The role of non-English-language science in informing national biodiversity assessments
Amano, Tatsuya; Berdejo-Espinola, Violeta; Akasaka, Munemitsu; de Andrade Junior, Milton; Blaise, Ndayizeye; Citegetse, Geoffroy; Checco, Julia; Çilingir, F.Gözde; Tor, Marina Corella; Drobniak, Szymon M.; Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Golivets, Marina; Ion, Mihaela C.; Jara-Díaz, Javiera P.; Katayose, Ryosuke; Lasmana, Felicia P.S.; Lin, Hsien-Yung; Lopez, Erick; Mikula, Peter; Morales-Barquero, Lucia; Mupepele, Anne-Christine; Narváez-Gómez, Juan P.; Nguyen, Thi Hieu; Nogueira Lisboa, Sa; Nuñez, Martin A.; Pavòn-Jordàn, Diego; Pottier, Patrice; Prescott, Graham W.; Samad, Farahd; Šćiban, Marko; Seo, Hae-Min; Shinoda, Yushin; Vajna, Flóra; Vozykova, Svetlana; Walsh, Jessica C.; Wee, Alison K.S.; Xiao, Hui; Zamora-Gutierrez, Veronica
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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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-language 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 have uncovered the established role of non-English-language literature as a major source of information locally. On average, non-English-language literature constituted 65% of the references cited, and these were recognized 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 and/or regional biodiversity. Furthermore, 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 and/or implementing machine translation.