Sustainability Science in Latin America: who is doing what?


Resilience and sustainability science have been vibrant areas of research worldwide. Concepts, theory and methods have developed within the scientific realm and appropriated on the policy one. However, these developments have followed different scholarly trajectories responding to local needs and priorities, especially in developing countries. Here we review the development of resilience and sustainability science in the Latin American context. Using tools from text mining, we analyse a corpora of 5299 records retrieved from the Web of Science and map a network of actors, funding agencies, and the evolution of key topics over time. We found that although there is a back bone network of authors and collaborations, it is dominated by researchers based in non-Latin American countries, and fails to connect with a large bulk of minor groups scattered across the continent. In fact, with exception of Brazil, the major funding agencies supporting sustainability science research have been based in the United States, Europe, and with a lesser extend in China. Topic modelling reveals high levels of interdisciplinary across Latin American scholars. Major topics centre around natural resource management and agricultural development. Topics related to energy issues, from clean energy to mining and biofuels, are becoming more trendy over time; while topics related to health (e.g. HIV), learning, schooling, justice, tourism and violence seem constant over time. Resilience and sustainability science have provided Latin American scholars with a common language, shared conceptual frameworks, and very similar context and research problems. Our results suggest that there is scope for larger regional collaborations. While local funding might be a limitation, current communication technologies and knowing who is doing what can facilitate such cooperation. Here we provide such map.

Stockholm, Sweden