Gene Ontology is the de facto standard for annotation of gene products. It has been widely used in biological data mining, and I believe it will play more central role in the future.
Publications mentioning GO was collected and deposited in GO ftp, and can be accessed (ftp://ftp.geneontology.org/go/doc/).
I count the number of publicans by year, and draw a histogram, which showed that the growing trend was remarkable.
> gopub <- read.delim("ftp://ftp.geneontology.org/go/doc/biblio-data.txt") > dim(gopub)  3626 10 > p <- ggplot(gopub, aes(year)) > p + geom_histogram(aes(y=..count..)) + opts(title = "Publications mentioning GO")