Klingelhöfer et al., 2020

Klingelhöfer, D., Braun, M., Brüggmann, D., & Groneberg, D. A.; “Glyphosate: How do ongoing controversies, market characteristics, and funding influence the global research landscape?;” Science of The Total Environment, 2020, 765, 144271; DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144271.


Glyphosate is a systemic broad-spectrum herbicide that is by now the most extensively used herbicide in the world and has been the source for a still heated controversy about its harmful effects on human health and the environment. The different weighting of scientific studies has led to different attitudes in most countries towards appropriate handling and their regulatory authorities. Therefore, an in-depth analysis of the global research landscape on glyphosate is needed to provide the background for further decisions regarding appropriate and careful use, taking into account the different regional conditions. The present study is based on established bibliometric methodological tools and is extended by glyphosate-specific parameters. Chronological and geographical patterns are revealed to determine the incentives and intentions of international scientific efforts. Research output grew in line with the exponential growth in consumption, with the field of research becoming increasingly multidisciplinary and shifting towards environmental and medical disciplines. The countries with the highest herbicide use are also the leading countries in glyphosate research: USA, Brazil, Canada, China and Argentina. The link between publication output and market parameters is as evident as the association with national grants. The research interest of the manufacturing company Monsanto could be shown as the second largest publishing institution behind the US Department of Agriculture, which interest is underscored by its position among the otherwise government-funded organizations. Developing countries are generally underrepresented in glyphosate research, although the use of glyphosate is increasing dramatically. In conclusion, the incentives are strongly linked to market and agricultural interests, with the scientific infrastructure of the countries forming the basis for financing and conducting research. The existing international network is important and needs to be expanded and strengthened by including the lower economies in order to take into account all regional and social needs and aspects of glyphosate use.