The role of non-English-language science in informing national biodiversity assessments

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Tatsuya Amano, Violeta Berdejo-Espinola, Munemitsu Akasaka, Milton A.U. de Andrade Junior, Ndayizeye Blaise, Julia Checco, F. Gözde Çilingir, Geoffroy Citegetse, Marina Corella Tor, Szymon Marian Drobniak 


Consulting the best available evidence is key to successful conservation decision-making. While much scientific evidence on conservation continues to be published in non-English languages, a poor understanding of how non-English languages science contributes to conservation decision-making is causing global assessments and studies to practically ignore non-English-language literature. By investigating the use of scientific literature in biodiversity assessment reports across 37 countries/territories, we uncover the established role of non-English-language literature as a major information source locally. On average, non-English-language literature constituted 65% of the references cited, and were recognised as relevant knowledge sources by 75% of report authors. This means that by ignoring non-English-language science, international assessments may overlook important information on local/regional biodiversity. A quarter of the authors acknowledged the struggles of understanding English-language literature. This points to the need to aid the use of English-language literature in domestic decision-making, for example, by providing non-English-language abstracts or improving/implementing machine translation.



Biodiversity, Communication, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Studies, Library and Information Science, Life Sciences, Publishing, Scholarly Publishing, Social and Behavioral Sciences


biodiversity assesments, biodiversity conservation, Convention on Biological Diversity, evidence-based conservation, evidence synthesis, IPBES, language barriers, language bias, non-English-language literature


Published: 2022-01-20 23:17

Last Updated: 2023-03-17 07:26

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