The Significant Scientific Literature Appears In A Small Core Of Journals

Despite the voluminous literature that supports this point, which need not be cited here, people in the research, library, and information science communities continue to claim that there are 40,000 or more "journals" in existence. The problem is that such claims do not provide either qualitative or quantitative criteria for the definition of a journal. Furthermore, thousands of deceased journals are included among these claims. Despite the steady growth of scientific literature, 150 journals

Eugene Garfield
Sep 1, 1996

Despite the voluminous literature that supports this point, which need not be cited here, people in the research, library, and information science communities continue to claim that there are 40,000 or more "journals" in existence. The problem is that such claims do not provide either qualitative or quantitative criteria for the definition of a journal. Furthermore, thousands of deceased journals are included among these claims.


Despite the steady growth of scientific literature, 150 journals still account for half of what is cited and one quarter of what is published.
These unsubstantiated claims have the unfortunate effect of raising researchers' anxiety about their ability to keep up with an ever-rising tide of literature. They also spawn outrageous extrapolations about the geometric expansion of the literature to a point well beyond anyone's hope of keeping up with it. For example, 15 years ago biomedical researchers were told that more than 2 million...

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