Research topic development of the Ecological Society of America: Inference of research collaboration and core topics based on publication network
ESA (The Ecological Society of America) was first organized by Henry Chandler Cowles and society members in 1914. During its 100 years history, diverse ecological studies on global ecosystems have also strengthened inter-disciplinary research collaboration and expanded research network. Considering enriched historical resources of ESA, it is meaningful to review historical development of issued research topics and to confine how research collaborations were made in diverse ecological fields. The objectives of this study were to examine scientific publications to discover trends in ecological research and to discover the subjective distribution.
Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analysis science, technology and innovation. Scientometrics also focus on the analysis of publications to review core topics and author network relationship. This study reviewed development of research topics, key word, and author network in the ESA society by using scientometic methods. 24,861 research papers published in the ESA journals (Ecology: 17,507; Ecological Applications: 3,660; Ecological Monographs: 1,606; Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: 1,462; Ecosphere: 626) were considered for the analysis. We evaluated research collaboration among ESA scientists by using article network analysis.
Studies on the forests and grasslands have the highest number of articles with rivers and wetlands in second and third place. Number of studies was the highest for plant followed by insect, bird, fish, and mammals. Network analysis revealed how researchers in the ESA have cooperated during the last 100 years. Authors were mainly grouped into 6 clusters and taxonomic base was dominant factor. We could also identify national focal researchers and national intermediary (Average clustering coefficient: 0.83, average path length: 5.49). There was strong connection within the clustered groups. This retrospective analysis will provide meaning information to further development of international research collaboration.