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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307092

Title: Using JournalMap to improve ecological knowledge discovery and visualization

item GILLAN, JEFFREY - New Mexico State University
item Karl, Jason

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Background/Question/Methods Most of the ecological research conducted around the world is tied to specific places, however, that location information is locked up in the text and figures of scientific articles in myriad forms that are not easily searchable. While access to ecological literature has improved dramatically in the digital age, the ability to find out what is known about a specific place is hindered by current search technologies that still rely primarily on key word, topic, text, and author searching. Tools for discovering and evaluating ecological studies have largely focused on the what of research while ignoring the where. This is somewhat surprising given the strong spatial focus of ecology and the growing number of powerful map-based search and analysis tools that are readily available. To address these needs we created JournalMap (, a map-based scientific literature database and search engine. With JournalMap we use study area descriptions from the article to map where the research was actually conducted. To demonstrate the value of map-based knowledge discovery we uploaded to JournalMap 300 articles on sage-grouse, an extensive literature review of the Chihuahuan Desert, and the entire archive of the journal Ecosphere. Results/Conclusions Plotting 300 sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) articles in JournalMap demonstrated the utility of map-based searches for a topic. It enabled us to clearly see where our knowledge on the species comes from including hot spots and cold spots of research activity. To demonstrate the usefulness of map-based knowledge searching for a specific place, we conducted a Web of Science search for the Chihuahuan Desert and entered the top 270 articles into JournalMap. The results showed that many article study areas were outside of the Chihuahuan Desert, thus illustrating our findings that keyword searches for a geographic area will produce many article omissions and commissions. Geotagging the full archive of Ecosphere (2010-2014) revealed the journal’s geographic pattern of research and publishing. The journal published studies from many localities across the globe but a large majority were based in North America. Polar regions were highly studied while at the same time there were large omissions in Saharan Africa and Russia. These three examples illustrate how map-based search engines can improve knowledge discovery and reveal gaps in ecological knowledge. JournalMap’s goal is to spur the science community into geotagging the world’s peer-reviewed literature and make it searchable on web mapping interfaces.