, researchers combined three related commentaries about the state of ICON science. They discussed the need to reduce geographical bias in data for enhancing scientific progress. The team identified actions people can take to advance biogeosciences, such as engaging local stakeholders across the globe, incentivizing collaborations, and developing training and workshops.


Researchers combined three independent commentaries about the state of ICON principles and discussed the opportunities and challenges of adopting them. Each commentary focuses on a different topic: (1) global collaboration, technology transfer, and application, (2) community engagement, community science, education, and stakeholder involvement, and (3) field, experimental, remote sensing, and data research and application. To implement ICON principles in biogeosciences, the team calls for a suite of short and long-term actions, with an approach toward capacity building, cultural shifts, breaking barriers through reduced entry costs, building research networks, and promoting community engagement with open and fair research practices. They also suggest developing methods and instrumentation to confront global challenges and solve key questions in biogeosciences.

Principal Investigator

Dipankar Dwivedi
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 supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program (as part of the Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area and ExaSheds).


Dwivedi, D., et al. "Biogeosciences Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science." Earth and Space Science 9 (3), e2021EA002119  (2022).