A publication is a permanent, accessible, isolated, and definitive piece of work; it should not be difficult to determine who wrote it, when they wrote it, and where it was published (Cole and Eales 1917). Publications that communicate research findings to others include those works found in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, along with books, reports, and other published materials. A search and synthesis of the published literature is a first step in the development of a research paper or proposal and is important for setting the stage and for defining the gaps in science that need addressing. Given advances in scientific and computing technologies and an increase in both the number of scientists and scientific outlets (e.g., journals) over the last few decades, the volume of published peer-reviewed journal articles in science and engineering has grown by about 4% per year over the last decade to about 2.6 million articles annually in 2018; 38% of these publications were produced or developed by researchers from China and the United States (White 2019). It has been suggested that the number of published works on a particular topic can be used as an indicator of importance or awareness assigned to it by the scientific community (Cohen et al. 2008, Schöffel et al. 2016).
Bettinger, Pete; Merry, Krista; McNulty, Steve; Siry, Jacek; Gavazzi, Michael. 2021. Variation in Results of Three Biology Focused Search Engines: A Case Study Using North American Tree Species. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 102(1): 578-. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1808.