|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 96-104
Most cited 100 articles in herniology: Bibliometric study
Ankara Hernia Center, Ankara, Turkey
|Date of Submission||10-Jun-2019|
|Date of Acceptance||14-Jul-2019|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Aug-2019|
Dr. Hakan Kulacoglu
AFM Cerrahi Merkezi, Cukurambar Mahallesi, Budapeste Caddesi, 33/A, 06520, Cankaya, Ankara
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
BACKGROUND: Being cited by another article is valuable for scientific publications. Citation analysis of previously published papers by bibliometric methodology have been performed in different disciplines do date. The present study was done with the purpose of listing the most cited articles in the field of abdominal wall hernias, in other words herniology.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A search was conducted through all databases in the Web of Science to determine the most cited articles related to the abdominal wall hernias.
RESULTS: The total number of citations of the top 100 articles in herniology was 26.316. The mean number of citations was 263.16. The top 100 articles originated from 13 countries, and were published in 37 journals. The most productive decade was 2000-2009 with 55 papers. Journal impact factors correlated with citation counts positively. Inguinal hernia and incisional hernia were the leading topics in 41 and 40 related articles. The number of the authors also did not show any correlation with citation counts. There was no relationship between the number of the cited references and the citations counts of the articles.
CONCLUSION: Citation counts of the articles about abdominal wall hernias are somewhat lower than those in other fields. Most articles in the top 100 list are related to inguinal and incisional hernias.
Keywords: Bibliometric, citation, hernia
|How to cite this article:|
Kulacoglu H. Most cited 100 articles in herniology: Bibliometric study. Int J Abdom Wall Hernia Surg 2019;2:96-104
| Introduction|| |
The scientific publications about abdominal wall hernias have been displaying an obvious growth even more than the overall growth in all publications in indexed journal. The increase in the number of surgical and biomedical journals has supported this growth. The authors generally target the prestigious journals those are with high-impact factor; however, many journals included in MEDLINE/PubMed and Science Citation Index are good hosts for high-quality studies.
Citation (being a reference to subsequent studies) by another paper has long been considered as valuable, although it is not the only criterion for scientific merit. Many articles with citation analysis of previously published papers have been produced in different disciplines to date. The earliest example was probably published in the Journal of the American Medical Association for the most cited articles in the same journal by Garfield in 1985. Fifteen years later, Paladugu et al. reported the 100 citation classics in general surgery journals. This type of studies those provide quantitative analysis of publications is named as “bibliometric analysis.” Ellegaard and Wallin reported that health sciences create the largest part of the publications by bibliometric methodology.
The present study was done with the purpose of listing the most cited articles in the field of abdominal wall hernias, in other words herniology, and analyzed their characteristics in detail.
| Methods|| |
In March 2019, a comprehensive search was conducted through all databases in the Web of Science (WoS) to determine the most cited articles related to abdominal wall hernias. The planned focus of the study was to find the most cited articles in herniology field. First, the keywords were selected from the current version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10, version: 2016), within the following sections: K40, K41, K42, K43, K45, and K46 (https://icd.who.int/browse10/2016/en#/K40-K46). The keywords for the topic line of the search were “inguinal hernia,” “ventral hernia,” “incisional hernia,” “umbilical hernia,” “paraumbilical hernia,” and “femoral hernia.” In addition, “hernia and emergency,” “hernia and mesh,” “sportsman hernia,” “athletic pubalgia,” “pubic inguinal pain syndrome,” and “inguinal disruption” combinations were added. The keywords were searched in the titles, abstracts, and the keywords given.
After the top cited 100 articles in herniology were picked and lined up by the number of citations, all of them were reached as full text. Each article was evaluated with respect to the complete list of the authors; the number of authors (1–3, 4–6, 7–9, and > 10); the name of the journal; main field of the journal (surgery, general medicine, and others); year of publication; the type of the article (clinical study, review/systematic review/meta-analysis/literature search, database/registry/guidelines/consensus, questionnaire, and laboratory/animal/cadaver); main subject of the study (inguinal, incisional, umbilical, femoral, sportsman, emergency, and mesh – if the study focused on the characteristics or properties of prosthetic materials or several meshes were compared in repair of certain hernia types); country of the study groups (single, two, and international); and number of the references listed in each paper. The citation counts in Google Scholar (GSch) were also obtained.
