The most cited work in history, for example, is a 1951 paper describing an assay to determine the amount of protein in a solution. It has now gathered more than 305,000 citations — a recognition that always puzzled its lead author, the late US biochemist Oliver Lowry. “Although I really know it is not a great paper … I secretly get a kick out of the response,” he wrote in 1977.Še nekaj izsekov iz članka v Nature news
... it takes a staggering 12,119 citations to rank in the top 100 — and that many of the world’s most famous papers do not make the cut. A few that do, such as the first observation1 of carbon nanotubes (number 36) are indeed classic discoveries. But the vast majority describe experimental methods or software that have become essential in their fields.
...For decades, the top-100 list has been dominated by protein biochemistry. The 1951 paper describing the Lowry method for quantifying protein remains practically unreachable at number, even though many biochemists say that it and the competing Bradford assay — described by paper number 3 on the list — are a tad outdated. In between, at number, is Laemmli buffer, which is used in a different kind of protein analysis. The dominance of these techniques is attributable to the high volume of citations in cell and molecular biology, where they remain indispensable tools.
...Although the top-100 list has a rich seam of papers on statistics, says Stephen Stigler, a statistician at the University of Chicago in Illinois and an expert on the history of the field, “these papers are not at all those that have been most important to us statisticians”. Rather, they are the ones that have proved to be most useful to the vastly larger population of practising scientists.
....An unusual entry, appearing at number 22, is a 1976 paper from Robert Shannon — a researcher at the giant chemical firm DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, who compiled a comprehensive list of the radii of ions in a series of different materials. Robin Grimes, a materials scientist at Imperial College London, says that physicists, chemists and theorists still cite this paper when they look up values of ionic size, which often correlate neatly with other properties of a substance. This has made it the highest formally-cited database of all time.
“We often cite these kinds of papers almost without thinking about it,” says Paul Fossati, one of Grimes’s research colleagues. The same could be said for many of the methods and databases in the top 100. The list reveals just how powerfully research has been affected by computation and the analysis of large data sets. But it also serves as a reminder that the position of any particular methods paper or database at the top of the citation charts is also down to luck and circumstance.
Still, there is one powerful lesson for researchers, notes Peter Moore, a chemist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. “If citations are what you want,” he says, “devising a method that makes it possible for people to do the experiments they want at all, or more easily, will get you a lot further than, say, discovering the secret of the Universe”.
Oznake: citati, J.Z., nature