An early career researchers’ perspective on inequality in ecosystem services research in Asia

Related GLP Member: Jingxia Wang, Nita Shashidharan


  • We provide an overview of the inequalities in scientific production on Ecosystem Services in Asia.
  • From an early career perspective we highlight four key categories young researchers face difficulties in.
  • These include: career prospects & capacity-building, data access & knowledge transfer, access to publishing, and funding.


The ecosystem services (ES) approach has been widely applied for assessing nature’s values and human-nature links. Over the past two decades, this research approach has experienced remarkable growth, exerting global influence on the sustainability policy agenda. Recent literature indicates that North America, Europe, East Asia, and Australia are major contributors to ES research, while other regions are progressing at a slower pace. Many countries in these regions remain under-represented due to various factors, including but not limited to knowledge transfer gaps, disparities in research capacities, as well as distinct needs and challenges among researchers in the Global North and South. Although the ES literature in Asia is growing in topics, methodologies, quality and quantity, many Asian researchers, especially Early Career Researchers (ECRs), still face problems typical of the Global South while conducting ES research. In this paper, we outline four major challenges from the perspective of ECRs. They include: 1) Inequality in career prospects and capacity-building, 2) Inequality and challenges in data access & knowledge transfer, 3) Circulation of research findings in global scientific publishing, 4) Challenges in funding. This perspective paper draws special attention to the challenges faced by ECRs in ES research in Asia. By presenting recommendations, we strongly advocate that the research community work together to make ES research a level playing field for ECRs like ourselves working in Asia and elsewhere.