ESO Extends Lead as World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory
A survey of number of 2012 annual publications also shows ESO just ahead of Hubble
19 February 2013
An analysis of the number of peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2012 using data from ESO’s telescopes and instruments has shown that ESO remains the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. More than 870 refereed papers using ESO data were published last year, a significant increase from the previous totals, and the most in ESO’s history. The number of papers using observations from ESO in 2012 was slightly ahead of those that used data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
About 70% of all the papers credited to ESO in 2012 employ data acquired using the Very Large Telescope (VLT)/ VLT Interferometer facilities, a fraction that has been consistently increasing over the past three years. Other facilities of the La Silla Paranal Observatory — including the survey telescope VISTA at Paranal as well as La Silla telescopes and instruments — have similar numbers to the previous year, and they alone nearly match the productivity of the next most productive ground-based observatory, Hawaii’s W. M. Keck Observatory. The contribution from the survey telescope VISTA is rising rapidly.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, which will celebrate its transition from a construction project to a fully fledged observatory on 13 March 2013 with its official inauguration, has seen 16 refereed papers published using ESO data for the first time in 2012 .
The methods used to obtain these numbers vary across the different observatories, so the figures cannot always be compared precisely. However, ESO significantly surpasses any other ground-based observatory and remains neck and neck with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope for the sixth year in a row — results that clearly cement ESO’s significant contribution to astronomical research. These publication statistics give an idea of how much scientific work gets done with data from the individual observatories, but do not address the impact of this science.
These figures are published in the annual Basic ESO Publication Statistics published by ESO’s Library. calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database containing refereed publications that use ESO data .
Interactive graphs of selected statistics are also available online. These graphs display the entire content of the telbib database for publications from the year 1996 to the present.
 In 2012, a total of 19 papers contained data by ALMA, but three did not involve any European observing time, so they are not included in the statistics. The same approach is used when counting papers from other telescopes.
 Journals that are routinely screened for ESO-related keywords are: A&A, A&ARv, AJ, ApJ, ApJS, AN, ARA&A, EM&P, ExA, Icarus, MNRAS, Nature, NewA, NewAR, PASJ, PASP, P&SS and Science.
- The annual Basic ESO Publication Statistics
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6280
Lars Lindberg Christensen
Head of ESO ePOD
ESO ePOD, Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
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