Discovering ecologically relevant knowledge from published studies through geosemantic searching

TitleDiscovering ecologically relevant knowledge from published studies through geosemantic searching
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKarl JW, Herrick JE, Unnasch RS, Gillan JK, Ellis E, Lutters W, Martin L
Start Page674
Date Published08/2013
ARIS Log Number296729
Keywordsgeoreferencing, knowledge discovery, metadata, semantic search, spatial distribution

It is easier to search the globe for research on genes of a local plant or animal than to find local field research on that plant’s ecology.  While internet applications can find the closest coffee shop, it is difficult to find where the nearest relevant research was conducted.  As a result, ecologists are often unaware of published local research, and are unlikely to find relevant studies from similar environments worldwide.  Location information in ecological studies can be harnessed to enable geographic knowledge searches, and could be standardized to make searches more fruitful. To demonstrate this potential, we developed the JournalMap website ( Easy access to geographic distributions of knowledge opens new possibilities for using ecological research to detect and interpret ecological patterns and trends, evaluate current ecological knowledge, and facilitate knowledge creation. We call on journals and publishers to support standard reporting of study locations in publications and metadata, and we advocate for geo-referencing of past studies.