Nikolaos A Patsopoulos, Apostolos A Analatos, John P A Ioannidis "Origin and funding of the most frequently cited papers in medicine: database analysis" BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.38768.420139.80 (published 17 March 2006)
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TITLE : Origin and funding of the most frequently cited papers in medicine:
AUTHOR : Nikolaos A Patsopoulos, Apostolos A Analatos, John P A Ioannidis
SOURCE : British Medical Journal (BMJ), doi:10.1136/bmj.38768.420139.80
(published 17 March 2006)
Objective : To evaluate changes in the role of academics and the sources of
funding for the medical research cited most frequently over the past decade.
Design : Database analysis.
Data sources : Web of Knowledge database.
Methods : For each year from 1994 to 2003, articles in the domain of
clinical medicine that had been cited most often by the end of 2004 were
identified. Changes in authors affiliations and funding sources were
Results Of the 289 frequently cited articles, most had at least one author
with a university (76%) or hospital (57%) affiliation, and the proportion
of articles with each type of affiliation was constant over time.
Government or public funding was most common (60% of articles), followed by
industry (36%). The proportion of most frequently cited articles funded by
industry increased over time (odds ratio 1.17 per year, P = 0.001) and
was equal to the proportion funded by government or public sources by 2001.
65 of the 77 most cited randomised controlled trials received funding from
industry, and the proportion increased significantly over time (odds ratio
1.59 per year, P = 0.003). 18 of the 32 most cited trials published after
1999 were funded by industry alone.
Academic affiliations remain prominent among the authors of the most
frequently cited medical research. Such research is increasingly funded by
industry, often exclusively so. Academics may be losing control of the
clinical research agenda.
Our analysis was one of the evidence tasks (systematic reviews and surveys
addressing problems of academic medicine) undertaken as part of the
International Campaign to Revitalise Academic Medicine (ICRAM).3 We
analysed the affiliations of authors and the funding sources of articles in
the domain of clinical medicine that had received the highest number of
citations according to the essential science indicators module of the Web
of Knowledge database. Our main aim was to see whether the impact of
academic institutions and industry has changed during the past decade.
Citations do not reflect fully the quality of a paper, but they are a
measure of the impact of research.10 Papers that are cited frequently have
a major impact on scientific debate and the evolution of scientific
thinking, even if citations are not always positive and may even be
Identification of the most frequently cited papers We downloaded the most
frequently cited papers in clinical medicine of each year since 1994 from
the essential science indicators module of the Web of Knowledge produced by
the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Articles were ranked
according to how many times they were cited by any journal indexed by ISI
between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2004.
Clinical medicine is one of 21 scientific domains catalogued by ISI and
covers all medical sciences and subspecialties. ISI categorises articles
across the 21 domains according to the journal of publication; for articles
published in multidisciplinary journals, each article is categorised in the
domain that most of its citations are derived from.
More information about the SIGMETRICS