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Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research

Norström, Albert V., Christopher Cvitanovic, Marie F. Löf, Simon West, Carina Wyborn, Patricia Balvanera, Angela T. Bednarek, Elena M. Bennett, Reinette Biggs, Ariane de Bremond, Bruce M. Campbell, Josep G. Canadell, Stephen R. Carpenter, Carl Folke, Elizabeth A. Fulton, Owen Gaffney, Stefan Gelcich, Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, Melissa Leach, Martin Le Tissier, Berta Martín-López, Elena Louder, Marie-France Loutre, Alison M. Meadow, Harini Nagendra, Davnah Payne, Garry D. Peterson, Belinda Reyers, Robert Scholes, Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Marja Spierenburg, Mark Stafford-Smith, Maria Tengö, Sandra van der Hel, Ingrid van Putten, Henrik Osterblom. 2020. Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research. Nature sustainability: 1-9.

Abstract

Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability challenges better than more traditional scientific approaches. But definitions of knowledge co-production are diverse and often contradictory. We propose a set of four general principles that underlie high-quality knowledge co-production for sustainability research. Using these principles, we offer practical guidance on how to engage in meaningful co-productive practices, and how to evaluate their quality and success.

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