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Open AccessArticle

The Role of Climate in the Collapse of the Maya Civilization: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Scientific Discourse

1
Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Heisenbergstr. 1, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
2
Division for Science and Innovation Studies, Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck Society, Hofgartenstr. 8, 80539 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2017, 5(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli5040088
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
This bibliometric analysis deals with research on the collapse of the Maya civilization—a research topic with a long-lasting history, which has been boosted significantly by recent paleoclimatic research. The study is based on a publication set of 433 papers published between 1923 and 2016. The publications covered by the Web of Science (WoS) show a significant increase since 1990, reaching about 30 papers per year at present. The results show that the current discourse on the collapse of the Maya civilization is focused on the role of climate as a major factor for the demise of this ancient civilization. The bibliometric analyses also reveal that (1) paleoclimatic records become numerous and are increasingly better dated; (2) the explanatory power of the records has been significantly increased by analyzing samples from regions closer to the relevant Maya sites; and (3) interdisciplinary cooperation of the humanities (archeology, anthropology, history) with natural sciences disciplines (geoscience, ecology, paleoclimatology, meteorology) seems to be highly promising. The collapse of the Maya civilization is a good example of how natural sciences entered research in the humanities and social sciences (anthropology, archeology, history) and boosted research (and solutions) around long-discussed, but unsolved questions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Maya civilization; climate change; citation analysis; altmetrics; RPYS Maya civilization; climate change; citation analysis; altmetrics; RPYS
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Marx, W.; Haunschild, R.; Bornmann, L. The Role of Climate in the Collapse of the Maya Civilization: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Scientific Discourse. Climate 2017, 5, 88.

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