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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Journal Publication Trends Regarding Cetaceans Found in Both Wild and Captive Environments: What do we Study and Where do we Publish?


Scientists conducting research on cetaceans have a variety of publication outlets. However, a formal assessment of those options has not been conducted. To better understand the trends in publications regarding dolphins and whales, we surveyed peer-reviewed articles from 9 different databases. Our survey produced 1,628 unique articles involving 16 cetaceans found both in the wild and in captivity. Each article was coded a variety of information: habitat, geographic location, genus, topic, research design, and journal type. The analyses indicated that 68% studies were conducted with wild populations and 29% were performed with captive populations. A quarter of the journals publishing research on dolphins or whales published almost 80% of all the articles selected for this study. Studies were conducted across many different geographic locations and topics. Other major findings elucidated relationships between various variables. As expected, specific topics were more likely associated with certain research designs, habitats, and journal types. One of the most important findings of this study is the limited publication of research conducted with captive cetaceans. While it is important to continue to examine animals in their natural environments, there is much to be learned from studies conducted with animals in captivity. As a group, we must become cognizant of the publication trends which currently describe our research progress as we integrate our knowledge from captivity and the wild.

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