Nature Explores The Most-Cited Research Of All Time

The discovery of high-temperature superconductors, the determination of DNA’s double-helix structure, the first observations that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating — all of these breakthroughs won Nobel prizes and international acclaim. Yet none of the papers that announced them comes anywhere close to ranking among the 100 most highly cited papers of all time.

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Jul 15, 2015
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Citations, in which one paper refers to earlier works, are the standard means by which authors acknowledge the source of their methods, ideas and findings, and are often used as a rough measure of a paper’s importance. Fifty years ago, Eugene Garfield published the Science Citation Index (SCI), the first systematic effort to track citations in the scientific literature. To mark the anniversary, Nature asked Thomson Reuters, which now owns the SCI, to list the 100 most highly cited papers of all time. The search covered all of Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science, an online version of the SCI that also includes databases covering the social sciences, arts and humanities, conference proceedings and some books. It lists papers published from 1900 to the present day.

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Go to the profile of Martin Delahunty

Martin Delahunty

Global Director, Nature Partner Journals, Nature Research

Working within Nature Research's Open Research Group, I am Global Director for Nature Partner Journals based in London. I have responsibility across five global office locations to develop Nature Partner Journals, a new series of online-only, open access journals, published in collaboration with world-renowned partners. Launched in April 2014, the portfolio now includes 14 titles including 'npj Biofilms and Microbiomes'. I have a Degree in Natural Sciences specializing in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Business Administration from The Open University. Within the broader medical publications community, I serve as Secretary and Trustee for the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals.

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