In the summer of 1948 the Royal Society held a Scientific Information Conference which issued a lengthy report. This was discussed about a year later in a lecture by Professor Egerton to the Royal Society of Arts. His opening remarks were intended to startle the audience and were roughly along the following lines. The present rate of publication of scientific papers is approximately one million per annum, a number which is increasing. By far the biggest proportion of these, possibly up to 90 per cent., have little value other than to publicize the fact of their author's existence, since there is far too common a habit of rushing into print before experience has mellowed what might be an arbitrary or immature opinion. It is probable that not even 1 per cent. will have any value or be studied, say, ten years from their date of publication, and the effect of this welter of paper is that those who have to file or classify the information, and who are not in a position to decide the value of each paper, are, to a great extent, wasting their time.
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