Monday, September 28, 2015

Influential Publications in Ecological Economics Revisited

Back in 2004 I published with Bob Costanza, Chunbo Ma, Brendan Fisher, and Lining He a paper that looked at the most influential publications on the field of ecological economics. Then, about this time last year Gaël Plumecocq contacted me about participating in a session he was organizing at the European Society of Ecological Economics meeting in Leeds on "ecological economics understood as an epistemic community". I had the idea of revisiting our 2004 paper a decade later and seeing how the field had changed in the meantime. Eventually, Gaël also came on board our author team, contributing a textual analysis of the key themes in the influential papers. Gaël gave a presentation on the paper at ESEE and now we finally have a working paper version of our new paper on the web. The full author team includes: Bob Costanza, Rich Howarth, Ida Kubiszewski, Shuang Liu, Chunbo Ma, Gaël, and myself.

We downloaded from the Web of Science (WoS) information on all the papers published in Ecological Economics from 2004 to 2014 including the number of citations each received and the full reference list from all 2960 articles. We define outwardly influential papers as the 10% of articles published in the journal in each year from 2004 to 2014 that received the most citations in the Web of Science. The inwardly influential publications are all publications that received more than 15 citations in the journal in the period 2004-2014. For each of these publications we collected the total number of citations in the Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Ecological Economics. The inward influence data needed a lot of cleaning up, which was mainly done by Chunbo and Ida with my help.

Shuang produced these graphs of inward and outward influence using Tableau:

For inward influence, there are many publications at the bottom right that have been relatively much more influential across science as a whole than they have been in ecological economics. Publications towards the left have been mostly influential in ecological economics alone. By contrast, there is a stronger correlation between citations received in the journal and more broadly for the outwardly influential articles. One outlier is the Pimentel et al. paper on the costs of invasive species that is the most cited article (by WoS cites) ever published in ecological economics.

The theme analysis found, as we expected, that the most influential topic was ecosystem services and payments for ecosystem services, which received 25% of the citations of the influential publications. By contrast, sustainable development and foundations of ecological economics were the most influential topics prior to 2004.

We also followed up on my 2006 paper with Chunbo Ma by looking at the journals, which cite Ecological Economics the most and which are cited by Ecological Economics the most:

There have been quite dramatic changes in these lists with more than half the journals being new entrants. In general there has been an increase in citation links to interdisciplinary environmental science and environmental studies journals and a reduction in links to mainstream economics journals including environmental economics journals. No general interest economics journals are now on the top 20 inward and outward lists.

We think that these trends reflect a maturation of ecological economics as a transdisciplinary field.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nature Energy

I have joined the editorial advisory board for Nature Energy, a new journal from the Nature Group that will begin publishing at the beginning of 2016. The position involves giving feedback on submitted manuscripts, but I can also make suggestions for commentary and news and views articles. The latter are a special feature of Nature journals that provide less technical overviews of articles published both in Nature journals and other academic journals. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for upcoming articles that the journal might cover in news and views, or topics/authors for commentaries.