I wondered about the number of papers published by mathematicians because I heard that they publish less than other academics or scientist. It would be nice if you could distinguish between the number of papers published by PhDs, Postdocs or Professors.

closed as too broad by Thomas, Massimo Ortolano, scaaahu, corey979, gman Jan 3 at 17:39

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  • There is no general answer, but you can have a look at this answer of mine to a similar (closed) question. Note that the variablility apply also to subfields of mathematics. – Massimo Ortolano Jan 2 at 16:41
  • @MassimoOrtolano Thank you. Have a nice year. – Danijar Dreger Jan 2 at 16:45
  • 1
    This sounds like a research question and I doubt anyone has bothered to do the research. The distribution is likely very far from a normal distribution, but, like I said, research. Note that some of the best mathematicians may publish very little if they work on the very hardest problems. You don't contribute much if you publish a lot of dreck. Other mathematicians may let their students publish the best stuff, whether as co-authors or not. – Buffy Jan 2 at 17:37
  • Both postdocs and professors are subsets of PhDs. – Azor Ahai Jan 2 at 19:29
  • @AzorAhai When used to refer to people, "Ph.D." seems to be ambiguous. I'd ordinarily use it to mean a person who holds a Ph.D. degree, and in that sense your comment is almost correct. ("Almost" because a few people have become professors without a Ph.D.) But I've seen people (especially on this site) use it to mean a person enrolled in a Ph.D. program, and I conjecture that this is what's meant in the question. – Andreas Blass Jan 2 at 23:03

This varies on a lot of things (e.g., by field and what kind of institution someone is at), however, there have been various studies. For instance Figure VII (p70) of this study (which seems a bit strange to me) graphs the annual number of papers per mathematician and their most recent data (2005-2008) appears to put the average just under 0.7 for "high-exposure mathematicians" and 0.2 for "low-exposure mathematicians."

That said, things vary a lot by area and what one considers as "research active." I would guess that it rather pure, theoretical areas (which I am most familiar with), among people I consider professors research active 1-2 papers/year is pretty typical. For postdocs I imagine the average is < 1/year (including those who are not "research successful") and for US PhD students < 0.2/year (most PhD students probably don't have anything published by the time they graduate, though they may have 1-2 preprints).

  • 0.7? This is almost certainly obsolete and/or misinterpreted. – darij grinberg Jan 2 at 20:51
  • @darijgrinberg Yes, of course things need to be interpreted appropriated. I didn't check their methors or what they mean by "high-exposure" but I do remember that the average number of total publications per author in something like a 20- or 30-year window using the MathematicalReviews database was around 1.75. I'm sure the numbers would be quite different if one restricted to facutly currently employed at R1 universities or the like. – Kimball Jan 2 at 20:59

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