Over the past decades, socio-environmental problems have multiplied. In response, policymakers and scientists have increasingly called for collaboration, arguing that answers to these problems will not be found within the traditional boundaries of disciplines, sectors, or, for instance, States. The way collaboration is occurring can, however, provide us with important insights into the ideas that emanate from a field, and the manner in which those ideas develop, and persist. 

It is precisely from this starting point that, drawing on their wildly different research expertise, two SAF21 colleagues—Shaheen Syed and Lia ní Aodha—set about investigating the field of fisheries science, the results of which have been recently published in Fish and Fisheries with the title Mapping the global network of fisheries science collaboration.

A short summary of their paper can be found below:

As socio‐environmental problems have proliferated over the past decades, one narrative which has captured the attention of policymakers and scientists has been the need for collaborative research that spans traditional boundaries. Collaboration, it is argued, is imperative for solving these problems. Understanding how collaboration is occurring in practice is important, however, and may help explain the idea space across a field. In an effort to make sense of the shape of fisheries science, here we construct a co‐authorship network of the field, from a data set comprising 73,240 scientific articles, drawn from 50 journals and published between 2000 and 2017. Using a combination of social network analysis and machine learning, the work first maps the global structure of scientific collaboration amongst fisheries scientists at the author, country and institutional levels. Second, it uncovers the hidden subgroups—here country clusters and communities of authors—within the network, detailing also the topical focus, publication outlets and relative impact of the largest fisheries science communities. We find that whilst the fisheries science network is becoming more geographically extensive, it is simultaneously becoming more intensive. The uncovered network exhibits characteristics suggestive of a thin style of collaboration, and groupings that are more regional than they are global. Although likely shaped by an array of overlapping micro‐ and macro‐level factors, the analysis reveals a number of political–economic patterns that merit reflection by both fisheries scientists and policymakers.

The full paper, which is open-access, can be viewed from here, or downloaded from here.

Syed, S., ní Aodha, L., Scougal, C., Spruit, M. (2019). Mapping the global network of fisheries science collaboration. Fish and Fisheries. 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12379