Weston MA, Whisson DA, Symonds MRE, Yarwood M (2020) Persistent spatial gaps in ornithological study in Australia 1901-2011. Archives of Natural History 47, 264-271

What’s the paper about:

We use information, derived primarily from the Australian ornithological journal Emu, to identify research efforts on all the species of Australian birds, and specifically WHERE that research was conducted. This identified the same gaps of focus (in areas you would expect – e.g. the huge deserts of Western Australia), that we identified 70 or 80 years ago.

What’s the story behind it:

This research was a continuation of Maree Yarwood’s Honours research project from which we also had an earlier analysis. Interestingly, Emu itself was not wanting to publish the paper (which is largely descriptive), and we had to think carefully about where to send it, ultimately ending up with a more science-history journal, which actually seems appropriate. Curiously, although accepted in June 2019, the publication date wasn’t until October 2020. That’s quite some backlog there. Another interesting thing that happened with this paper was that the editor-in-chief changed the author order (against our wishes), on the basis that Mike Weston was the corresponding author. I’ve not ever seen this done before.


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