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Reaching and implementing the best available knowledge in wildlife biology
  • Tomas Willebrand,
  • Scott Newey
Tomas Willebrand
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Scott Newey
Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
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Wildlife biology is an applied discipline, where research results are to varying degree incorporated to accepted knowledge However, several factors appear to increase the divide between research results, and knowledge and implementation. First, there is an exponential increase in number of published papers, in part driven by misguided reliance on publication record for assessing scientific competence. The shear number of publications risk diluting knowledge through salami-slicing or simply making it difficult to find relevant publications. This development could be problematic for the future of wildlife biology, and it has made complex statistical analysis of already available data more profitable than the ability to generate new data in robust field studies. Research results are conceptually different from knowledge and need to be evaluated in a post-publication process to become knowledge. Secondly, the formulation of research questions has become restricted by the way research is organised and funded. A shift from a focus on individual performance to research groups could encourage the development of more complex research questions that are better suited to advance the knowledge of wildlife biology. Funding agencies and research institutions need to think beyond current norm of a three year funding package. Thirdly, defining knowledge as the result of a post-publishing evaluating of research publications would facilitate knowledge transfer between researchers and practitioners. It is well established that a two-way transfer of knowledge and experience is beneficial to both researchers and practitioners but the low return on academic recognition for such efforts is currently simply too low, which positively discourages researchers from dividing limited resources into such activities. Only academic institutions and funding agencies together can make the significant changes needed as have begun in other disciplines. However, researchers also need to embrace existing and emerging initiatives such as Open Sceince, FAIRdata, CREDIT authorship to accelerate change.
09 Feb 2024Assigned to Editor
09 Feb 2024Submission Checks Completed
09 Feb 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Feb 2024Reviewer(s) Assigned