The Gap Analysis Program (GAP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) produces geospatial datasets providing information on land cover, predicted species distributions, stewardship (ownership and conservation status), and an analysis dataset which synthesizes the other three datasets. The intent in providing these datasets is to support the conservation of biodiversity. The datasets are made available at no cost. The initial datasets were created at the state level. More recent datasets have been assembled at regional and national levels.
GAP entered an agreement with the Policy Analysis and Science Assistance branch of the USGS to conduct an evaluation to describe the effect that using GAP data has on those who utilize the datasets (GAP users). The evaluation project included multiple components: a discussion regarding use of GAP data conducted with participants at a GAP conference, a literature review of publications that cited use of GAP data, and a survey of GAP users. The findings of the published literature search were used to identify topics to include on the survey.
This report summarizes the literature search, the characteristics of the resulting set of publications, the emergent themes from statements made regarding GAP data, and a bibliometric analysis of the publications. We cannot claim that this list includes all publications that have used GAP data. Given the time lapse that is common in the publishing process, more recent datasets may be cited less frequently in this list of publications. Reports or products that used GAP data may be produced but never published in print or released online. In that case, our search strategies would not have located those reports. Authors may have used GAP data but failed to cite it in such a way that the search strategies we used would have located those publications. These are common issues when using a literature search as part of an evaluation project. Although the final list of publications we identified is not comprehensive, this set of publications can be considered a sufficient sample of those citing GAP data and suitable for the descriptive analyses we conducted.
Review and bibliometric analysis of published literature citing data produced by the Gap Analysis Program (GAP)