SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

SWAT Literature Database Readme

Updated February 8, 2017

Welcome to the SWAT Journal Article Literature Database. This is an outgrowth of the “SWAT review article” that was published in Trans. ASABE in 2007 (Gassman et al., 2007), that can be accessed via the link in the i_SWAT paragraph or via a link on the SWAT homepage. Gassman et al (2014) provides a more in-depth description of the types of papers included, database structure, search options and other details (data provided in that paper were based on a total of 1,700 papers recorded in the database at that time).

Dr. Raghavan Srinivasan (Spatial Sciences Lab., Texas A&M University, College Station, TX) provided the initial inspiration for the database. Mr. Curtis Balmer, (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Iowa State University) created and maintains the on-line database. Mr. Joshua Parcell (former CARD undergraduate student worker) also performed some initial database development. Mr. Mark Siemers of CARD, Ms. Jessica Buman and Mr. Karim Abdelhamid (former CARD undergraduate student workers), Ms. Carly Andregg (current CARD undergraduate student worker) and Ms. Georgie Mitchell (USDA-ARS Grasslands, Soil and Water Research Lab in Temple, TX), collectively have uploaded the vast majority of citation information currently available in the database. Thanks are also expressed to several dozen authors who have uploaded citation data for one or more articles to the database including Dr. Martin Volk of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany.

The citation data included in the SWAT Literature Database is limited to “peer-reviewed journal articles,” with the recognition that the peer review process is much stronger and legitimate for some publishers/journals versus others. Users are encouraged to review discussions that explore controversies related to alleged illegitimate publishing practices (e.g., Beall, 2013; Butler, 2013; Haug, 2013; Jalalian and Mahboobi. 2014; Baker, 2016; Ward, 2016; Wicherts, 2016; Chawla, 2017; Devraj, 2017; Wikipedia, 2017; Silver, 2017; Vyawahare, 2017). At present, some journal articles included in the database are probably published by less reputable publishers that are characterized by weak or nonexistent review processes and/or other substandard practices. However, more in-depth screening of journals/publishers represented in the database is anticipated by the end of 2017, which will likely result in some current journal article citation data being removed from the database (due to the journals/publishers being of questionable reputation). Meanwhile, database users are encouraged to exercise discernment regarding the source of specific articles logged in the database and the usage of a given article in their own research.

Beyond journal articles, peer-reviewed book chapters and other articles are not included, even though some of those may be of equal or superior quality to some comparable journal articles (we can’t keep track of everything). Also, thousands of SWAT-related articles or reports exist in the so-called “grey literature” that encompasses government reports, conference papers, etc. (Wikipedia, 2016), including hundreds of SWAT-related studies in SWAT conference proceedings alone (SWAT, 2017), which are excluded from the database.

The majority of studies included in the SWAT Literature Database have been written in English although some are written in other languages; e.g., Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Farsi and German. In addition, most of the studies included in the database describe some type of specific application of the standard SWAT model. However, other types of studies have been entered in the database including: (1) applications of modified SWAT models, (2) review studies focused either on SWAT or comparisons of SWAT with other models, (3) studies that describe data and/or component development directly relevant to SWAT users, and (4) a limited set of studies which describe key predecessor or related models as described in Gassman et al. (2014).

The main information included in the database is the journal citation, model, abstract, watershed description, language, and broad, primary and secondary application categories. The application categories were originally applied to the 200+ SWAT-related articles reviewed in Table 2 of Gassman et al. (2007) and are subjectively determined; i.e., many of the articles could be categorized three or more ways. These categories have been expanded since then in the database and in some cases reflect emerging trends, such as studies focused on curve number modifications or wetland applications, and are attempt to help database users to refine their searches for articles of interest (and I continue to refine these). You may find these useful or you may find them annoying; either way you can also use the general search tool which allows you to search on any word or phrase of interest. The “models” designation is used to identify whether SWAT, a SWAT spin-off model, a predecessor model, or some combination of those is discussed in a specific paper. No attempt is made to identify other models; there are many interfaces or comparisons of SWAT with other models reported in the literature. Also, note that “BMP” is used for the broad category only for papers that discuss use of SWAT for BMP assessments but don’t present SWAT results.

Other information included for some entries in the database are the calibration summary, validation summary, general comments and keywords. The calibration summary, validation summary and general comments were used in support of writing Gassman et al. (2007) and are blank for the majority of the database entries, although general comments are added occasionally when additional clarification is warranted for a study. There are also two SWAT literature lists that are provided. One is ordered alphabetically while the other one is organized by model category. These lists update automatically every time a new entry is submitted to the literature database.

Please feel free to upload information about new SWAT journal articles that you have co-authored or know have not been input to the database yet. Those are reviewed first before being released to the database. Please also submit any comments or suggestions you have regarding the database using the “Contact Database Staff” option. We will try to quickly correct any errors, typos, etc. that anyone finds. We will also consider other requests but can’t promise for sure that we will be able to act on them.

Phil Gassman


Baker, M. 2016. Open-access index delists thousands of journals: Many publications did not reapply after leading directory tightened its quality criteria. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2016.19871.

Beall, J. 2013. Medical publishing triage – Chronicling predatory open access publishers. Annals of Medicine and Surgery. 2(2): 47–49. DOI: 10.1016/S2049-0801(13)70035-9.

Butler, D. 2013. Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing (The explosion in open-access publishing has fuelled the rise of questionable operators). Nature. 495: 433–435. DOI: 10.1038/495433a.

Chawla, D.S. 2017. Mystery as controversial list of predatory publishers disappears. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aal0625.

Devraj, R. 2017. Commission moves to block use of predatory publishers. University World News. Issue No.: 444.

Gassman, P.W., Balmer, C., Siemers, M., and Srinivasan, R. 2014. The SWAT Literature Database: Overview of database structure and key SWAT literature trends. Proceedings of the 2014 International SWAT Conference, July 28–1 August, Pernambuco, Brazil, Texas Water Resources Institute Technical Report – TR-472.

Gassman, P.W., M.R. Reyes, C.H. Green, and J.G. Arnold. 2007. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool: historical development, applications, and future research directions. Transactions of the ASABE. 50(4): 1211-1250. Doi: 10.13031/2013.23634.

Haug, C. 2013. The downside of open-access publishing. The New England Journal of Medicine. 368: 791-793. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1214750.

Jalalian, M. and H. Mahboobi. 2014. Hijacked journals and predatory publishers: Is there a need to re-think how to assess the quality of academic research? Walailak Journal of Science and Technology. 11(5): 389-394. DOI: 10.14456/WJST.2014.16.

Silver, A. 2017. Controversial website that lists ‘predatory’ publishers shuts down: Librarian Jeffrey Beall won’t say why he has unpublished his widely read blog. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2017.21328.

SWAT. 2017. Soil & Water Assessment Tool: Conferences.

Vyawahare, M. 2017. Bogus Journals weighing down research in India. Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India.

Ward, S. 2016. The rise of predatory publishing: How to avoid being scammed. Weed Science. 64: 772–778. DOI: 10.1614/WS-D-16-00080.1.

Wicherts, J.M. 2016. Peer review quality and transparency of the peer-review process in open access and subscription journals. PLoS ONE. 11(1): e0147913. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147913.

Wikipedia. 2016. Grey Literature.

Wikipedia. 2017. Predatory open access publishing.