Mountain areas provide essential resources for a significant proportion of the Earth’s population. This study presents the development of mountain research between 1900 and 2019 based on peer-reviewed articles in English listed in Web of ScienceTM (WOS). We analyzed the number of publications over time, journals and scientific categories, frequent topics, and geographical distributions based on 40 mountain ranges and authors’ countries as well as institutional contributions. From 1900–2019, 195k ±10% mountain research papers were published; over 50% from 2010–2019. While papers were published in more than 1000 different journals, indicating a wide range of disciplines engaged in mountain research, 94% of the papers were assigned to “Science & Technology”, only <5% to “Social Sciences” and “Arts & Humanities”. The most papers were written by researchers in the USA, followed by China. The number of papers per area or capita showed high variability across the investigated mountain ranges. Thus, geographically and disciplinarily more balanced research activities and better accessibility of knowledge about mountain regions are recommended.