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Research methodology used in the 50 most cited articles in the field of pediatrics: types of studies that become citation classics

  • Jelicic Kadic, Antonia1
  • Kovacevic, Tanja1
  • Runjic, Edita2
  • Simicic Majce, Ana1
  • Markic, Josko1, 3
  • Polic, Branka1
  • Mestrovic, Julije1, 3
  • Puljak, Livia4
  • 1 Split University Hospital, Split, Croatia , Split (Croatia)
  • 2 General Hospital Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia , Dubrovnik (Croatia)
  • 3 University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia , Split (Croatia)
  • 4 Catholic University of Croatia, Ilica 242, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia , Zagreb (Croatia)
Published Article
BMC Medical Research Methodology
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Mar 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12874-020-00940-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundOne of the frequently used methods for assessing research trends and the impact of published scientific literature in a particular discipline is citation analysis. Journals may strive to improve their metrics by choosing manuscripts and study designs that are more likely to be cited. The aim of this study was to identify the 50 most-cited articles in the field of pediatrics, analyze their study design and other characteristics of those articles, and assess the prevalence of systematic reviews among them.MethodsIn December 2017, we searched Web of Science (WoS) for all articles published in the field of pediatrics. Two authors screened articles independently and in the further analysis included 50 articles with the highest number of citations. To avoid bias for scientific papers published earlier, the citation density was calculated. We also analyzed Journal Impact Factor (JIF) of journals where citation classics were published.ResultsThe citation density in top 50 cited articles in the field of pediatrics ranged from 33.16 to 432.8, with the average of 119.95. Most of the articles reported clinical science. Median 2016 JIF for journals that published them was 6.226 (range: 2.778 to 72.406). Half of the top 10 highly cited articles in pediatrics were published in a journal with JIF below 5. Most of the studies among the citation classics in pediatrics were cross-sectional studies (N = 22), followed by non-systematic narrative reviews (N = 10), randomized controlled trials (N = 5), cohort studies (N = 5), systematic reviews (N = 2), case-control studies (N = 2), case reports (N = 2), and there was one study protocol and one expert opinion.ConclusionFew randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews were among citation classics in the field of pediatrics. Articles that use observational research methodology, and are published in journals with lower impact factors, can become citation classics.

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