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Telescopes in the mirror of scientometrics


Counting papers and citations is one way to estimate the significance of particular astronomical telescopes and other facilities in the long time gap between the verdict of history and the referee’s report on your most recent proposal. This has been done for 2,184 observational astronomy papers published between 1960 and 1964 (with 14,237 citations in 1965–1969) and the numbers looked at in various ways. The extreme dominance of California in optical astronomy and of the UK and Australia in radio astronomy provides the background against which ESO, NOAO, NRAO, and A&A were founded, with equality of access to facilities having increased enormously in the intervening 40 years, but inequality of results having increased slightly. A number of other factoids about astronomical publications, the community, and their environments surfaced during the counting process, and a subset reported here, including a few pertaining to the more distant past.

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