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Vertebrate palaeontology (Third edition) by M. J. Benton
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All members of the Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group publish their work. Publications include original scientific papers, published in the international scientific journals, reviews, books, and popular articles.

Masters and PhD students are encouraged to publish their work. Training and mentoring are provided so that new researchers learn how to plan and write reports of their research. Writing up and publishing in the leading international journals is a competitive business, but essential for those who wish to pursue a scientific career.

Overview of Publications by the Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group, and their impact (1985-2016)

We now have fairly complete records of palaeontological publications by the group for the past 32 years, and this permits an overview and analysis of general and particular trends. Here is the graph - what does it mean, and what are the limitations?
  • The number of publications has risen more or less linearly from 10-20 per year in the 1980s to 80-120 in the past six years.
  • The rate of increase has steepened in the past six or seven years.
  • These increases perhaps reflect growth of the research group, from four in the 1980s (Briggs, Cowie, Dineley, Savage), down to two from 1989-1996 (Benton, Briggs), and then rising to six in 2013 (Benton, Donoghue, Schmidt, Rayfield, Pisani, Vinther).
  • The population of MSc and PhD students, and postdocs and fellows has also grown substantially since 2000.
  • Total citations have increased exponentially, from 20-40 in the 1980s, 100-300 from 1990-1995, then by annual increments of 100s to a global total of 5317 in 2016.

Sources of data

Publication counts

  • Publication details are taken from Web of Science, and cross-checked with Scopus, searching for all publications with the author address of Department of Geology/ School of Earth Sciences at Bristol, and selecting those by members of the Palaeobiology Research Group
  • Other sources, such as author cvs and obituaries, were searched to add non-listed publications. In more recent years (after 1997), the list has been compiled annually in consultation with members of the group, who help to fill gaps.
  • The base data are compiled in our annual lists of publications here.
  • We include only refereed scientific papers, books, and reviews, and exclude book reviews and popular articles (such as encyclopaedia entries, articles for popular magazines and websites, which are listed separately).

Citation counts

  • Citation counts are compiled according to the names of key members of staff and research fellows
  • Counts are made for the exact years during which those persons were in the Bristol department.
  • If a person moved to another institution, their citation counts terminate when they left Bristol. For colleagues who retired or left the field, the citation clock keeps ticking for us.
  • These are the people and years counted:
    David Dineley (1985 onwards), Bob Savage (1985 onwards), Derek Briggs (1985-2002), Michael Benton (1989 onwards), Paul Pearson (1995-2002), Simon Braddy (1996 onwards), Phil Donoghue (2003 onwards), Dani Schmidt (2004 onwards), Emily Rayfield (2005 onwards), Davide Pisani (2014 onwards), Jakob Vinther (2014 onwards), Christine Janis (2014 onwards), and Tom Williams (2016 onwards).
  • Citations are annual counts from Google-Scholar, except for David Dineley, Bob Savage, and Simon Braddy, whose citation counts come from Scopus.


  • Google-Scholar famously over-estimates citation counts, but Web of Sciences tends to under-estimate, and Scopus is incomplete before 1996.
  • Citation counts during any year represent a cumulation of the impact of each person, including work they did before arriving in Bristol.
  • The citation count excludes most fellows, postdocs, and PhD students, unless they coauthored their publications with one of the above-named people. This under-estimates citations accrued by the group, perhaps countering some of the inflation noted above.
  • Likewise, for colleagues who moved from Bristol to another institution, we cut off their citations immediately they go, even though their Bristol-based work continues to be cited.
  • The quality of capture of citation data before 2000 is poor, and gets worse and worse back in time, leading to a substantial under-estimate in earlier years.
  • Likely we have missed reporting many publications, especially before 1995. Before 2000, palaeontologists commonly published their work in books such as symposium volumes, obscure journals, and geological survey reports, which are largely not captured by online searching tools.

Thecodontosaurus illustration courtesy of Richard Deasey.
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