Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, v2, 2020-2021


Long-term global scenarios have underpinned research and assessment of global environmental change for the past decades. The climate change research community has developed a scenario framework combining alternative futures of climate and society to facilitate integrated research and assessment to inform policy. The framework uses the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), which together describe alternative visions of how society and climate may change over the coming decades, providing a framework for combining these pathways in integrated studies. Tracking the use of this framework in the literature allows for assessment of how it is being used, whether it is achieving its original goals, and what improvements to the framework would benefit future research. Researchers with the International Committee on New Integrated Climate Change Assessment Scenarios (ICONICS) tracked such literature, assessed analyzed results, and published the SSP Literature Database v1, which covered the articles from 2014 to 2019.

The SSP Literature Database v2 contains citations, abstracts, and analyses of 1,134 articles published from 2020 to 2021 that used the SSPs. The articles were obtained from searches of Google Scholar, EBSCO, GeoRef, JSTOR, PAIS, ProQuest, Web of Science, and University of Helsinki’s library catalog. The articles include peer-reviewed publications (journal papers, book chapters) and other literature (working papers, reports, etc.). The database was generated by manual examination of the articles that made substantial use of the SSPs. Each article was then analyzed and coded according to different key tags, including categories of SSP application, the study type of publications, SSPs used in publications, and the societal and climate modeling combinations used.

Some progress and specific changes have been made in v2 in light of the advances in the research community, such as the developments of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) to create climate scenarios under the SSPs. Assessments of timeframes, regions, geographies, climate modeling, and data availability are also coded in v2.


Download the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, v2, 2020-2021 (1.60 MB Excel Workbook).

The dataset is a list of 1,134 articles published over the period 2020-2021, coded for whether and how they use various aspects of the SSP-RCP scenario framework.


The methods and definitions for generating and coding the database are available as a PDF file (61 KB).


Green, C., S. Fagerström, D. Ke, P. Metzinger, M. Myllynen, X. Xing, T.R. Carter, K. Ebi, M. Garschagen, K. Kok, A. Lipsanen, K.Takahashi, B. J. van Ruijven. 2022. Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, Version 2, 2020-2021 (Preliminary Release). Palisades, NY: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR.


This project was originated by Brian O'Neill who spearheaded the first version and encouraged the furthering of this literature compilation. This work could not have been completed without valuable contributions from Robert Chen and Vanessa Schweizer, members of the ICONICS Literature Board. Additional thanks to Simona Pedde and Jan Petzold and the countless others who have contributed feedback and supported this project.


This is a preliminary open data release, pending peer review of the data and associated journal articles. Following the peer review process, data curation will be completed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and the data will be disseminated through the SEDAC catalog.