UNESCO Global Ocean Science Report

Client: UNESCO

Published: December 2020

In 2019, Science-Metrix was commissioned by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to provide bibliometric and technometric data for the second edition of the Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR). The GOSR is aimed at stakeholders and decision-makers who wish to assess progress towards Goal 14 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, or in short form, “Life below water”. Specifically, the GOSR is linked to SDG target 14.a, which relates to scientific knowledge, research capacity and the transfer of marine technology.

Science-Metrix’s contribution to the study covered the period 2000–2018. Data were first computed for Ocean Science as a global field, and then according to the following sub-areas of research:

  • Ocean Ecosystems Functions and Processes
  • Ocean and Climate
  • Ocean Health
  • Human Health and Wellbeing
  • Blue Growth
  • Ocean Crust and Marine Geohazards
  • Ocean Technology
  • Ocean Observation and Marine Data


All data sets used in this study were custom built, using over 2,000 keyword searches to capture all relevant literature while keeping precision optimal. Science-Metrix’s contributions provided insights into which countries have been the most impactful in Ocean Science. They also provided an in-depth view of the national and institutional collaboration ecosystems in each research field of interest, making it possible to identify the entities playing especially important roles.

The technometric component of the study also covered Ocean Science technologies. To identify such technologies, Science-Metrix built entirely new data sets using search strategies specifically adapted to patent documents, such as making strategic use of the Cooperative Patent Classification scheme. This part of the study helped in identifying the countries and activity sectors that commercially and technologically benefit from Ocean Science research. The technical fields most tightly linked to Ocean Science were also identified.

About the GOSR

“The world ocean is a life-supporting system for humanity, yet it remains largely unknown. Based on data collected from around the world, the Global Ocean Science Report 2020 (GOSR2020) offers a global record of how, where and by whom ocean science is conducted. By analysing the workforce, infrastructures, equipment, funding, investments, publications, data flow and exchange policies, as well as national strategies, the GOSR monitors our capacity to understand the ocean and seize new opportunities. In its second edition, the GOSR2020 addresses four additional topics: contribution of ocean science to sustainable development; blue patent applications; extended gender analysis; and capacity development in ocean science.” – UNESCO

Read the full report here.

Read the Executive Summary here.

Image credit: iStock Photo