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According to the book Complexity: A Guided Tour, Mendel's model "was published in a rather obscure journal and was not appreciated as being of great importance until 1900, after which several scientists had obtained similar results in experiments". The Wikipedia page for his paper describes his work as "being largely forgotten".

So how was his work rediscovered again, given that 45 years are very long comparing to human lifetime? I hope that I don't make exaggeration, but either someone had to read his paper and still remembered it after 45 years (which contradicts to "being largely forgotten"), or re-read every old paper just to come across his (which has a very low chance with an obscure journal).

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The story is told in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel#Rediscovery_of_Mendel.27s_work Mendel's work was not "forgotten" but rather "ignored" because it did not fit in the mainstream science of that time. But some people go to the libraries, and read old papers. So when discoveries which were "much ahead of its time" are eventually rediscovered it is frequent that someone finds an older work. Such things happen permanently. The work published in established scientific journals usually does not disappear, as long as we have scientific libraries. Such things constantly happen in all sciences. For example, Fast Fourier Transform algorithm was rediscovered several times in 19th and 20th century, until it became "common knowledge".

The opinions on which jounrals are "obscure" and which are not are always highly subjective.

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  • $\begingroup$ Paper copies in scientific libraries, good. I wonder if a paper published today in an online-only journal will be available in any form 45 years in the future... $\endgroup$ – Gerald Edgar Aug 20 '17 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ This is what worries me too. The worst thing is that many libraries destroy paper copies of old journals. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Aug 20 '17 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Especially "obscure" ones. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Aug 20 '17 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ You mean such things "happen constantly" rather than "happen permanently" (awkward usage). $\endgroup$ – KCd Aug 24 '17 at 9:55

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