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Knowledge of Colombian biodiversity: published and indexed

Arbeláez-Cortés, Enrique
Biodiversity and conservation 2013 v.22 no.12 pp. 2875-2906
animals, biodiversity, biologists, databases, genetic variation, new taxa, oceans, researchers, Atlantic Ocean, Colombia
Documenting patterns of published studies on the biodiversity of megadiverse countries can offer valuable insights on global biodiversity knowledge. Here, I present results from a bibliometric analysis of 5,264 indexed publications on biodiversity in Colombia published during the period 1990-2011 and gathered by searching the Web of Knowledge database. I classified studies into six overlapping subjects: taxa lists, new taxa, new records, conservation, genetic diversity, and other. Publications were also classified by geographic location and the taxonomic group studied. I found variation in the number of studies per year, which presented a long-term trend of increasing volume. The 31 continental departments of Colombia and both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans were represented in the studies, which included 98 taxonomic classes from 47 phyla. However, there were strong biases in taxonomic, geographic, and subject coverage. For instance, 75 % of studies focused on animals; and the Atlantic Ocean showed the highest number of studies, followed by Antioquia and Valle del Cauca departments. Genetic diversity and conservation were the least-studied subjects. I also found that Colombian researchers and Colombian institutions have played an important role in documenting the country's outstanding biodiversity. However, Colombian biologists still prefer to publish in domestic or Latin American journals, which are mainly regional and have low international visibility. The patterns I present here can have important implications for optimizing and guiding research on Colombian biodiversity, and the paper concludes with some recommendations. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.