Mapping the dynamics of research networks in ecology and evolution using co-citation analysis (1975–2014)

Abstract

In this paper we used a co-citation network analysis to quantify and illustrate the dynamic patterns of research in ecology and evolution over 40 years (1975–2014). We addressed questions about the historical patterns of development of these two fields. Have ecology and evolution always formed a coherent body of literature? What dominant ideas have motivated research activity in these two fields? How long have these ideas attracted the attention of researchers? Contrary to what was expected, we did not observe any trend towards a stronger integration of ecology and evolution into one big cluster that would suggest the existence of a single community. Three main bodies of literature have stayed relatively stable over time: population/community ecology, evolutionary ecology, and population/quantitative genetics. Other fields have disappeared, emerged or mutated over time. Besides, research organization has shifted from a taxon-oriented structure to a concept-oriented one over the years, with researchers working on the same topics but on different taxa showing more interactions.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Beatrix Beisner and Pedro Peres-Neto for their constructive comments on a previous draft and Yimen Araya-Ajoye, Anne Charmantier, Niels Dingemanse, and Dave Westneat for discussions on the results. We are grateful to Carolyn Hall for editing the English Part of this work, done in part while D. Réale was a visiting scholar at the Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive CNRS Montpellier, France. D. Réale and P. O. Montglio are members of the Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science an excellence research center funded by the Fonds de Recherche Québec Nature Technologies. M. Khelfaoui and Y. Gingras are members of the Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche sur la Science et la Technologie (CIRST).

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Réale, D., Khelfaoui, M., Montiglio, PO. et al. Mapping the dynamics of research networks in ecology and evolution using co-citation analysis (1975–2014). Scientometrics 122, 1361–1385 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03340-4

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Keywords

  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Community ecology
  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Ecosystem ecology
  • Plant ecology
  • Population genetics
  • History of ecology and evolution
  • Cocitation networks
  • Community detection