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August 1999

Classic and Near-Classic Articles in the Dermatologic Literature

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(8):948-950. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.8.948

Background  Only a small fraction of articles published in the dermatologic literature are cited frequently. Articles cited at least 100 times are known as "citation classics" and have been previously discussed. The nature of dermatologic articles cited fewer than 100 times but still much more frequently cited than average has not been clearly elucidated.

Objective  To identify the source, authorship, and citation history of original articles published in 24 dermatologic journals that were cited more than 25 times.

Design  We analyzed a citation database provided by the Institute for Scientific Information. We identified the journal of publication, authorship, and country of authorship for all original articles cited at least 25 times and published from 1982 to 1996 in 24 dermatologic journals.

Main Outcome Measure  Source of most frequently cited dermatologic articles.

Results  Only 2139 (6.45%) of all original articles were cited more than 25 times. Articles published in 4 of 24 journals accounted for the most frequently cited articles. Only 18 (0.13%) of more than 13,500 first authors published at least 5 articles that were cited more than 25 times.

Conclusions  Few articles are cited at least 25 times, and few persons are first authors of multiple articles in the dermatologic literature cited at least that frequently.