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Flawed citation practices facilitate the unsubstantiated perception of a global trend toward increased jellyfish blooms

Flawed citation practices facilitate the unsubstantiated perception of a global trend toward increased jellyfish blooms
Flawed citation practices facilitate the unsubstantiated perception of a global trend toward increased jellyfish blooms
Speculation over a global rise in jellyfish populations has become widespread in the scientific literature, but until recently the purported ‘global increase’ had not been tested. Here we present a citation analysis of peer-reviewed literature to track the evolution of the current perception of increases in jellyfish and identify key papers involved in its establishment. Trend statements and citation threads were reviewed and arranged in a citation network. Trend statements were assessed according their degree of affirmation and spatial scale, and the appropriateness of the citations used to support statements was assessed. Analyses showed that 48.9% of publications misinterpreted the conclusions of cited sources, with a bias towards claiming jellyfish populations are increasing, with a single review having the most influence on the network. Collectively, these disparities resulted in a network based on unsubstantiated statements and citation threads. As a community, we must ensure our statements about scientific findings in general are accurately substantiated and carefully communicated such that incorrect perceptions, as in the case of jellyfish blooms, do not develop in the absence of rigorous testing.
Citations, gelatinous zooplankton, increasing, jellyfish, network, perception, population, trends
1466-822X
1039-1049
Sanz-Martín, Marina
633cf696-a6dd-4580-8e05-600ae94b0f6f
Pitt, Kylie A.
5aa1bb5c-3ee9-4b32-b27f-1f3373989148
Condon, Robert H.
f4038285-21fd-46b9-b07b-0ae0d76cfe86
Lucas, Cathy H.
521743e3-b250-4c6b-b084-780af697d6bf
Novaes de Santana, Charles
244a1dca-7c0f-46a4-b744-ca90a9127e50
Duarte, Carlos M.
5d2e9d27-adc6-41bf-9838-f9e702eff0eb
Sanz-Martín, Marina
633cf696-a6dd-4580-8e05-600ae94b0f6f
Pitt, Kylie A.
5aa1bb5c-3ee9-4b32-b27f-1f3373989148
Condon, Robert H.
f4038285-21fd-46b9-b07b-0ae0d76cfe86
Lucas, Cathy H.
521743e3-b250-4c6b-b084-780af697d6bf
Novaes de Santana, Charles
244a1dca-7c0f-46a4-b744-ca90a9127e50
Duarte, Carlos M.
5d2e9d27-adc6-41bf-9838-f9e702eff0eb

Sanz-Martín, Marina, Pitt, Kylie A., Condon, Robert H., Lucas, Cathy H., Novaes de Santana, Charles and Duarte, Carlos M. (2016) Flawed citation practices facilitate the unsubstantiated perception of a global trend toward increased jellyfish blooms. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25 (9), 1039-1049. (doi:10.1111/geb.12474).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Speculation over a global rise in jellyfish populations has become widespread in the scientific literature, but until recently the purported ‘global increase’ had not been tested. Here we present a citation analysis of peer-reviewed literature to track the evolution of the current perception of increases in jellyfish and identify key papers involved in its establishment. Trend statements and citation threads were reviewed and arranged in a citation network. Trend statements were assessed according their degree of affirmation and spatial scale, and the appropriateness of the citations used to support statements was assessed. Analyses showed that 48.9% of publications misinterpreted the conclusions of cited sources, with a bias towards claiming jellyfish populations are increasing, with a single review having the most influence on the network. Collectively, these disparities resulted in a network based on unsubstantiated statements and citation threads. As a community, we must ensure our statements about scientific findings in general are accurately substantiated and carefully communicated such that incorrect perceptions, as in the case of jellyfish blooms, do not develop in the absence of rigorous testing.

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 June 2016
Published date: June 2016
Keywords: Citations, gelatinous zooplankton, increasing, jellyfish, network, perception, population, trends
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397319
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397319
ISSN: 1466-822X
PURE UUID: c5664f8e-88f1-4202-bbca-6fa761a613e0
ORCID for Cathy H. Lucas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5929-7481

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Jun 2016 08:56
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 05:59

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Contributors

Author: Marina Sanz-Martín
Author: Kylie A. Pitt
Author: Robert H. Condon
Author: Cathy H. Lucas ORCID iD
Author: Charles Novaes de Santana
Author: Carlos M. Duarte

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