From little things, big things grow: trends and fads in 110 years of Australian ornithology

Yarwood, Maree R., Weston, Michael A. and Garnet, Stephen T. 2014, From little things, big things grow: trends and fads in 110 years of Australian ornithology, Scientometrics, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 2235-2254, doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1144-z.

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Title From little things, big things grow: trends and fads in 110 years of Australian ornithology
Author(s) Yarwood, Maree R.
Weston, Michael A.ORCID iD for Weston, Michael A.
Garnet, Stephen T.
Journal name Scientometrics
Volume number 98
Issue number 3
Start page 2235
End page 2254
Total pages 20
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2014
ISSN 0138-9130
Keyword(s) bibliometric
avian ecology
bird study
avian science
Summary Publishing histories can reveal changes in ornithological effort, focus or direction through time. This study presents a bibliometric content analysis of Emu (1901–2011) which revealed 115 trends (long-term changes in publication over time) and 18 fads (temporary increases in publication activity) from the classification of 9,039 articles using 128 codes organised into eight categories (author gender, author affiliation, article type, subject, main focus, main method, geographical scale and geographical location). Across 110 years, private authorship declined, while publications involving universities and multiple institutions increased; from 1960, female authorship increased. Over time, question-driven studies and incidental observations increased and decreased in frequency, respectively. Single species and ‘taxonomic group’ subjects increased while studies of birds at specific places decreased. The focus of articles shifted from species distribution and activities of the host organisation to breeding, foraging and other biological/ecological topics. Site- and Australian-continental-scales slightly decreased over time; non-Australian studies increased from the 1970s. A wide variety of fads occurred (e.g. articles on bird distribution, 1942–1951, and using museum specimens, 1906–1913) though the occurrence of fads decreased over time. Changes over time are correlated with technological, theoretical, social and institutional changes, and suggest ornithological priorities, like those of other scientific disciplines, are temporally labile
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11192-013-1144-z
Field of Research 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Springer
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