Who is working on ant physiology? There is room to improve international collaborations

Ants are an abundant and diverse group with worldwide distribution. Given their omnipresence, ecosystem services,
and potential applications, ants may be excellent models for multiple lines of research such as physiology. However, the
focus and worldwide distribution of ant physiology research are unknown. Given the evidence of scientific colonialism in
multiple scientific areas – where credit and reward are not given to local scientists from developing nations when scientists
from wealthier nations travel for research – we examined the potential for such trends in studies of ant physiology.
We investigated the frequency of studies and collaborations across countries during 2015 – 2019, which simultaneously
allowed us to estimate the most studied taxa.
We found that the largest proportion of studies was done in Europe and North America. Collaboration trends were mainly
among high-income countries. Nearly one third of the countries that served as sampling sites were not represented in
authorship (mostly low- and middle-income). Furthermore, low- and middle-income countries show a lower proportion
of authorship or co-authorship when these countries served as sampling sites, as compared with high-income countries.
This disparity might indicate scientific colonialism in the field. However, collaborations between institutions from the
sampling country and their foreign counterparts increased with the per capita Gross Domestic Product, suggesting a
link between country’s participation in international collaboration and its economic prosperity.
How publications are circulated may further influence trends in scientific colonialism. Both the probability that a study
reaches the public sphere (Altmetric) and the number of citations increase with the impact factor (IF) of the journal in
which the article was published. Unfortunately, high-IF journals often show the highest Article Processing Charges, which
can be a financial impediment for institutions in low- and middle-income countries. Our study highlights factors that
influence the process of research in this field. The evidence of scientific colonialism in ant physiology that we highlight
in this study calls for urgent measures to promote more equitable collaborative efforts.


Dumas Galvez

Dilma Castillo
Brenda Sofía Virola-V
Jeancarlos Abrego L.


Editorial: Estación Científica Coiba AIP
Tamaño: 1.31Mb
Soporte: Digital
Formato: Pdf (.pdf)
Idioma: Ingles