Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Numbers Part II

Here it is - episode two of me playing with numbers of publications on DNA Barcoding. If you recall I was looking at over 2000 publications of the last 10 years to provide some insight into the progress the discipline was making within such a short time. I was very happy to see that Mark Stoeckle has added to this look at the big picture by sharing some DNA Barcode stats from his treasure box. Next time you have to prepare a talk on DNA Barcoding and you need some convincing figures on progress and development over the last years feel free to 'steal' my graphs and I am sure Mark would be happy to see his material used as well. Just don't forget to tell everybody where you got it from :-)

When looking at the publication data I was also very interested on how DNA Barcoding has been incorporated into the more applied areas of science. Therefore, I grabbed 208 that were clearly representing studies of applied DNA Barcoding, and categorized them into four different groups I considered most interesting. The largest number of publications I was able to find in the field of pest research and management. The majority of those were focusing on crop damaging animals and ways to identify them. A lot of papers were also published on health related topics mostly the identification of disease vectors. Both conservation and forensics are dominated by studies that assess the value of DNA Barcoding for regulatory purposes but you can even find research on potential applications in criminal forensics. These numbers show that DNA Barcoding is not just an effort of a few 'stamp collectors' travelling around the globe in order to complete their little collection books but rather a still young discipline that has already been translated into applications that are directly beneficial to society.

My only other graphic today demonstrates how diverse the field has become as I was looking at the number of journals that actually had published DNA Barcoding papers and if there were actually some preferences among authors or even publishers. In total 157 different journals have published at least one DNA Barcoding paper. Most did more than that. Therefore, the first take home message is that DNA Barcoding is widely accepted and appeals to a variety of topic journals. Two journals are leading the pack and that's not a surprise as both have been trying to become home for DNA Barcoding research publications. Molecular Ecology Resources has a strong focus and PLoS ONE with its inclusive concept is catching up quickly.  The third place is another very good indicator how DNA Barcoding has impacted taxonomic research. Zootaxa is the world leading journal on taxonomy and main home for species descriptions and revisions. If they would just starting to use DOI's but that's another story for another post...

The good news is that researchers can actually choose where to publish depending on their needs and perhaps even strategically. DNA Barcoding is certainly not an exotic field anymore. This is also good news for anyone like me who prefers options that are open access even if it comes with the price of a lower impact factor.

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