Scientometric trends in Burmese amber research

Dunne E, Raja NB (2020)

Publication Type: Conference contribution, Abstract of lecture

Publication year: 2020

Event location: Online GB


Discoveries of fossil inclusions in Burmese (Myanmar) amber have attracted considerable attention due to their exquisite preservation, which offers an unparalleled window into Cretaceous forest ecosystems. However, research on Burmese amber has also attracted controversy due to its alleged role in funding internal conflict, resulting in a devastating humanitarian crisis. The palaeontological community is not yet unified on how to ethically adjust research practices in response to this situation. Using bibliometric methods and networks analyses, we investigated the scientometric trends in research publications on fossils in Burmese amber, and quantitatively examined the collaborative networks of their authors. We find that in the last 30 years, research activity on Burmese amber has generally increased, with a noticeable escalation within the last five years, coincident with the military takeover of the amber mines. The majority of publications are authored by researchers based in countries of the Global North and lack Burmese co-authors, indicating weak or absent collaborations with local researchers and communities. This practice of ‘parachute science’ is harmful generally, but in a conflict region it is acutely problematic because it erodes confidence about whether fossil specimens are – or even can be – ethically collected and traded.

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Dunne, E., & Raja, N.B. (2020). Scientometric trends in Burmese amber research. Paper presentation at Paleontological Association Annual Meeting, Online, GB.


Dunne, Emma, and Nussaïbah Begum Raja. "Scientometric trends in Burmese amber research." Presented at Paleontological Association Annual Meeting, Online 2020.

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