Natural history: Small collections make a big impact

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
493,
Page:
480
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/493480b
Published online

In an era in which support for natural-history collections is waning, we wish to point out how effective even a small, young collection can be.

We constructed a Google Scholar profile (called UAM Birds) of publications that used the bird collection we oversee at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks. The collection is supported by 1.3 full-time-equivalent staff, and it served in whole or in part as research infrastructure for these publications, contributing and preserving specimens and associated information.

The body of work supported by the collection is diverse and well cited, with a profile h-index of 42, equivalent to an average Nobel laureate in physics (J. E. Hirsch Proc. Acad. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 102, 1656916572; 2005). This positively sings 'good investment' and should encourage other institutions to rediscover and reinvest in collections as important societal resources.

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Affiliations

  1. University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.

    • Kevin Winker &
    • Jack J. Withrow

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