Viewpoint: Selecting the 5 most important papers in the first 50 years of the journal of range management

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1 Scopus citations


A graduate seminar to select the 5 most important papers published in the first 50 years of the Journal of Range Management (JRM), 1948-1997, cultivated an appreciation for the development of the discipline of rangeland science and management, and provided some historical perspective to judge the JRM. A review of textbooks, and papers describing early milestones and the use of citation counting were helpful in developing criteria to discriminate the importance of papers. The greatest disagreement among the 9 participants focused on the use of citation counts as a criterion: 2 students used only counts and 3 students refused to use counts. Eighteen papers received at least 1 vote as a top 5 paper, and 2 plant succession-vegetation monitoring papers were clearly the most popular. The exercise revealed that discontent with the JRM is not new. Although the JRM now covers a wider variety of topics, including both reductionist and synthetic works, some students felt that it was less encompassing of multiple values of rangelands and the breadth of rangeland science than recent texts. The students found that the selection of important papers expanded their understanding of the discipline and their resolve to publish in the JRM. Ideally, others will be challenged to perform this review for the benefit of students, the discipline, and the JRM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Range Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Citation counting
  • Disciplinary history
  • Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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