The changing nature of collaboration in tropical ecology and conservation


Collaboration can improve conservation initiatives through increases in article impact and by building scientific understating required for conservation practice. We investigated temporal trends in collaboration in the tropical ecology and conservation literature by examining patterns of authorship for 2271 articles published from 2000 to 2016 in Biotropica and the Journal of Tropical Ecology. Consistent with trends in other studies and scientific disciplines, we found that the number of authors per article increased from 2.6 in 2000 to 4.2 in 2015 using a generalized linear model (glm). We modeled changes in multinational collaboration in articles using a glm and found that the mean number of author-affiliated countries increased from 1.3 (0.6 SD) to 1.7 (0.8 SD) over time and that increases were best explained by the number of authors per article. The proportion of authors based in tropical countries increased, but the probability of tropical–extratropical collaboration did not and was best explained solely by the number of authors per article. Overall, our analyses sug- gest that only certain types of collaboration are increasing and that these increases coincide with a general increase in the number of authors per article. Such changes in author numbers and collaboration could be the result of increased data sharing, changes in the scope of research questions, changes in authorship criteria, or scientific migration. We encourage tropical conservation scientists continue to build collaborative ties, particularly with researchers based in underrepresented tropical countries, to ensure that tropical ecology and conservation remains inclusive and effective.

Figure 1