The data were recorded in a sheet in Office Excel 2016 (Microsoft, Redmond, WA, USA) and were exported to SPSS v. 21 (IBM, Chicago, IL, USA) for statistical analysis. One-way ANOVA test was used to determine the differences between mean values. Correlation coefficient (r) was calculated to determine recorded parameters which correlate with the citation counts of the listed articles. P <0.05 was accepted as statistically significant.
| Results|| |
The 100 articles were listed in [Table 1]. The total number of citations of the top 100 articles in herniology was 26.316 in WoS (range: 153–948) and 48.671 in GSch (range: 227–2.266). The mean number of citations was 263.16 in WoS (interquartile range = 183.00–280.00) and 400.50 in GSch (interquartile range = 324.50–522.75). The ratios for citation counts in WoS to those in GSch were ranged 0.33–0.74; 75% of the ratios were distributed between 0.48 and 0.63.
The year of publication was evaluated in five consecutive decades [Table 2]. The most productive decade was 2000–2009 with 55 papers. The year with the most cited articles published was 2011 with 11 papers. There was only one article before 1980. The oldest article in the list was published in 1976, whereas the newest one appeared in 2014. The number of articles after 2010 was six. The decade of publication had no significant effect on citation counts. The total number of citations displayed a peak in the 2000–2009 period [Table 3]. The 100 top cited papers were published in a total of 37 different journals. Eighty-one papers were published in surgical journals, whereas ten in general medicine journals and nine in others (anesthesia, biomaterials, etc.). The British Journal of Surgery and the Annals of Surgery were the leading journals with 16 and 14 articles [Table 4]. Among five consecutive decades, general medicine journals with high-impact factors hosted five papers within each of 1990–1999 and 2000–2009 periods only [Figure 1]. The last most cited paper in a general medicine journal was published in 2006. Although mean citation number was higher for general medicine journals in comparison with surgical journals (356.70 vs. 252.88, P= 0.073), there was no strong correlation between citation counts and type of journals (Spearman's rank correlation coefficients = 0.198). On the other hand, journal impact factors correlated with citation counts in both WoS and GSch positively, but these relationships were not strong (r = 0.32, P= 0.001, and r = 0.25, P= 0.014, respectively).
|Table 3: Citation counts of top 100 papers regarding decade of publication|
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|Figure 1: Distribution of top 100 articles regarding journal type within consecutive decades|
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The top 100 articles originated from 13 countries. The USA had the highest number of papers in the list with 40 articles, whereas the UK had 19, Germany 11, The Netherlands 7, and Denmark 5 [Table 5]. There were nine international publications. When the mean WoS citation number of publications from different countries was compared, the only significant difference was detected between The Netherlands and Germany (425 vs. 198, P= 0.02). Ninety papers originated from one country, whereas ten from multiple countries. There was no difference between these subgroups (267.91 vs. 220.40, P= 0.316).
|Table 5: Mean citation counts regarding the country origin of the publications|
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A half of the top 100 articles were clinical studies, while 25 papers came into “review/systematic review/meta-analysis/literature search” category. There were no significant differences between the article types regarding citation counts, although “laboratory/animal/cadaver” study group had a somewhat lower citation [Table 6]. All of four articles that fulfilled the criterion of being a “highly cited paper” (received enough citations to place it in the top 1% of its academic field in the year of publication) were taking place in “guidelines and consensus meeting reports” group. Regarding the topic where the authors focused, inguinal hernia and incisional hernia were the leading topics in 41 and 40 related articles, respectively. The papers about the mesh properties had the lowest mean number of citations in comparison with other topics [Table 7].
Only three articles were written by one single author. Two coauthors produced 12 papers. The mean number of authors was 5.84. The number of authors also did not show any correlation with citation counts (r = 0.095, P= 0.346). Furthermore, no significant differences were found when the author numbers were aligned to subgroups, despite an obviously higher mean citation number of papers with > 10 authors [Table 8].
