Highly cited works in neurosurgery. Part I: the 100 top-cited papers in neurosurgical journals

J Neurosurg 112:223–232, 2010.(DOI: 10.3171/2009.12.JNS091599)

Object. The number of citations a published article receives is a measure of its impact in the scientific community. This study identifies and characterizes the current 100 top-cited articles in journals specifically dedicated to neurosurgery.

Methods. Neurosurgical journals were identified using the Institute for Scientific Information Journal Citation Reports. A search was performed using Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science for articles appearing in each of these journals. The 100 top-cited articles were selected and analyzed.

Results. The 100 most cited manuscripts in neurosurgical journals appeared in 3 of 13 journals dedicated to neurosurgery. These included 79 in the Journal of Neurosurgery, 11 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, and 10 in Neurosurgery. The individual citation counts for these articles ranged from 287 to 1515. Seventy- seven percent of articles were published between 1976 and 1995. Representation varied widely across neurosurgical disciplines, with cerebrovascular diseases leading (43 articles), followed by trauma (27 articles), stereotactic and functional neurosurgery (13 articles), and neurooncology (12 articles). The study types included 5 randomized trials, 5 cooperative studies, 1 observational cohort study, 69 case series, 8 review articles, and 12 animal studies. Thirty articles dealt with surgical management and 12 with nonsurgical management. There were 15 studies of natural history of disease or outcomes after trauma, 11 classification or grading scales, and 10 studies of human pathophysiology.

Conclusions. The most cited articles in neurosurgical journals are trials evaluating surgical or medical therapies, descriptions of novel techniques, or systems for classifying or grading disease. The time of publication, field of study, nature of the work, and the journal in which the work appears are possible determinants of the likelihood of citation and impact.