Narrow lenses for capturing the complexity of fisheries: A topic analysis of fisheries science from 1990 to 2016

Shaheen Syed, Melania Borit, Marco Spruit
2018 Fish and Fisheries  
Despite increased fisheries science output and publication outlets, the global crisis in fisheries management is as present as ever. Since a narrow research focus may be a contributing factor to this failure, this study uncovers topics in fisheries research and their trends over time. This interdisciplinary research evaluates whether science is diversifying fisheries research topics in an attempt to capture the complexity of the fisheries system, or whether it is multiplying research on similar
more » ... topics, attempting to achieve an in-depth, but possibly marginal, understanding of a few selected components of this system. By utilizing latent Dirichlet allocation as a generative probabilistic topic model, we analyse a unique dataset consisting of 46,582 full-text articles published in the last 26 years in 21 specialized scientific fisheries journals. Among the 25 topics uncovered by the model, only one (Fisheries management) refers to the human dimension of fisheries understood as socio-ecological complex adaptive systems. The most prevalent topics in our dataset directly relating to fisheries refer to Fisheries management, Stock assessment, and Fishing gear, with Fisheries management attracting the most interest. We propose directions for future research focus that most likely could contribute to providing useful advice for successful management of fisheries. K E Y W O R D S fisheries publications, fisheries research focus, fisheries research gaps, fisheries research topics, latent Dirichlet allocation, topic modelling This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
doi:10.1111/faf.12280 fatcat:f3go7q5wxrcopc5ir4odrvtrp4