APCC Products and Standards

APCC Products

APCC products serve to assess, summarise, and evaluate the current state of science and research on clearly defined topics (Special Report) or on climate change in general (Progress Reports). With regard to knowledge requirements in specific fields of practice, the topic proposals are drawn up and proposed to potential financing partners in agreement between the APCC WG, the CCCA Board, and the APCC Steering Committee (APCC SC). APCC products assess the current state of scientific knowledge and may also infer future research needs. Creating APCC products involves the entire Austrian scientific community concerned with the topic. The products have communicative character and are disseminated to a broad public upon completion. If necessary, sufficiently qualified and established international experts can be consulted when an APCC product is created. The Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC) itself does not carry out research projects, and APCC activities are not aimed at generating knowledge in the sense of disciplinary, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research. When in compliance with the APCC criteria, the following products can be generated as APCC products:

  • Assessment Reports, i.e. comprehensive progress reports modelled on the AAR14, which present the Austria-related state of science and research on climate change (as defined by the CCCA) in a comprehensive and needs-oriented manner. Assessment Reports also contain Synthesis Reports. The latter must be both technically/scientifically relevant and of relevance to policymakers and the public (“technical summary”, “summary for policy makers”). Assessment Reports should be produced every seven to ten years.
  • Special Reports on clearly defined topics. Special Reports go beyond the Progress Report, as they concentrate on a specific topic based on revised findings. They, too, contain a synthesis regarding the Report’s technical/scientific relevance and its relevance for policymakers and the public. Special Reports can, moreover, focus on more regional specifics. They should also be included in later issued Assessment Reports, although redundancies ought to be kept to a minimum.

APCC products address all decision makers and public opinion leaders in the fields of politics, economy, education, science, society at large, etc. They serve to advise policymakers at both federal and provincial levels as well as other relevant institutions such as chambers, associations etc.

APCC Quality Standards

APCC products must fulfil the following criteria:

  • They must cover a sufficient scientific range. Creating APCC products generally involves all relevant scientific disciplines. APCC products are not concerned with specific questions but with general issues.
  • The entire scientific community in Austrian is free to partake in creating APCC products. The CCCA Agency is informed about the project in advance and issues invitations to participate via the CCCA communication channels. It thus also informs all CCCA member representatives. The respective Project Consortium must ensure that a wide range of the Austrian scientific community is represented. During the course of creating APCC products, the Project Consortia presents and discusses the products within the framework of the CCCA Climate Day.
  • All APCC products undergo a rigorous quality assurance process which is open to the relevant scientific community in German-speaking countries.
  • Prior to publication, a sufficiently intensive and wide-ranging assessment by external reviewers must be ensured. All review-related comments must be incorporated in keeping with the current state of research. The steps to be taken during the quality assurance process are listed below under “Steps of the Quality Assurance Process”.
  • APCC products are written in compliance with the calibrated language and thus follow the IPCC credo "policy-relevant, not policy-prescriptive".
  • The Project Consortium is responsible for transparency and process quality, as verified by the APCC. To ensure transparency, documentation must be provided on the CCCA/APCC website in coordination with the CCCA Agency. Descriptions of the evolving APCC product must be made available on the CCCA/APCC websites, relevant contact persons must be listed, and existing papers must be made available for download.

APCC Structure

APCC products will be an activity of the Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC) embedded in the broad scientific community of the Climate Change Centre Austria (CCCA), and beyond. Responsibilities of individual roles within APCC products follow closely Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) procedures and guidelines. The figure below illustrates the general APCC structur and exchange with policy makers and other stakeholders for APCC reports.

  • Co-chairs are project leaders of the respective APCC product and responsible for the overall architecture, structure, organization, and content of the report and all financial and publishing aspects concerning the report.
  • Technical Support Unit (TSU) will support the co-chairs in the manifold tasks and will therefore serve as central point of contact for the authors and further contributors of the respective report as well as the funding agency and stakeholders.
  • CCCA Head Office coordinates the APCC Steering Committee (APCC SC) and will support the co-chairs and the TSU in the organization of the review process.
  • CCCA Service Centre will support the co-chairs and TSU in the organization of the stakeholder dialogue, media events and workshops at individual stages of the respective APCC product.
  • CCCA management board does not hold a direct management role within the respective APCC product. Information exchanges between the CCCA MB, co-chairs and the APCC SC will aim at utilizing the CCCA network to motivate broad participation in the review process and the stakeholder dialogue.
  • Policy makers & stakeholders will be invited to workshops, round tables and the open review of the respective APCC product to ensure broad participiatoin across all levels.
  • A detailed information about the APCC SC and the APCC Working Group can be found here.

Further roles

In addition to the above-mentioned roles, there are other roles that are closely related to those of the IPCC.

  • Coordinating Lead Authors (CLA) coordinate the drafting of the individual chapters of the respective APCC product. They act as lead scientists for individual chapters and develop the chapter narrative and content together with the co-chairs, LAs and CAs. CLAs select the CAs and LAs together with the co-chairs, and are responsible for the corresponding chapter content and linkages with other chapters of the report.
  • Lead Authors (LA) are scientific experts contributing to one ore multiple chapters of the respective APCC product. They are selected by the CLAs of each chapter together with the co-chairs and are responsible for sub-sections of the chapter concerned and coherence and synergies with other sections/chapters in the report.
  • Contributing Authors (CA) are scientific experts that contribute or prepare graphs, texts or data to be included in the respective APCC product.
  • Reviewer provide scientific and technical comments on parts/chapters of the respective APCC product.
  • Review Editors (RE) ensure that all comments of scientific experts and stakeholders have been addressed in adequate form, and advise co-chairs and CLAs on the handling of critical or controversial comments and ensure that these considered in the report adequately. Review editors are not involved in the creation of those parts of the respective APCC product which they review.

Review process

A review process modelled on that of the IPCC ensures the quality of APCC products. The APCC assesses the structure of the review process in terms of a “concept review” and provides feedback on the structure and compliance to the APCC standards for the Project Consortium (e.g., co-chairs). The review process must follow the steps below:

  1. The content and structure of the APCC product are defined during the scoping phase. Thus, the Zero-Order-Draft is created, which is internally reviewed by the team. In addition, this phase also defines the steps of the review process and outlines how to adhere to APCC standards. This is verified by the APCC SC.
  2. This is followed by a first revision by the team, resulting in a First-Order-Draft. This First-Order-Draft then enters an external review process (conducted by national and international scientific experts). The APCC SC reviews the First-Order-Draft for compliance with APCC standards. The comments of the external reviewers are then incorporated by the author team. The author team records for each individual comment whether and, if so, how it was taken into account, or argues why it was not taken into account.
  3. Review Editors must qualitatively assess how the comments were incorporated into a Second-Order-Draft. They are also to review the reasons why any comments have been disregarded. For the Second Review, the project team must enlist appropriate international scientific experts and stakeholders. The APCC SC may suggest reviewers as well. Further, the APCC SC assesses the Second-Order-Draft with regard to its compliance with the APCC standards.
  4. When the Review Editors and the APCC SC agree that all comments have been incorporated appropriately, consindering the current state of research, the respective APCC product may be printed, once the final editing, technical finishing, and layout process has been completed.
  5. For each APCC product, a synthesis and summary for policy makers must be composed.

Please contact info@ccca.ac.at if you are planning to submit to the ACRP call on an APCC report and for any other questions about the APCC Steering Committee & Working Group, submissions, products or guidelines.