Academic journals are a great resource for seeing what direction a specific discipline may be headed. Interestingly, publications represent both a look into the past (the research was completed a few years back) and the present (the content of the research is considered to still be relevant and interesting now). There is a “future” component to publications such that many researchers review what is being published now and use that as a springboard for the planning of future studies.
So here’s a list of the five most-downloaded Restoration Ecology articles in 2012 (Note – that these were not “published in 2012”, but downloaded. I presume this counts downloads thru 2012, so articles published earlier will have more of a chance of making this list based on pure exposure). I’m enthused that this list is fairly well balanced: from bees to succession to soils to invertebrates and grasses. This indicates RE continues to be a great place to get a survey of literature on restoration. Riparian environs continue to be a cornerstone of restoration research as 4 of the 5 reports reference “riparian” in the title. I’ve taken a few minutes and extracted the text of the abstracts of the top 5 and placed them into a word infographic [word cloud] that increases word size based on occurrence. I understand this is a very cursory analysis with assumptions. All common words like “restoration” and “sites” are removed for analysis.
Here are the results (See below) and a quick analysis.
- Some words were used repetitively by the authors and only occurred in on article e.g. understory although it occurred 9 times was only used in one article. The word riparian was also used 9 times, but over 3 articles.
- spatial, communities, function, impacts and patterns all showed up in two different articles noting their importance in restoration research.
- It was surprising to see how which non-common language words occurred across all abstracts: none. Restoration occurred in 4 of 5 articles and sites occurred only 3 times. Even a common results word like mean only occurred in 2 of 5 articles.
- Notably, there are no “rare” plants or animals that are referenced in the titles that made the top five – rarely is used only as an adjective in one article.
What do you think this all means?
The dataset is uploaded and for public use on Many Eyes if you’re inclined. Just drop me a note.