The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on Knowledge Cumulation’ seeks to bring together scholars that share a common interest in making ESG research – and environmental governance research more broadly – more cumulative. Valuing the diversity of research strands and epistemologies within the community, the Taskforce aims to foster collaboration on shared research agendas, theoretical approaches, frameworks, methods, and datasets.

The Taskforce will establish a forum for open and constructive debate and action on issues including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Epistemological foundations of knowledge cumulation: To what extent is it possible and desirable to cumulate in a field as diverse and interdisciplinary as ESG?
  • Diagnosis: In what ways is ESG research already cumulative in the sense of jointly used concepts, frameworks and datasets? What comparative research, systematic reviews and meta-analyses exist? Which research findings are in fact (not) taken up by policymakers, and why (not)?
  • Shared concepts: How can we develop and use widely shared core terminology that is nonetheless open to reinterpretations and novel concepts?
  • Open Science: How can we encourage the development and use of shared and compatible datasets?
  • Content: What are the topics and research questions in the ESG field where knowledge cumulation would be particularly fruitful regarding scientific progress and/or impact on policy and governance?
  • No universal laws: How can we systematically recognise and assess the institutional, political and social context of governance interventions to conduct sound comparative research and meta-analyses as well as reveal general patterns and trends that nonetheless vary by context?
  • Build stronger institutions: How can we co-ordinate collaborations such as common dictionaries or shared databases? How could the ESG community influence the policies of journals and funding agencies to incentivise research activities explicitly aiming at cumulation?

Envisioned products and activities may include:

  • Special issues or edited volumes, international lecture series, and/or sessions at international conferences, to kick off a broader debate on the issue of knowledge cumulation; to work on specific research questions on which to cumulate available knowledge, and/or to present results or methods of cumulative research.
  • Developing joint research proposals.
  • Developing infrastructures for knowledge cumulation, such as wikis, frameworks, etc.


The Taskforce will be launched at the Taskforce and Meeting Day of the Earth System Governance Conference in September 2021 in Bratislava. It welcomes everyone who is interested in joining this exciting endeavor!


Taskforce Convenors

  • Jens Newig, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:
  • Michael Rose, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:

The names of all convenors and members will be listed once the Taskforce has been launched.