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Worldwide Scientific Knowledge on Grain-legumes:

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Worldwide Scientific Knowledge on Grain-legumes: to what extent does science contribute to agricultural diversity?

A bibliometric method and analysis (1980-2018)

In 2016, the United-Nations created an international year for pulses to raise awareness about the considerable benefits of these crops for the sustainability transition of agrofood systems, hoping to favor their development. Yet pulses are subject to strong lock-in; and among grain-legumes, soya is the leading worldwide crop developed mainly for oil and feed uses.

To reverse lock-in and to foster more diversity in the cultivation and uses of grain-legumes, scientific research is essential.

Our study examines whether, and how, science addressed the diversity of grain-legume species at the global scale, with particular interest in comparing the share of studies devoted to soya vs. pulses. We built a dataset of 107,823 scientific publications between 1980 and 2018 retrieved from Clarivate’s Web of Science. These records cover 10 scientific themes of interest running the gamut of agrofood research (e.g., genetics, agronomy, nutrition). We found that focus of research has been unbalanced: soya has been – and still is – over-researched compared to other legumes. Science itself, therefore, contributes to the lack of grain-legumes diversity, raising questions for the future about how to tackle agricultural diversity.

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