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  • 1 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), Caracas, Venezuela
  • 2 Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales, Caracas, Venezuela requena.j@gmail.com
  • 3 Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela
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Abstract

The development, current status and dynamics of research in biology related domains in Venezuela is examined through the study of demographic, academic distribution, scientific output and productivity, for two sets of investigators that fit a profile outlined for life sciences researchers or scientists. The first group corresponds to biologists extracted from the ranks of the official Program for the Promotion of Researchers (PPI), the other, pulled out from those that publish in biologically oriented journals, indexed by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI). Both sets of biology scientists, PPI researchers or Web of Science/ISI scientists, show similar characteristics. The number (absolute and relative) of PPI member that are supposedly dedicated to biological research but do not publish in ISI indexed journals was found to be very similar to the number of supposedly non biologist members of the PPI Program that do publish biological articles in ISI indexed journals. There is also an ongoing feminization process, of academic hierarchies. Female biologists predominate in lower academic ranks and in research cadres, as many as 70% in some areas of biology. This contrasts with the pattern of male predominance observed during the second half of twentieth century in the country. Productivity of Venezuelan biologists seems to depend on gender; men are more productive that their female counterparts. From the bibliometric standpoint, it is found that, on average, 30% of all publications produced in the country are related to biology (or life sciences). The Venezuelan biologists network qualifies neither as a ‘Small World’ nor it follows the ‘Scale Free’ model. Finally, in a country rich in renewable natural resources, it seems that the Venezuelan community of researchers in biology is in decline, despite the fact that they constitute its most productive group of investigators.

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