Aim: This review provides a comprehensive overview of more than 100 of the most cited studies in general medical journals and evaluates whether citations predict the quality of a scientific article.
Background: The number of citations is commonly used as a measure of the quality and impact of a scientific article. However, it is often criticised that the number of citations is in fact a poor indicator of the true quality, as it can be influenced by different factors such as current trends.
Methods: This review was conducted in line with the PRISMA guidelines. The Journal Citation Report (JCR) within Incites allowed the evaluation and comparison of articles, published in general medical journals, using far-reaching citation data drawn from scholarly and technical journals and conference proceedings. All steps of the review were performed in duplicate and conflicts were resolved through consensus.
Results: The 100 most cited articles published from 1963 until the end of 2018 were identified. The number of citations ranged from 4012 to 31853. Most of the articles were published in the 2000’s, followed by the 1990’s, 1980’s, 1970’s and 1960’s, respectively. All of the articles were published in five journals. There were 50 studies at level II, 28 at level V, 10 at level IV, 7 at level III, and 5 at Level I.
Conclusion: This systematic review provides an overview of the most cited articles, published in general medical journals. The number of citations provides an indication of the quality of evidence. However, researchers and clinicians should use standardized assessment tools rather than solely rely on the number of citations in order to judge the quality of published articles.
Keywords: Most-cited articles, Bibliometrics, Level of evidence, Citation classics, General medical journals, Article quality.
(Please cite as: Ahmad SJS, Ahmed AR, Kowalewski KF, Nickel F, Rostami K, Stocker CJ, et al. Citation classics in general medical journals: assessing the quality of evidence; a systematic review. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench 2020;13(2): 101-114).
Guyatt GH. Evidence-based medicine. ACP J Club 1991;114:16.
2.The periodic health examination. Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. Can Med Assoc J 1979;121:1193-254.
Sackett DL. Rules of evidence and clinical recommendations on the use of antithrombotic agents. Chest 1989;95:2-4.
Thoma A, Ignacy TA, Li YK, Coroneos CJ. Reporting the level of evidence in the Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery: Why is it important? Can J Plast Surg. 2012;20:12-16.
Ahmad SS, Ahmad SS, Kohl S, Ahmad S, Ahmed AR. The hundred most cited articles in bariatric surgery. Obes Surg 2015;25:900-9.
Moed HF. Citation analysis in research evaluation. Dordrecht: Springer; 2005.
Garfield E. 100 Citation classics from the Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA 1987;257:52-9.
Picknett T, Davis K. The 100 most-cited articles from JMB. J Mol Biol. 1999;293:171-6.
Müller M, Gloor B, Candinas D, Malinka T. The 100 Most-Cited Articles in Visceral Surgery: A Systematic Review. Dig Surg 2016;33:509-19.
Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Med 2009;6:e1000097.
Ahmad SJS, Ahmed AR, Exadaktylos AK, McWhinnie D, Nickel F, Hakky SM, et al. Systematic review on citation classics in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery. J Minim Access Surg 2018;14:265-72.
OCEBM levels of evidence working group. The Oxford 2011 levels of evidence. Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
Garfield E. Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation. Science 1972; 178:471-9.
Margolis J. Citation indexing and evaluation of scientific papers. Science. 1967;155:1213-9.
Brink PA. Article Visibility: journal impact factor and availability of full text in PubMed Central and open access. Cardiovasc J Afr 2013;24:295-6.
Merton RK. The Matthew Effect in Science: The reward and communication systems of science are considered. Science 1968;159:56-63.
Hansson S. Impact factor as misleading tool in evaluation of medical journals. Lancet 1995;346:906.
Sorokin NI. Impact factors of Russian journals. Nature 1996;380:578.
Patience GS, Patience CA, Blais B, Bertrand F. Citation analysis of scientific categories. Heliyon 2017;3:e00300.
Fung ICH. Citation of non-English peer review pubications – Some Chinese examples. Emerg Themes Epidemiol 2008;5:12.
Fox CW, Paine CET, Sauterey B. Citations increase with manuscript length, author number, and reference cited in ecology journals. Ecol Evol. 2016;6:7717-7726.
van Rosmalen BV, Alldinger I, Cieslak KP, Wennink R, Clarke M, Ali UA, Et al. Correction: Worldwide trends in volume and quality of published protocols of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2017;12:e0187389.
Garfield E. To cite or not to cite-note of annoyance. Curr Contents. 1977;35:5-8.
Garfield E. Random thoughts on citationology. Its theory and practice-comments on theories of citation? Scientometrics. 1998;43:69-76.
Gordon T, Castelli WP, Hjortland MC, Kannel WB, Dawber TR. High Density lipoprotein as a protective factor against coronary heart disease: The Framingham Study. Am J Med 1977;62:707-14.
Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA Statement. Open Med 2009;3:e123-30.
Levey AS, Bosch JP, Lewis JB, Greene T, Rogers N, Roth D. A more accurate method to estimate glomerular filtration rate from serum creatinine: a new prediction equation. Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study Group. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:461-70.
Levey AS, Stevens LA, Schmid CH, Zhang YL, Castro AF, Feldman HI, et al; CKD-EPI (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration). A new equation to estimate glomerular filtration rate. Ann Intern Med 2009;150:604-12.
Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med 2001;16:606-13.
Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Citation analysis for measuring the value of scientific publications: quality assessment tool or comedy of errors?. Trop Med Int Health 1996;1:739-52.