Does anyone know of a good way to obtain data on the number of publications per year on a given subject? Scholar has an option to sort search results by date, but there does not seem to be an automated way of generating a report. In the worst case I will write a script that extracts the data I need, but perhaps someone knows of another system that offers such a facility? Thank you.

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    Scholar only tracks publications that are available online (either freely or through one of Google's subscriptions). This is only a fraction of actual publications.
    – JeffE
    Jul 26, 2014 at 2:58
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    Additionally, it seems very difficult to define good, automatically trackable borders for what papers are "on a given subject" and which belong to different subjects.
    – xLeitix
    Jul 26, 2014 at 8:24
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    As to what's on a given topic, I'm happy with papers that mention the exact phrase. I'm going to go on the Web of Science, do a keyword search and run a script on the results.
    – MGA
    Jul 26, 2014 at 12:19
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    Finding an absolute number for a given year might be a bit tricky, since the notion of "publication" can be quite vague. However, if you care about the evolution of a topic over the years, you could focus on a subset of journals/conferences in the field, that could provide a sample large enough, and consistent.
    – user102
    Aug 20, 2014 at 11:31
  • Google has the overwhelming majority of "articles" published in peer-reviewed journals, so I would not argue that it is missing much, unless you are interested in conference abstracts and such.
    – Behacad
    Aug 20, 2014 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


ISI Journal Citation Reports

ISI Journal citation reports might give you some useful information (your university may have a subscription). It allows you to browse citation reports by subject category (i.e., discipline). It includes things like impact factor, total counted citations, total articles in the focal year.

You can then click "view journal summary list" which will give you an overview.

For example, here is sample output for psychology in the 2013 JCR:

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Of course, this only includes articles in journals indexed by ISI.

Publish or Perish Software

More generally, you might want to check out Publish or Perish. It is free software for Windows and OSX that provides a way of searching Google Scholar particularly suited to bibliometric analysis.


dimensions.ai automatically generates a plot of such information when you search for papers on it. I've found it very useful myself.

(I know this is an old question, but I'm adding this answer just in case someone comes across it.)


I don't know of a solution for arbitrary field and subject; I suspect none exists at present. But in mathematics, you could at least easily check how many publications there are each year in a given AMS subject classification.

For instance, this search result shows that 23 papers were published on Enumeration in graph theory in 2005. Note: you may need a subscription to access that link.

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