wateReview is an interactive, inclusive, and collaboratively designed platform that provides a comprehensive look at the landscape of water research in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Despite being the world's most water-rich region, LAC countries face a multitude of water-related stressors. Further, they lack overarching scientific knowledge about water resources in the region, which is necessary for good decision-making and setting policies. Over the course of an unprecedented two-year study, the DataLab worked with researchers in UC Davis's Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources (LAWR) to analyze some 20,000 research articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Using this review, we determined which areas of research about water resources in LAC countries are thoroughly studied, and which ones are less so---or in other words, we determined the "bright" and "blind" spots of water research in LAC. By identifying these trends in research, wateReview serves as a resource for researchers and other stakeholders, whereby they can consult the platform to make informed decisions about undertaking future research in this part of the world.
DataLab initially assisted the LAWR researchers as part of our start-up project program. The collaboration expanded, and DataLab staff assisted with expanding the literature review, performing text analysis on the corpus of research papers, and visualizing the results in a publicly accessible way. To contextualize results from the literature review, the team used publicly available data to cluster countries into hydrosocial groups with similar social and hydrological systems. This data includes multiple metrics to measure socioeconomic factors as well as water resource abundance and use. Our clustering process allowed for more meaningful interpretation of subsequent results within and across LAC countries.
This page will serve as a brief overview of the project. Project work on wateReview extended beyond the platform itself, encompassing workshop sessions, feedback surveys from stakeholders, and more; if you would like to learn more about the project, please view the project website. You can also read the final publication on the journal website.