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The principles which underlie quality knowledge co-production

In a new paper in Nature Sustainability, authors including CST’s Prof Oonsie Biggs and Prof Belinda Reyers propose a set of four general principles that underlie high-quality knowledge co-production for sustainability research. Knowledge co-production should be (1) context-based, (2) pluralistic, (3) goal-oriented and (4) interactive.

Definitions of knowledge co-production are diverse and often contradictory. The authors define it as ‘Iterative and collaborative processes involving diverse types of expertise, knowledge and actors to produce context-specific knowledge and pathways towards a sustainable future.’

Principle 1 is “Context-based”. The process should be grounded in an understanding of how a challenge emerged, how it is affected by its particular social, economic, political, and ecological contexts, and the different beliefs and needs of those affected by it.

Principle 2 is “Pluralistic”. The process should explicitly recognize a range of perspectives, knowledge, and expertise and consider gender, ethnicity, and age in development.

Principle 3 is “Goal-oriented”. The process should articulate clearly defined, shared and meaningful goals that are related to the challenge at hand.

Principle 4 is “Interactive”. High-quality co-production requires frequent interactions among participants to occur throughoutthe process, extending from collaboratively framing and designing the research agenda, to conducting the research, and jointly using and disseminating the knowledge generated.

Using these principles, the authors offer practical guidance on how to engage in meaningful co-productive practices & evaluate their quality and success. We identify key advances for ensuring that knowledge co-production can help confront sustainability challenges of the Anthropocene.

View the full article here.