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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Counting stars: contribution of early career scientists to marine and fisheries sciences

Smolinski, Szymon; Ottmann, Daniel; Outinen, Okko; Schadeberg, Amanda; Melli, Valentina; Funk, Lara; Denechaud, Come; Wieczorek, Alina; Orio, Alessandro; Mussgnug, Robert; Morkune, Rasa; Vereide, Emilie Hernes; Zdulska, Maja; Phillips, Genevieve; Lishchenko, Fedor; Srebaliene, Greta


Scientific careers and publishing have radically changed in recent decades creating an increasingly competitive environment for early career scientists (ECS). The lack of quantitative data available on ECS in marine and fisheries sciences prevents direct assessment of the consequences of increased competitiveness. We assessed the contributions of ECS (up to 6 years post first publication) to the field using an indirect approach by investigating the authorships of peer-reviewed articles. We analysed 118461 papers published by 184561 authors in the top 20 marine and fisheries sciences journals over the years 1991–2020. We identified a positive long-term trend in the proportion of scientific articles (co-)authored by ECS. This suggests a growing contribution by ECS to publications in the field. However, the mean proportion of ECS (co-)authors within one publication declined significantly over the study period. Subsequent tests demonstrated that articles with ECS (co-)authors receive fewer citations and that the proportion of ECS (co-)authors on an article has a significant negative effect on the number of citations. We discuss the potential causes of these inequalities and urge systematic support to ECS to achieve more balanced opportunities for funding and publishing between ECS and senior scientists.


bibliometrics; early career researchers; scientometrics; scientific career; scientific publishing

Published in

ICES Journal of Marine Science
2022, volume: 79, number: 9, pages: 2351-2361

Authors' information

Smolinski, Szymon
National Marine Fisheries Research Institute
Ottmann, Daniel
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Outinen, Okko
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Schadeberg, Amanda
Wageningen University and Research
Melli, Valentina
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Funk, Lara
Heriot-Watt University
Denechaud, Côme
Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
Wieczorek, Alina
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Mussgnug, Robert
Wageningen University and Research
Morkūnė, Rasa
Klaipeda University
Hernes Vereide, Emilie
Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
Zdulska, Maja
Heerema Marine Contractors
Phillips, Genevieve
University of Tasmania
Lishchenko, Fedor
Vietnam-Russia Tropical Centre
Srėbalienė, Greta
Klaipeda University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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