Submitted to: Geomorphology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2008
Publication Date: 4/1/2009
Citation: Stout, J.E., Warren, A., Gill, T.E. 2009. Publication trends in Aeolian research: An analysis of the biblography of Aeolian research. Geomorphology. 105(1-2):6-17.
Interpretive Summary: Over the past decade, a new scientific discipline, called “aeolian research,” has become increasingly recognized as a separate entity. Those individuals conducting research in wind erosion, geomorphologists that study landforms such as sand dunes, and atmospheric scientists studying the transport of atmospheric dust share a common interest in aeolian research. The common thread is an attempt to understand the basic underlying processes involved in the detachment and transport of sediment by wind. Over the past decade, an extensive Bibliography of Aeolian Research (BAR) has been constructed that contains references to every known scientific manuscript published in the field of aeolian research. This paper results from an analysis of this extensive bibliography. Results suggest that there has been a significant increase in the number of aeolian research publications from only three publications in the 17th century to around three publications per day in the 21st century. The temporal distribution of publications is shown to follow a complex pattern that is influenced by many factors including global conflicts and major environmental and climatic catastrophes. In addition, scientific innovations, the establishment of new scientific societies and journals, and sudden shifts in government structure and support of aeolian research can influence publication trends in aeolian research.
Technical Abstract: An analysis of the Bibliography of Aeolian Research has provided information regarding publication trends in aeolian research. Overall, results suggest that there has been a significant increase in the number of publications per year since the first aeolian-research publication appeared in 1646. Publication rates have increased from only three publications in the 17th century to nearly three publications per day in the 21st century. The temporal distribution of publications is shown to follow a complex pattern that is influenced by many factors. In the 17th and 18th centuries publications appear as isolated clusters indicating limited interest in aeolian research and limited opportunities for individuals to contribute to scientific literature. As time progresses, many new scientific societies are formed and many new scientific journals are established, opening new opportunities for scientists to contribute to scientific discourse. Examples are presented of landmark publications that open up new research areas and define new directions for aeolian research. General advances in science and technology provide new techniques for sampling blowing sand and dust. In addition, there are clear signs that publication rates respond to major environmental and climatic events, especially large-scale disasters that focus attention on wind erosion and blowing dust. The Sirocco dust events of 1901-1903, the North American Dust Bowl of the1930s, and the recent sand and dust storm problems in China have all led to significant increases in the number of publications in aeolian research. Publication rates are also shown to be negatively influenced by major political and social upheavals, especially global conflicts such as World War I and II. Sudden shifts in government structure and support can also influence publication rates. A good example is that of China which has rapidly increased their publication rates following the end of the Cultural Revolution.