Background: Assessing the impact of individual journal articles provides information for understanding trends in science and translation of findings on practice. Citation analysis is an important way to highlight the contributions of individual author/investigator and journals on nursing practice.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the most frequently cited articles published in nursing journals from 1956 to 2011.
Methods: The Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index were searched for citations through 2011 to articles published in the 89 nursing journals listed on the Journal Citation Reports (2010 edition). The number of citations, topic, countries, and institutions of origin based on the first author affiliation, year of publication, study design, publishing journal, journal country, and journal impact factor were noted. The most frequently cited articles published in the 89 nursing journals from 1956 to 2011 were identified.
Results: The top 50 most frequently cited articles were published in 10 nursing journals between 1970 and 2005. The top cited article received 784 citations. The most common topics were methodology for qualitative studies, validation procedures for tool development, and nursing care and practices in cancer and mental health. The most common study designs were reviews including meta-analysis and instrument validation. Most of the top 50 cited articles were published from 1986 to 1995.
Discussion: The findings provide insights into priorities and trends in nursing research and translational science.