Environmental deterioration can result from defective interactions between human society and nature. It is often perceived as a wicked problem that has no clear-cut solution. Such a problem cannot simply be solved by research experts. Rather, it requires collaborations with experts from different domains (interdisciplinary research) as well as practitioners such as governments, funding bodies, industry, non-profit organizations, and members of civil society (transdisciplinary research) to solve the problem. Therefore, such solution-oriented research projects are always completed by a team of two or more experts in an interdependent fashion.
However, this team format is often disrupted by asymmetric information, knowledge, wisdom, value, socioeconomic status, and power among the above-mentioned actors, as well as by diffrent historical and geopolitical contexts. To reduce (rather than solve) such sociopsychological asymmetry to enable more effective community-based research on socio-environmental issues, this CORE Project, also called the Open Team Science Project, developed an adaptive and abductive methodology in which working hypotheses were continuously improved by assessing practical case studies. At the completion of the project, the methodology was summarized in the form of the following Open Team Science Method as a selfchecklist of socio-environmental practice research.
Conceptually, we interlinked open science, as an open scientific knowledge production system, with boundary spanning as an essence of transdisciplinary research to transform in-between spaces into shared epistemic living spaces. This can be practically achieved through our Open Team Science Method (1) guaranteeing ethical equity with special attention to empowering marginalized (or “small voice”) actors; (2) building trust by guaranteeing transparency (i.e., traceability and synchronousness) in the research process; (3) facilitating dialogue and synlogue (a conversation in which individual speakers seamlessly succeed one another’s speech); and (4) discovering and sharing the platform on which actors with different interests and thoughts can jointly tackle (transcend) specific problems or issues, where necessary (Figure 1).
This project academically explored a new dimension of open science for and with society. The Open Team Science Method was published in a Japanese book (環境問題を解く Dissolving Environmental Problems) for general readers, a concept paper in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, three case reports in international academic journals, four opinion papers in Japanese academic journals, and two Japanese newspaper commentaries, among other media.
The Open Team Science Method is a working hypothesis to be further improved. To make this method a new academic norm of open science with and for society, we will continue developing and disseminating the Open Team Science Method after completion of the CORE project.