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27 June 2014 Acarological publications in the last 150 years: historical trends and an assessment of current journals
Zhi-Qiang Zhang
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Next month, the 14th International Congress of Acarology will be held in Kyoto, Japan (14–18 July), and Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) will release the 2013 impact factor for journals. I am using this opportunity to provide an overview of acarological publications in the last 150 years and also an assessment of acarological journals.

Acarologists were traditionally affiliated and associated with entomologists and other zoologists, and their publications are scattered in many different journals and books. The first specialist journal, Acarologia, did not start until 1959 (Table 1), and the First International Congress of Acarology was held just half a century ago (Flechtmann 2011). Beginning in the 1950s, the number of papers on the Acari started to increase rapidly (Fig. 1), and reached a peak of over 13,000 during the 1980s. This level of very high output continued for the next 25 years, with over 12,000 papers per decade (while the data for 2010–2014 is for less than half a decade, based on current data, the total for this decade is predicted to be similar to the last two decades). The number of new taxa of Acari in the publications for each decade followed a similar trend, but peaked at just over 10,000 during the 1970s and 1980s. This was followed by a rapid decline (about 25% decrease) in the 1990s thereafter, the rate of decrease slowed considerably1 (Fig. 1). As the total number of acarological publications is more or less stable during this period, this decline is a reflection of the decrease in taxonomic papers and increase of other papers on mites—acarology has become less descriptive and more diversified and non-taxonomic journals such as Experimental and Applied Acarology are becoming important.


Numbers of papers and new taxa on the Acari published during the last 150 years. The number of papers was based on the search result of “Acari*” in the online edition of Zoological Record. The number of new taxa was based on metrics search of “Acari” at (data as of 12 June 2014).



Referred research journals in acarology*, with 2013 impact factor (estimated based on data in Science Citation Index Expanded or SCIE) and also the official 2012 impact factor based on Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (JCR) (Thomson Reuters 2013).


The number of journals dedicated to the Acari has been on the rise, especially during the last few years (Table 1). Zhang (1996) listed seven acarological journals known at that time: Acarologia, International Journal of Acarology, Experimental and Applied Acarology, Journal of Acarology, Journal of the Acarological Society of Japan, Acarina—Russian Journal of Acarology, and Systematic and Applied Acarology. This list was repeated in Walter and Proctor (1999). While Baker (1999) also listed seven journals, she omitted the discontinued “Journal of Acarology” and added Systematic & Applied Acarology Special Publications, which was started in 1997. Acarines, the journal of the Egyptian Society of Acarology, was started in 2007. In this decade, two more journals were also established: Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases (2010) and Persian Journal of Acarology(2012).

Only four of the nine current peer-referred research journals in acarology are indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE; Table 1). It should be noted that three of these four journals are published by major commercial publishers, and only Systematic & Applied Acarology (SAA) is a non-profit journal published by an acarological society; also SAA is the most recent journal covered in SCIE (Zhang 2011). Based on the citation data, Zhang (2014) estimated that the 2013 impact factor for SAA will be more than 1.1; here I also did the same for three other JCR-listed journals (Table 1): SAA is among the top three journals in acarology ranked by impact factor—clearly SAA is gaining a good reputation among acarologists in the world.


I thank my fellow editors for maintaining the high editorial standards in this journal and for their continuing support. I am very grateful to Dr Bruce Halliday (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia) for looking after the subscription of SAA.



A.S. Baker ( 1999) Mites and Ticks of Domestic Animals. An Identification Guide and Information Source. The Stationery Office, London, 240 pp. Google Scholar


C.H.W. Flechtmann ( 2011) Summary of the history of the International Congresses of Acarology. Zoosymposia, 6, 9–13. Google Scholar


D. Liu , T.-C. Yi , Y. Xu & Z.-Q. Zhang ( 2013) Hotspots of new species discovery: new mite species described during 2007 to 2012. Zootaxa , 3663, 1–102. Google Scholar


D.E. Walter & H. Proctor ( 1999) Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, and CABI Publishing, Wallingford, 322 pp. Google Scholar


Z.-Q. Zhang ( 1996) Acarology Information Sources. Acarology Bulletin , 1, 27. Google Scholar


Z.-Q. Zhang ( 2011) A new chapter in the development of Systematic & Applied Acarology. Systematic & Applied Acarology , 16, 336–336. Google Scholar


Z.-Q. Zhang ( 2014) Continued growth of Systematic and Applied Acarology, and hot spots and shelf life of new species in 2013. Systematic & Applied Acarology , 19, 109–112. Google Scholar


[1] 1. Liu et al. (2013) analyzed data from 2007 to 2012 and showed that one journal (Zootaxa) contributed over a third of the total number of new species of the Acari described during this period; the rapid increase of acarological papers in Zootaxa in recent years might have contributed to the reduction of the rate of decline.

© 2014 Systematic & Applied Acarology Society
Zhi-Qiang Zhang "Acarological publications in the last 150 years: historical trends and an assessment of current journals," Systematic and Applied Acarology 19(2), 250-252, (27 June 2014).
Accepted: 1 June 2014; Published: 27 June 2014

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