Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Why Publish Research?

By Hugh Possingham

Why publish research when what we are after is conservation outcomes? Here’s why.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It has been suggested by some that Environmental Decisions Group researchers should focus more on “outcomes, communication and engagement” rather than peer-reviewed publication. As these conversations progress we have discovered that there is a great deal of confusion about research and research communication.

We argue that the process of publication is not separate to outcomes but an essential part of achieving them (and this is an argument that is relevant to any “applied” science). Publishing increases the magnitude and chance of biodiversity conservation outcomes by ensuring that the best advice is provided based on evidence that has been judged to be meeting certain standards. To argue against peer-reviewed publication jeopardises the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity by diminishing the role of the scientific process.

At least three broad categories of research help to achieve biodiversity conservation:

  • applied ecology;
  • social-economic aspects of conservation; and
  • policy design.

Research in applied ecology provides evidence for designing conservation interventions. Social-economic research provides information about public preferences for conservation outcomes that can inform the design of socially acceptable and cost-effective conservation interventions. Policy research brings together these...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.