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Estimate of Number of Paleontological Papers In the Universe: Re: paper request



[ I've modified the attribution and quote to more accurately reflect
  who wrote what, but the original text below came unaltered from HP
  Tommy Tyrberg.  This message was held up due to a slight technical
  glitch.  -- MPR ]

------- Start of forwarded message -------
From: Tyrberg Tommy <tommy.tyrberg@aerotechtelub.se>
To: "'dinosaur@usc.edu'" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Estimate of Number of Paleontological Papers In the Universe: Re: 
paper request 
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 08:24:35 +0100

Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette <dinosaur@dinosaur.org> wrote:

> How many paleontological papers can one suppose to have actually
> been written and published since the beginning of such things? Or
> since, perhaps, 1880 to pick an arbitrary date.

Well.... The BFV online has 112,000 VP references (including some
duplications), but is missing the years 1959-80 and 1994-2000. Estimating
(conservatively) that these years would add 30 % one arrives at c. 145,000
references. 
However, I know from my own experience that BFV only contains ca 60% of all
references relating to avian palaeontology for the years covered. Coverage
is however very likely better for other taxa. If we estimate a average 75%
coverage this would yield a total of ca 190,000 VP references. 
Now comes the difficult part, how many invertebrate palaeontology papers are
there? Considering that vertebrates are a rather small part of palaeontology
(though a well-researched one)  it seems unlikely that vertebrate papers
would make up more than half of the total, if anything I would think less
than half. Thus, my guess is that the total number of palaeontological
papers ever written is on the order of 500,000.
For one minor part of VP I can make a more accurate estimate: the total
number of papers concerning avian palaeontology is somewhere between 10,000
and 15,000, probably closer to the lower figure. 
Anyone else got more reliable data?
Tommy Tyrberg

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