Diversity of practitioners publishing in five leading international journals of applied ecology and conservation biology, 1987–2015 relative to global biodiversity hotspots

Between 1987 and 1995, research papers published in five leading journals of applied ecology and conservation biology (AECB) were overwhelmingly produced by American and British authors. A significant proportion of overall variation in research productivity among nations could be explained by differences in gross national product (GNP). Here, we used bibliometric analyses for a comparative assessment to determine if geographical patterns of research changed or remained consistent between the periods, 1987–1995 and 2007–2015. Our results revealed an absence of a marked increase in geographical diversity of research. Imbalances persisted in global research efforts in five leading journals, with research productivity remaining significantly correlated to national differences in wealth. There is a disparity between where scientific research continues to be conducted and where hotspots of biodiversity are known to exist as indicated by our study and several other recent papers. This is an alarming finding as research is needed to establish conservation status, and work by others shows that the level of conservation spending is significantly correlated with mitigating biodiversity loss and improving species at risk status.