Using publications in the Web of Science database (WoS), this study investigates the research collaboration on the top 95 most researched global river basins since 1900. The links of both the disciplines involved and the management issues studied between the biophysical, economic, societal, climatic and governance sub-systems of these river basins were examined. We found that research collaborations were dominated within the biophysical sub-system (65.3%) since the knowledge predevelopment period (1900–1983), with continuous increases (by 18.5%) during the rapid development (1984–2000) and the stabilisation (12.9% increase) (2001–2017). However, research collaborations related to the societal sub-system remained marginalised (varied at about 1%), while those related to the governance sub-system expanded in issues studied (32.8%) but were not supported by the core governance disciplines (3.4%). The key findings explained why global river basins are degraded from the perspective of knowledge development and they can assist the strategic planning and management of scientific research for improving governance capacity in modifying the relationship between human and nature on river basins in the Anthropocene. Tackling challenges in the Anthropocene requires transformation of the current pattern of knowledge development, a revolution in the governance of science.
For FULL-TEXT https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-022-01716-0
Author(s): Yongping Wei, Shuanglei Wu
Organization(s): The University of Queensland