Articles in the top 100 list had cited 4–522 references (mean = 45.15). As expected, guidelines and consensus reports had significantly higher references in comparison with other types of papers. There was no relationship between the number of cited references and the citation counts of the articles. The papers with > 10 authors in the top 100 list had cited significantly more previous publications in the reference list.
| Discussion|| |
This study searched the citation counts of the paper about abdominal wall hernias published in all indexed journals. It is expected that the increase in the number of articles in this field may cause a parallel rise in the citation counts. The previous bibliometric study on publications about abdominal wall hernias showed a 1.7-fold increase in “inguinal hernia” topic and a 3.9- and 2.6-fold increase for incisional and umbilical hernias between 1991–2000 and 2001–2010 periods, respectively. The present study has revealed a 2.3- and 2.0-fold general growth in citation counts for herniology papers throughout three consecutive decades between 1980 and 2010.
Recent bibliometric analyses on citation counts in medical sciences have revealed that most cited articles were published between 1990 and 2010.,,,,,,,,,,, An interesting finding was obtained in the study on psoriatic arthritis, a large number of papers in the top 100 list had been published between 2008 and 2014, and the authors linked that to the improvements in research techniques. A similar distribution was found in the present analysis. Naturally, every article needs some time to collect citations by newer ones. Even most valuable articles can enter the top 100 citation lists after years. Contrarily, some older classic papers may lose interest over time. The citation count lists are dynamic tables, and rankings are open to change. It is possible to meet a rapid rise in the counts of the papers published in the last decade by time. Similarly, some articles that are not yet in the top 100 list can also enter the list in the future, and there may be changes in the ranking of some papers which are already in the list. As an example, two recent papers from Novitsky et al. and Alfieri et al. just missed the list despite both received 150 citations to date of the present search.,
It has been reported that 43.8% of all scientific publications have collected no citations at all, whereas only 0.024% have had >1000 citations. To date, no article in herniology has reached level of 1000, although a single one is very close to this limit. Again, among all publications, 1.84% stay in a citation band of 100–999; the articles in the top 100 list of herniology fall into this group. The mean number of citations in WoS was 263. This is obviously lower than the mean citation number of 100 citation classics in general surgery journals reported by Paladugu et al. Their study was published in 2002 and reported that the mean number of citations was 405. There was no article about abdominal wall hernias in the top 100 list for general surgery that time. A recent bibliometric study in general surgery found a median number of 490 citations within the 5 journals with the highest impact factor. The top 100 list in transplantation published in 2014 revealed a mean number of 953 citations, whereas a similar list for publications on acute appendicitis had a mean number of 168. The top 100 papers in bariatric surgery listed in 2015 had a higher mean number of citations (334) in comparison with herniology. On the other side, the median number of citations to the top cited 100 emergency medicine articles was reported to be 300. This figure was much higher (610) in the field of valvular heart diseases. When the topic of the research is a more common one, the citation counts might display quite high numbers. Rheumatoid arthritis top 100 list had a mean number of 1002, magnetic resonance imaging 1687, and diabetes mellitus 2967.
The 100 top cited papers were published in 37 journals. This figure has ranged between 10 and 46 in previous publications in different subject of medical sciences.,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The lowest number was reported by Paladugu et al. Only 10 journals hosted the top 100 papers in general surgery, all of them surgical journals, and the Annals of Surgery was at the top with 40 articles. In the present study, five general medical journals were included in the list, but the leading journals were the British Journal of Surgery and the Annals of Surgery. However, an interesting finding was that the mean citation number was somewhat higher for general medicine journals in comparison with surgical journals. Moreover, the most cited article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Berlinberg et al. also reported that 9 articles in the top 100 list for psoriatic arthritis had been published in general journals.
Journal impact factor is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. Naturally, a positive correlation between the journal impact factor and the citation count of an article is expected. Indeed, many studies showed that the impact factor of journal was a strong predictor for citation counts.,,,, However, no such relationship was detected for 100 citation classics of valvular heart disease., In the present study, we have found a positive but not strong correlation between the journal impact factor citation counts. This was the case both for WoS and GSch. WoS is a service by a private company (Thomson Scientific, Thomson Corporation) and covers almost 9.000 journals since 1900. It is updated weekly. In the present study, all databases in the WoS were searched, not only Science Citation Index Core journals. GSch is owned by Google Inc. and theoretically includes all electronic resources including the journals which are not indexed by PubMed and WoS and also thesis and dissertations in the libraries. Therefore, citation counts of the articles may appear higher in GSch than WoS. We found that the ratios for citation counts in WoS to those in GSch were ranged 0.33–0.74 for the top 100 list in herniology. In a specific study that focused on the citation counts in different databases, Kulkarni et al. detected more citation counts in GSch in comparison with WoS (ratio: 0.75–0.83). However, the authors stated that the citation accuracy of GSch was rather lower than WoS.
