Frequently Asked Questions

What information do I need to submit an article?

All you need in order to contribute an article to JournalMap is the DOI number and the location where the study was conducted. The tools on the JournalMap article submission page can help you determine the coordinates for a study area if no coordinates were reported.

What if my article does not have a DOI number?

Older studies and articles from small publishers may not have DOI numbers. These articles can still be added to JournalMap, but you will need to contact us to do so.

Do I have to be an author on a paper to submit it to JournalMap?

No, anybody can contribute an article to JournalMap whether they were an author of that article or not. The only requirement is that you have access to the article to obtain the location information from it.

What happens to an article after I submit it to JournalMap?

When articles are submitted to JournalMap, they go into a queue to be approved before they are added to the complete JournalMap database. This is to ensure that submitted articles meet JournalMap's requirements for completeness and accuracy.

Can I submit a large number of articles at one time to JournalMap?

Yes, but you will need to contact us to do this. The JournalMap website can accept uploads via CSV and XML file formats, but they will need to be formatted correctly. Presently this function is not available to public users.

My study location is a large area, not a point. Can I input polygons or areas into JournalMap?

Presently, JournalMap can accept only point locations for a study. There are attribute fields available where you can specify that the point represents a larger area. We are working to expand JournalMap so that users can delineate areas or linear features for articles.

Article Locations

I found an error in an article's location. How can that be corrected?

Errors are uncommon in coordinates that are published in articles, but they do occur. Additionally, geotagging of articles from place names can sometimes cause errors. We try to catch obvious location errors, but we sometimes miss them. Luckily errors in article coordinates are easy to fix in JournalMap. If you discover a study that is incorrectly geotagged, please contact us or fill out our feedback form.

Where do the article locations in JournalMap come from?

The geographic coordinates assigned to an article in JournalMap come from the study itself. Geographic coordinates or study area descriptions reported in a paper are used to geotag the articles.

Geographic Searching

How are the values for environmental variables like elevation or land cover assigned to articles in JournalMap?

Once an article is geotagged in JournalMap, that location is intersected against a series of data layers to determine the different search filter values.

The values of environmental variables that are assigned to an article are incorrect. How did that happen, and can it be fixed?

The environmental variable values assigned to articles in JournalMap come from GIS data layers that are global in extent. By necessity these datasets are relatively coarse in scale (typically 1 sq. km. resolution), and may miss or average out local variability. To maintain consistency across the world, it is necessary to use these broad, global-scale datasets. We are exploring other options of incorporating higher-resolution and more accurate data layers as available in different parts of the world. At present, we do not have the ability to manually modify/correct the environmental variable values assigned to an article, but we are working to enable that.

General JournalMap

Beyond contributing articles, how can I contribute to JournalMap?

First, thanks for your interest in JournalMap. We would love to have your help, and we're always looking for new collaborators. Please send us feedback.

What do you have planned for future JournalMap development?

Lots of exciting things are in store for JournalMap! Our development roadmap on the Support Us page gives a brief overview of where we're headed.

I have a suggestion for a JournalMap feature. How do I submit that to you?

We would love to hear any suggestions you have on how JournalMap could be improved. Please contact us Support Us page.

Why hasn't anybody done this before?

That's a really good question. Probably because of the challenges of identifying and extracting location information from published studies and the lack of standards for how locations are reported. Advances in parsing algorithms and computing as well as the rise of crowdsourcing now makes the task achievable. Indeed, there are other similar efforts to JournalMap like GLOBE or Pangea that are also looking at ways to geotag scientific knowledge.

How can I get access to the actual articles that are in JournalMap?

JournalMap is a knowledge discovery tool that can help you find relevant scientific papers but we do not store and distribute the actual content. Each article in JournalMap will link you to the publisher's website for that article. Accessing most copyrighted papers will require going through the journal publisher or professional society.

Search Filter Definitions and Sources

Aridity Index

Aridity characterizes moisture availability to plants. The aridity index is a function of precipitation, temperature, and potential evapo-transpiration. Higher aridity index values indicate humid areas, and low values dry areas.

Aridity Index ValueClimate Class
< 0.03Hyper Arid
0.03 – 0.2Arid
0.2 – 0.5Semi-Arid
0.5 – 0.65Dry sub-humid
> 0.65Humid

Source: Trabucco, A., and Zomer, R. J. 2009. Global Index (Global-Aridity) and Global Potential Evap-Transpiration (Global-PET) Geospatial Database. CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information. Published online, available from the CGIAR-CSI GeoPortal at:


Biomes are large geographic regions of the world that share similar climate, flora, and fauna. Biomes can be defined for terrestrial as well as aquatic and marine environments. The JournalMap biomes filter is based on a combination of the World Wildlife Fund's terrestrial biomes and marine realms.

Elevations and Slope

Global elevation and slope data are from the USGS's GTOPO30 digital elevation model (DEM) dataset. GTOPO has a resolution of 30 arc-seconds - or approximately 1 sq. km. Slope was calculated from the GTOPO30 DEM in degrees.

Annual Precipitation and Temperature

Climate data for JournalMap is from the WorldClim Global Climate Dataset. These layers have a resolution of 1 sq. km. and represent annual averages over the period of 1960 to 1990.

Source: Hijmans, R.J., S.E. Cameron, J.L. Parra, P.G. Jones and A. Jarvis, 2005. Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25: 1965-1978.

Growing Degree Days

Growing degree days (GDD) refers to the number of days in a year where the temperature is high enough for plant growth to occur. JournalMap uses GDD data from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit. In this dataset, a base temperature of 5°C was used to compute monthly GDD's and those monthly values were then totaled to yield an annual number.

Source: Climate Research Unit, Univ. of East Anglia.New, M.G., M. Hulme and P.D. Jones, 1999: Representing 20th century space-time climate variability. I: Development of a 1961-1990 mean monthly terrestrial climatology. J. Climate. 12, 829-856.;includerelatedlinks=1&amp;dataset=31


JournalMap uses the 1km landcover data from the U.S. Geological Survey's Global Land Cover Characterization, version 2.0.

Source: Loveland, T.R., Reed, B.C., Brown, J.F., Ohlen, D.O., Zhu, J, Yang, L., and Merchant, J.W., 2000, Development of a Global Land Cover Characteristics Database and IGBP DISCover from 1-km AVHRR Data:International Journal of Remote Sensing , v. 21, no. 6/7, p. 1,303-1,330.

Soil Depth

Soil depth information in JournalMap came from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Effective Soil Depth data layer (version 3.6).

Topsoil Texture

Soil surface texture data in JournalMap is from the Harmonized World Soil Database (version 1.2)

Contact Us

If you're interested in collaborating on the JournalMap project, contact:

Jason Karl, Ph.D.
Research Ecologist,
USDA Agricultural Research Service
Jornada Experimental Range
(575) 646-1301