Estimating the size of the hep-ph community


Just for fun: how big is the hep-ph community?

Let N be the total number of researchers in the hep-ph community. This includes students/postdocs, faculty, and emeritii. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that students/postdocs, and older faculty don’t publish at an appreciable rate. Instead, let us assume that all of the arXiv’s e-prints come from young faculty.

So let us estimate that all of the e-prints are generated by approximately 1/3 of the community. (So that the community is evenly split between student/postdocs, young faculty, and old faculty.) Let’s say that young faculty produce, on the average, one unique e-print per month, or 1/4 of an e-print per week. By `unique’ I mean that papers with multiple authors count as a paper for one of the authors, not all of them.

Thus in an average week, there should be \frac{N}{3} \cdot \frac{1}{4} eprints on the hep-ph section of the arXiv.

Last week there were 66 papers, and so I estimate N =  792 researchers. Rounding up (because I feel like on the whole I was low-balling), I estimate on the order of 1000 total researchers in the hep-ph community.

For reference, SPIRES tells me that there’s about 3800 active researchers in hep-ph. To control for inactive names who aren’t listed as `inactive,’ on can limit to PhDs granted after 1960. This number goes down to 1773.

That’s not bad for an order of magnitude estimate!

(My estimate is a little convoluted, but I just have no idea how much the `average’ grad student or the `average’ postdoc publishes, so I tried to avoid those numbers.)


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