Scientific journals are more likely to publish those articles which will be highly cited after their publication. To improve the quality and the impact of the Chinese Medical Journal (CMJ), the distribution of highly cited articles published in CMJ in 2010 was analyzed and reported in this article.
The information on high citations of articles published in CMJ in 2010 after their publication was obtained from the Journal Citation Report (JCR) released in June 2012 by Thomson Reuters. The 50 top-cited articles published in CMJ in 2010 were included in this study. Through hand-searching, the number and the types of the 50 top-cited articles were calculated. The types of articles were analyzed mainly with regard to following three aspects: categories of articles, types of research, and medical disciplines.
The distribution of the 50 top-cited articles calculated by categories is shown in Table 1. The top 50 articles were cited 248 times totally. Only 4 out of the 11 categories of articles, review article, Meta analysis, original article and case report, were included in the 50 top-cited articles. Original articles were the most in the 50 top-cited articles, while review articles provided the largest contribution for the highest average citation and proportion of top cited articles.
In the 41 original articles out of the 50 top-cited articles, basic researches were more than clinical researches (23 vs. 18), attracted more average citation (5.0 vs. 4.3), and accounted for a larger proportion out of total articles (10.2% vs. 6.3%); basic researches using clinical materials were the most compared to animal or in-vitro studies (10 vs. 6, 7), while attracting similar average citation (5.0 vs. 5.2, 4.7), and accounted for the largest proportion out of total articles (16.1% vs. 5.8%, 11.9%) (Table 2).
With regard to the medical disciplines, articles on general surgery, respiratory diseases, cardiology, anesthesiology ranked the first four among all medical disciplines in the 50 top-cited articles; while rheumatology and anesthesiology accounted for the largest and the second proportions out of total articles (25.0% and 21.7%), respectively (Table 3).
The results demonstrate that the distribution of the highly cited articles differs among categories of articles, types of research, and medical disciplines published in CMJ in 2010 according to JCR 2012.
Review articles, Meta analysis, and original articles play more important roles in the high citation of articles published in CMJ than other categories of articles. The fact that review articles contributed the highest average citation suggests that the journal should pay more attention to publish more high-quality review articles.
Basic researches attracted more citation than clinical researches, indicating that authors of clinical researches of the journal should try to increase qualities of their studies and report their research results in accord with international standards/guidelines. Data with Chinese characteristics like hepatitis B, parasites, and occupational disease of newly-developed industries may attract much more attention around the world.
According to proportions of top-cited articles out of total articles, articles on rheumatology and anesthesiology contributed more than those on general surgery, respiratory diseases, cardiology, etc, demonstrating that quality of articles is very important for their high citation regardless of disciplines.
There are several limitations in the present study. (1) Only categories of articles, types of research, and medical disciplines were analyzed, while authors and institution, country of origin, study design, level of evidence, and fund subsidization were neglected. (2) The self-citation was ignored. (3) The high citation was just evaluated according JCR 2012, thus long-term results need to be further analyzed.
In conclusion, CMJ should publish more review articles in the future, and pay more attention to the quality of articles.
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