Through 100 years of Ecological Society of America
publications: development of ecological research
topics and scientiﬁc collaborations
Department of Biological Sciences, Pusan National University, 2 Busandaehak-ro, 63beon-gil, Geumjeong-gu, Busan 46241 Republic of Korea
Department of Environmental Science, Toho University, 2-2-1 Miyama, Funabashi, Chiba 274-8510 Japan
Department of Biological Science, Kongju National University, 56 Gongjudaehak-r, Gongju, Chungcheongnam Province 32588 Republic of Korea
Citation: Kim, J. Y., G.-J. Joo, and Y. Do. 2018. Through 100 years of Ecological Society of America publications:
development of ecological research topics and scientiﬁc collaborations. Ecosphere 9(2):e02109. 10.1002/ecs2.2109
We reviewed the texts from 22,179 publications in journals published in the last 100 yr by the
Ecological Society of America. We quantiﬁed the relative use of terms and identiﬁed temporal trends and
research collaborations using text-mining methods. Terms concerning ecological topics at the population
level such as structure, function, and competition and terms relating to the inﬂuences of environmental fac-
tors were frequently used throughout this century. Relative use of higher hierarchical levels (i.e., ecosys-
tem, landscape) has rapidly increased, but the use of population and community was stable. Research
collaboration networks revealed geographically concentrated clusters at the organizational level. To under-
stand global-scale ecosystem processes and responses, multinational collaboration in ecological ﬁelds
should increase. Our review further demonstrates the importance of conserving historical ecological texts
as they reﬂect the attitude of the ecological community toward academic concepts over time.
Key words: ecological concept; Ecological Society of America; science education; term network; text mining.
Received 30 December 2017; accepted 10 January 2018. Corresponding Editor: Debra P. C Peters.
Copyright: © 2018 Kim et al. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Integration and convergence of historical
knowledge is becoming increasingly important,
and new information is being discovered with
retrospective analysis of old data. Since the disci-
pline of ecology includes diverse academic ﬁelds
(Cullen et al. 1999, Thompson et al. 2001), there
have been limited comprehensive reviews using
objective data. Large bodies of text extracted
from scientiﬁc publications have not been used
frequently in ecological reviews. In particular,
there have been limited attempts to focus on con-
ceptual terms used in ecology (Cherrett 1989,
Lawton 1999, Borrett et al. 2014, Reiners et al.
2017) or the text itself in scientiﬁc publications.
Scientiﬁc texts, as a historical record (i.e., ecology
papers), contain information that reﬂects the aca-
demic consensus of the scientiﬁc community.
Thus, the use of scientiﬁc terms is potentially
important in estimating relative interest in scien-
tiﬁc concepts within the academic community.
Scientometric research (analysis of publica-
tions) and culturomics (quantitative analysis of
text) have recently emerged as new tools to
investigate certain phenomena in a scientiﬁc
community using quantitative measurements of
word frequencies in digital texts (Ladle et al.
2016). Words used by a community reﬂect the
rooted ideas of its members (Pennebaker et al.
2003). Extending this concept, the language that
scientists use in their papers reﬂects the current
conceptual models or ideas of science. Cultur-
omic tools have already provided new insights