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Framing the challenge of climate change in Nature and Science editorials


Through their editorializing practices, leading international science journals such as Nature and Science interpret the changing roles of science in society and exert considerable influence on scientific priorities and practices. Here we examine nearly 500 editorials published in these two journals between 1966 and 2016 that deal with climate change, thereby constructing a lens through which to view the changing engagement of science and scientists with the issue. A systematic longitudinal frame analysis reveals broad similarities between Nature and Science in the waxing and waning of editorializing attention given to the topic, but, although both journals have diversified how they frame the challenges of climate change, they have done so in different ways. We attribute these differences to three influences: the different political and epistemic cultures into which they publish; their different institutional histories; and their different editors and editorial authorship practices.

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Author information

M.H. initiated and designed the study and led the writing of the manuscript. N.O. and M.H. extracted the corpus. M.H., N.O., S.R. and M.B. contributed to coding, analysis, interpretation and improvements to the text. N.O. and S.R. contributed statistical analysis and graphics. M.B. conducted a literature review, analysed citations and Altmetric scores, and extracted author details from Science editorials.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Mike Hulme.

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Further reading

Fig. 1: Primary challenge frames.
Fig. 2: Challenge frames by IPCC era.
Fig. 3: Attribute frames by IPCC era.