Jan 10, 2023

Open source collaborative workspace

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Earth System Modelling and Observations (ESMO) project, through its Working Group on Coupled Models’ (WGCMCMIP panel and WGCM infrastructure panel (WIP), has established a number of Task Teams to support the design, scope, and definition of the next phase of CMIP and evolution of CMIP infrastructure and future operationalisation.

The CMIP International Project Office is providing secretariat support and a digital environment to facilitate the scientists on the CMIP panel, WIP and Task Teams. After a review of various collaborative digital workspace options, we proceeded with the open source collaborative workspace ONLYOFFICE to facilitate the design process of the next phase of CMIP. The workspace is free for nonprofit organizations with under 1000 users, we only pay for storage.

About CMIP

CMIP is a project of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) providing climate projections to understand past, present and future climate changes. CMIP and its associated data infrastructure have become essential to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other international and national climate assessments. Find out more about CMIP here.

“CMIP6 model results are a crucial part of IPCC Assessment Reports. They provide detailed information about the role of human activities in driving historical climate change, and they provide quantitative projections of future climate.”

Gregory Flato, Vice Chair of the IPCC WGI and WGCM Co-Chair

The CMIP project brings together modelling centres from around the world to benchmark, intercompare and improve state-of-the-art climate model simulations and future projections. This helps the science community and wider society to better understand how the climate has changed and how likely it is to change, address outstanding scientific questions, and develop tools to evaluate and further improve the models.

From the inception of CMIP, there has been a focused effort on collaboration, to make the model intercomparison data available to other scientists besides those who run the models. This effort requires the development of numerous collaborations to solve various problems, for both hardware (how does one store/search/find what you want in so large datasets?) and software (how do I get the ocean data for the area off the west coast of the US?).


Designing the next phase of CMIP and evolution of CMIP infrastructure and future operationalisation requires expertise from around the world, across and beyond the climate science community. Our task teams have stakeholders ranging from national and local governments and their agencies through to financial and climate services sectors.

We needed a robust, globally accessible tool to facilitate document collaboration, discussions, project management and sharing of relevant files. ONLYOFFICE, as well as being open source, has the benefit of being compatible with Microsoft Office and has a great discussion feature which will keep the discussions out of inboxes and accessible to our Task Team members and stakeholders, whatever time zone they are based in.

There are a number of features dedicated to scientific use including manuscript creation, integrations with reference systems which we have yet to explore but will be available for our Task Teams as they progress from brainstorming towards actions and outputs.

One of the features we particularly liked was clear attribution of who makes what changes, as well as the ability to comment and to chat in the documents and, of course, restore previous versions!

We are also exploring the Wiki feature as our community, between them, have so much tacit knowledge on how CMIP has evolved and how to efficiently use the data for different purposes. We hope that they will embrace this facility and help us capture this for the benefit of other scientists out there, and in time historians!

Take a look for yourself!

More on the subject


CMIP7 Data Request: Call for Earth System theme paper co-authors


CMIP7 Data Request: Call for Atmosphere theme paper co-authors


CMIP7 Data Request: Call for Land and Land-Ice theme paper co-authors

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