Research must rise to meet challenges such as microplastics pollution and climate change
London, U.K., July 27, 2022 – Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today launched a new Global Research Report from the Institute for Scientific Information™ analyzing ocean science research over the last two decades. The report concludes that research must rise to meet the challenges facing the marine environment such as microplastic pollution and climate change.
Ocean science: sustainability concerns add urgency for research observes that ocean science research output has increased threefold from 2000 to 2020. The Institute for Scientific Information identifies existing and emerging research fields, across all ocean basins, as well as the current collaboration pathways. The study examines gaps and trends in international ocean science collaborations. This information is essential for the effective growth of the ocean science community and ultimately the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below water.
In the Web of Science Core Collection™, for publication years 2000 to 2020, about 150,000 items were assigned to the Web of Science category Oceanography. However, as much research related to ocean science is published in journals assigned to other Web of Science categories or in multidisciplinary journals, the report uses a hybrid approach to analyze bibliometric data across a range of sources, evaluating ocean science research published between 2000 and 2020.
Key findings of the report include:
- There has been an astonishing growth of microplastics research, an upsurge in output reminiscent of the excitement and activity of high-temperature superconductivity in the late 1980s, or CRISPR (i.e., gene editing) during the last decade. This growth, pronounced since 2015, may be related to the introduction of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Growth in other Citation Topics such as Climate Change may also be associated with the targets of SDGs.
- The U.S. share of ocean basins research is in line with its overall world share. However, its dominance in the early 21st century – as well as the contributions of other G7 members – has been eroded by a rapid rise in research output from Mainland China.
- Ocean research is globally connected and, crucially, also includes significant collaboration with island nations and territories at the literal forefront of ocean science (e.g., New Caledonia, Bermuda). However, sub-Saharan contributions, apart from those of South Africa, are minimal. External partnerships are likely required to build or operate the necessary infrastructure for ocean science research. Achieving the SDGs may drive such partnerships.
- Institutional output in all ocean basins is led by national academies (e.g., Russian, Chinese) or research institutes (e.g., U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], British Antarctic Survey), illustrating the highly specialized nature of ocean science and likely reflecting its infrastructure-reliant nature.
Dr. Gali Halevi, Director at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate, said: “At Clarivate we help our customers address some of the world’s most complex challenges. With the fate of the Earth tied so inextricably to the oceans, and given the toll that humans have exacted on the marine environment within a relative handful of decades, the need for detailed scientific scrutiny of our ocean basins has never been more acute. Research must rise to meet the challenges presented by, for example, microplastic pollution and whatever natural or human-made environmental crises might still await. Only with concerted, global commitment will the UN SDGs for the future – oceans that are clean, resilient, predictable, sustainable, not to mention sustaining – stand a chance of accomplishment.”
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