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Science Citation Index

Science Citation Index

Nearly 50 years ago, Eugene Garfield, one of the founders of bibliometrics and scientometrics, published the Science Citation Index (SCI), the first systematic effort to track citations in scientific literature. Since then citations have become a standard by which authors acknowledge the source of their methods and findings allowing citations to be used as a measure of a paper's significance.

Top 100 most cited publications

Nature recently asked Thomson Reuters, owner of the SCI, to list the 100 most highly cited papers of all time. After an extensive search of nearly 58 million items including databases covering the life sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, conference proceedings and some books, Thomson Reuters listed the top 100 most cited work.

Important findings

Figure 1: Graphical representation of the top 100 most cited list showing breakdown by subject. Biology lab technique papers dominate the top 100 list, followed by papers in physical chemistry and crystallography

The top 10 most cited work

Rank
Citations
Title
Subject
Year
Journal
1
305,148
Protein measurement with the folin phenol reagent.
Biology lab technique
1951
J. Biol. Chem.
2
213,005
Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4.
Biology lab technique
1970
Nature
3
155,530
A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding.
Biology lab technique
1976
Anal. Biochem.
4
65,335
DNA sequencing with chain-terminating inhibitors.
Biology lab technique
1977
Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA
5
60,397
Single-step method of RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform extraction.
Biology lab technique
1987
Anal. Biochem.
6
53,349
Electrophoretic transfer of proteins from polyacrylamide gels to nitrocellulose sheets: procedure and some applications.
Biology lab technique
1979
Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA
7
46,702
Development of the Colle-Salvetti correlation-energy formula into a functional of the electron density.
Physical chemistry
1988
Phys. Rev. B
8
46,145
Density-functional thermochemistry. III. The role of exact exchange.
Physical chemistry
1993
J. Chem. Phys.
9
45,131
A simple method for the isolation and purification of total lipides from animal tissues.
Biology lab technique
1957
J. Biol. Chem.
10
40,289
Clustal W: improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice.
Bioinformatics
1994
Nucleic Acids Res.

Conclusion

Read more details and see the full list

The top 100 papers (October 2014)

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