Developments and trends in soil science: 100 volumes of Geoderma (1967-2001)

TitleDevelopments and trends in soil science: 100 volumes of Geoderma (1967-2001)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsHartemink, AE, McBratney AB, and Cattle JA
Pagination217 - 268
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsBibliometrics, history of soil science, soil science, Soil science impact, Trends in soil science
AbstractBetween September 1967 and March 2001, Geoderma published 100 volumes containing 2079 papers covering 31,637 pages and filling 191 cm of shelf space. No doubt that is a lot of paper, but what is in it? This paper starts with a brief history of the journal and an overview of editors and a geographic breakdown of the editorial board. The contents of the 100 volumes is presented including an overview of the geographic origin of the research and authors, and an analysis of soil science subjects over time. Furthermore, the impact factor and the most frequently papers are discussed. The average length of the papers increased from 12.9 pages in the 1970s to 16.4 pages in the 1990s. Number of authors per paper increased faster so the pages per author have decreased over time. European authors account for about half of the papers but less than 40% of the research was conducted in Europe. The number of authors from North America has increased over the years and about one-fifth of the papers is from research in North America. More than half of the research reported in Geoderma was conducted in the temperate regions, whereas the tropics and subtropics account for about 30% of the papers. In the 1980s, 53% of the papers were descriptive but it decreased to 31% in the 1990s with a higher percentage of papers focussing on methodology. One of the intriguing trends is that 29% of the papers in the 1970s were based on field studies whereas only 18% of the papers in the 1990s were field based. Laboratory studies decreased from 60% in the 1970s to 49% in the 1990s. Over the same period, desk studies increased from 11% to 33% of the published papers. The majority of the papers in Geoderma has had no strong focus and only in recent years papers had an increased focus (i.e. agriculture, environment etc.). There has been a strong increase in soil physics papers whereas the share of soil chemistry steadily declined over time. Typical pedological papers cover about 30% of the journal and little change was found with time, except for the advent of papers in pedometrics. Papers on soil mineralogy have sharply declined from 25% in the 1980s to less than 10% in the 1990s. Over the same period, a doubling in the number of papers on soil and environment occurred. Papers containing information on soil classification increased from 30% in the early 1970s to around 50% in the late 1990s. Alfisols had received most attention followed by Inceptisols. Papers are based on a larger amount of soil samples and in recent years an increasing number of papers are based on existing data. The impact factor of Geoderma has steadily increased since the mid 1970s and in particular in the late 1990s. This review has shown important trends in Geoderma papers that likely reflect some of the major changes that have occurred in soil science as a whole.