Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ( IF 9.412 ) Pub Date : 2020-09-14 , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2007610117 Miguel C. Leal, Jaime M. Anaya-Rojas, Murray H. G. Munro, John W. Blunt, Carlos J. Melian, Ricardo Calado, Moritz D. Lürig
The Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Nagoya Protocol in particular, provide a framework for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of biological resources and traditional knowledge, and ultimately aim to promote capacity-building in the developing world. However, measuring capacity-building is a challenging task due to its intangible nature. By compiling and analyzing a database of scientific peer-reviewed publications over a period of 50 y (1965 to 2015), we investigated capacity-building in global marine natural product discovery. We used publication and authorship metrics to assess how the capacity to become scientifically proficient, prolific, and independent has changed in bioprospecting countries. Our results show that marine bioprospecting is a dynamically growing field of research with continuously increasing numbers of participating countries, publications, and scientists. Yet despite longstanding efforts to promote equitability and scientific independence, not all countries have similarly increased their capacity to explore marine biodiversity within their national jurisdiction areas. Although developing countries show an increasing trend in the number of publications, a few developed countries still account for almost one-half of all publications in the field. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that economic capacity affects how well countries with species-rich marine ecosystems can scientifically explore those resources. Overall, the capacity-building data analyzed here provides a timely contribution to the ongoing international debate about access to and benefit-sharing of biological resources for countries exploring biodiversity within and outside their national jurisdiction areas.