Evaluating the quantitative and qualitative contribution of zoos and aquaria to peer-reviewed science
Keywords:Biodiversity, ex-situ, in-situ, conservation, research impact, research productivity, science communication
The EU Council Directive relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos as well as major global and regional zoo associations call upon zoos and aquaria to actively support biodiversity conservation and research. However, assessments of such contribution remain scarce to date. We therefore evaluated for the first time the quantitative research productivity of the 71 members of the Association of Zoological Gardens (Verband der Zoologischen Gärten) and its qualitative impact. Between 2008 and 2018 VdZ members contributed to 1.058 peer-reviewed and mostly ISI Web of Science (WoS)-listed publications, either as (co-)authors or by supplying data or bio samples deriving from their respective ex-situ animal collections. The publications resulted in 8.991 citations and appeared in 284 mostly not zoo-related journals with publication trends increasing over time. These findings plus the large range of subject areas and animal groups focused on hint towards a broad audience group reached and a high level impact. In summary we conclude that VdZ member zoos play an active and significant role to peer-reviewed science of which benefits might accrue for evidence-based ex-situ and in-situ conservation planning and management.
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