The top 100 articles in herniology field originated by 13 countries. Exactly, the same number has been reported in several different papers.,, The top 100 list for general surgery published in 2002 comprised only 6 countries. In general, this figure has displayed a range between 5 and 34 in previous studies.,,,,,,,,,, The USA had the highest number of papers in the present search, as in all the previous studies.,,,,,,,,,,,, Only 10 papers originated from two or more countries in the present research. Usman et al. reported that 22% of the papers in the top 100 list in valvular heart disease originated from multiple countries. Loonen et al. reported a 34% ratio for articles from multiple countries four plastic surgery area. Besides, 16 papers in the field of nephrology had authors from 4 or more countries. This type of papers is usually guidelines or consensus meeting reports, and there are also multicentric studies requesting perfect collaboration. Nevertheless, Azer found no correlation between the number of countries and the number of citations for the top 100 list in medical education. Furthermore, no such effect was detected in the present study.
Some articles mentioned the number of authors as a mean or median. The median number was only 2 in the top 100 list for medical education, whereas it was 12 for cardiovascular diseases. Articles from a single author are a rare case. There were only three such papers in the present study. Seven articles were published by a single author in the top 100 list for pediatrics. The relationship between the number of authors and the citation counts has not been studied widely. Uthman et al. reported a positive correlation for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, but others found no relationships., We did not reveal any relationship between the number of authors and the citation counts; however, articles with more than ten authors had higher mean citation number. The reason for that was possibly the type of those articles rather than the number of authors.
Articles about inguinal and incisional hernias dominated the top 100 list. This picture is expectable for papers about inguinal hernias if we look at their shares among all operations for abdominal wall hernias; however, incisional hernias took a place which was very higher than their ratios among hernia surgeries., On the other side, there was only one paper about umbilical hernias, whereas the share of these hernias was not lower than incisional hernias respecting surgical treatment records. From another view, the number of papers about inguinal hernias within the period of 1991–2010 was about 10-fold higher than those for umbilical hernias, but there was a 40-fold difference in the top 100 citation list for all times. This figure is only 2.7 when we compare incisional and umbilical hernias, but we have obtained a 40-fold difference again in the top 100 list. It is not easy to explain this picture; however, the complexity of surgery for incisional hernias and the high comorbidity rates might have directed the surgeons to report their experiences in this field more frequently.
Original articles and clinical studies were the most frequent types of article in the previous bibliometric analyses.,,,,, However, few articles have investigated the relationship between the type of articles and citation counts. Hwang et al. reported that the mean number of citations for review articles about hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly higher than the other types. In the present study, clinical papers were more common as in the literature; nevertheless, there were no significant differences for article types and citation counts. The mean citation number of review articles was also quite low.
The language of the article was almost always English in all the top 100 lists as expected. However, there was one paper in the present study in German. This was also the case for the top 100 list for pediatrics produced by Chhapola et al.
The present study certainly has some drawbacks or shortcomings because of the nature of the methodology. First of all, citation count is not the only or first criterion for scientific merit. Surgeons, researchers, and institutions who have published many papers cannot find a rank in the citation lists. On the other side, some others with less publications can be entered the list by being coauthor of multicentric studies, guidelines, or similar publications. Moreover, citation counts vary between different databases such as WoS, GSch, and ResearchGate. Finally, citation lists are only photographs of the moments rather than being a whole story. They are very dynamic and quickly changeable.
| Conclusion|| |
Citation counts of the articles about abdominal wall hernias are somewhat lower than those in other fields. There is a positive but weak correlation between journal impact factors and citation counts. The USA had the highest number of articles in the list. The number of authors does not have an impact on citation counts. There is no relationship between the number of cited references and the citation counts of the articles.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]