Perspectives on the Global Disparity in Ecological Science

George Livingston, Bonnie Waring, Luis F. Pacheco, Damayanti Buchori, Yuexin Jiang, Lawrence Gilbert, Shalene Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Currently, countries with the highest human development index (HDI) dominate the production of ecological research. This is problematic because ecology is a discipline that is highly relevant to the challenges facing countries with lower indices. We characterize the full state of current inequity at the authorship and editorial levels, investigating the relative role of gross domestic product (GDP) versus research investment in driving publication patterns. We find that the representation of low HDI countries decreases dramatically from authorship to editorial levels. GDP was the best predictor of publication rate for high HDI countries, whereas research investment was an equal or better predictor for low HDI countries. In light of our results, we propose an alternative model of knowledge sharing and production that emphasizes (a) increasing equity in the communication of ecological science at a global scale, (b) expanding ecology funding in low HDI countries, and (c) prioritizing ecological science in low HDI regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • editorial boards
  • environmental crisis
  • human development index
  • scientometrics


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