A Vision for Capacity Sharing
in the Ocean Sciences


In December 2024, The Oceanography Society (TOS) plans to publish a special issue of the open access journal Oceanography on “A Vision for Capacity Sharing in the Ocean Sciences.” As guest editors, we are seeking initial community interest in contributing articles to this special issue. Details on specific topics are provided below. We ask that you forward this invitation to other individuals who might be interested in participating.

Letters of interest should be emailed to Oceanography Editor Ellen Kappel ([email protected]) by October 15, 2023, and should contain the following:

  • A summary of the content of the proposed paper (no more than 200 words)
  • Potential authorship and affiliations
  • Identify which topic your article would fit under (see below)
  • Proposed length (see below for specific words counts for different articles)
  • Contact information

Notice of whether you will be invited to contribute an article will be sent by November 15, 2023. Further information on deadlines is provided at the end of this invitation.


This special issue of Oceanography focuses on “capacity building” and “capacity sharing” in the ocean sciences, engineering, and related applications in academic, private, civil society, and public sectors. More specifically, capacity building describes activities designed to strengthen the knowledge, abilities, relationships, and values that enable organizations, groups, and individuals to reach their goals for sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources. It includes strengthening the institutions, processes, systems, and rules that influence collective and individual behavior and performance in all related endeavors. Capacity building also enhances people’s ability to make informed choices and fosters their willingness to play new developmental roles and adapt to new challenges. Capacity is about more than potential; it harnesses potential through robust programs to make progress in addressing societal needs and is fundamental to fostering environmental stewardship, improving the management of ocean and coastal areas and resources, and reducing global inequalities.

We also use the term “capacity sharing” as in Miloslavich et al. (2022) to acknowledge that the act of building capacity “is a shared effort among the people who are bringing the expertise and equipment and the people who are being trained to become active partners in the global ocean sustainability effort. Capacity sharing also acknowledges that local knowledge and traditions can inform how the capacity-building team approaches their efforts toward sustainability goals.”

The special issue has several goals: (1) describe the benefits around the world of sustained capacity building and capacity sharing in ocean science, technology, and applications; (2) identify barriers and gaps; (3) share best practices on how to build and sustain efforts; (4) highlight the importance to jobs and the economy; and (5) identify synergies among existing and new capacity-building and capacity-sharing programs. We encourage manuscripts that contribute to the goals of UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) and efforts that look beyond 2030. Our aim is to provide readers with a resource that will inspire actions on many fronts to achieve these objectives.


As an open-access journal, all articles will be openly available to the public on the Oceanography website at the time of publication. The full issue will also be available to all as a flipbook on Oceanography‘s kiosk.


There will be no cost to authors for publishing articles in this special issue. Copy editing, design, and distribution is supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), US Office of Naval Research (ONR), US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR).


We encourage submissions from authors that integrate social and natural sciences and engineering into their approach to address one of the topics listed below.

TOPIC 1.  Barriers to Capacity Building and Capacity Sharing

Articles in this chapter will identify the barriers to capacity sharing around the world, highlighting needs, differences, and proposed solutions in different countries and regions. Topics will include, but are not limited to, inequities in the distribution of equipment and other resources, lack of sustained funding, and the need to provide venues for scientists from different countries to network. Different viewpoints on how to overcome these barriers will be included in a few perspective articles. What solutions may have been developed by marginalized and underserved communities, particularly Indigenous communities? Example case studies/sidebars will provide real-world examples of some barriers and any solutions to overcome these barriers, including lessons learned.

Full article word count: No more than 3000 words and three figures. Longer articles will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Sidebar word count:
No more than 1500 words and two figures.

TOPIC 2. Capacity Building and Capacity Sharing Programs: Examples and Best Practices

Numerous people and organizations have expertise in running capacity building and capacity sharing programs. Articles in this chapter will showcase programs and approaches that help continue to build that expertise locally and elsewhere. This includes lessons learned and things to avoid when developing capacity sharing programs. We seek articles that illustrate solutions in historically marginalized communities and traditional societies, articles that address the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of capacity sharing programs, and articles that address the challenges in developing sustained projects that build a sense of community among scholars from around the world.

Full article word count: No more than 3000 words and three figures.
Sidebar word count: No more than 1500 words and two figures.

TOPIC 3. The Importance of Capacity Sharing to Jobs and the Economy

This chapter will highlight existing capacity development and capacity sharing programs related to education, jobs, and the blue economy. This includes the need for research-based solutions to societal concerns, standardized data formatting and information management, and low-cost observing approaches.

Full article word count: No more than 3000 words and three figures. Longer articles will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Sidebar word count:
No more than 1500 words and two figures.

TOPIC 4. Look to the Future: Synergies

Where should capacity sharing programs go from here? What alternative funding sources might be tapped? This concluding chapter will share a vision for future local to global capacity building and sharing from the perspectives of many of the people who have and who continue to participate in such efforts around the world.

Full article word count: No more than 3000 words and three figures.
Sidebar word count:
No more than 1500 words and two figures.

TOPIC 5. Your Ideas

We may not have captured all of the important issues and efforts in the four major categories listed above. If you have a topic that might be an important contribution to this special issue, please send us a short (no more than 200 words) description.


If you have questions about this supplement, please contact Oceanography editor Ellen Kappel ([email protected]).


  • Expression of interest: October 15, 2023
  • Confirmation of contribution: December 1, 2023
  • First draft: April 1 for short articles (sidebars), June 1, 2024 for longer articles
  • Expected publication date: December 2024

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Special Issue Guest Editors
Brian Arbic, Frank Muller-Karger, Johanna Diwa-Acallar, Judith Gobin, Aileen Tan Shau Hwai, Nicolas Moity, Jose Muelbert, Nubi Olubunmi, and Digna Rueda Roa

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