Aquatic mammal science in Latin America: a bibliometric analysis for the first eight years of the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals (2002-2010)

Daniel M. Palacios, Cristiane C. A. Martins, Carlos Olavarría

Abstract


We conducted a meta-analysis of the publication statistics for Vols. 1-8 of the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals (LAJAM), the joint scholarly publication of the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos and the Sociedad Mexicana de Mastozoología Marina, with the following purposes: (a) identifying the main patterns in the authorship and content published between 2002 and 2010, and (b) assessing the contributions of these scientific societies in the Latin American and global contexts. With the caveat that the results are only representative of the researchers that chose to publish in LAJAM during the period covered by the study, the metadata from 168 articles indicated that most of the research was conducted on small odontocetes (Sotalia, Pontoporia, Tursiops) and pinnipeds (Arctocephalus, Otaria, Mirounga) of coastal habits. Rorqual whales (Balaenoptera, Megaptera) and oceanic odontocetes (Stenella, Mesoplodon, Orcinus, Delphinus) also were well represented. Studies of distribution (including first records) were the most common, followed by those related to feeding, strandings, health and bycatch. Seventeen countries were represented in the primary affiliation of the lead author, but just five dominated the contribution: Brazil (52%), Argentina (10%), México (7%), Uruguay (5%) and USA (5%). Among institution types, a university was reported as the primary affiliation type by 50% of the authors, while 26% reported a NGO, 17% a government agency and 7% another type of organization. A social network analysis of 404 authors identified a large, well-connected cluster of 263 authors. Within this cluster, 13 authors from Brazil, Perú, Argentina and Colombia were among the most collaborative. The female to male ratio was 1:1.6 among lead authors and 1:3.2 among lead authors that published more than one article, suggesting a gender disparity within this scientific community. According to Google Scholar™, 91 articles in LAJAM were cited in other publications through January 2012, with an average of 7.5 citations per article. The 15 most cited articles had between 13 and 15 citations, were predominantly from Brazil, and were mainly about small cetaceans.


Keywords


Latin America, aquatic mammals, bibliometrics, scientific output, national contribution, authorship patterns, social network analysis, citation impact, gender bias

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5597/lajam00174

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