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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2007 Aug;33(4):245-51.

Citation classics in occupational medicine journals.

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Institute of Occupational Health, Rouen University Hospital, 1 rue de Germont, 76000 Rouen cedix, France.



The number of citations an article receives after its publication not only reflects its impact on the scientific community, but also the impact of the institutions or countries in the field studied. In 1987, Garfield introduced the concept of "citation classics" for the best-cited articles. An analysis of top-cited articles coming from journals in the field of occupational medicine (eg, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health) has not yet been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess whether or not such citation classics exist in this field and to analyze their characteristics.


The most frequently cited articles published in the five major journals in occupational medicine were identified using the database of Science Citation Index Expanded. The data were obtained by searching one year and one journal at a time. All of the articles cited more than 100 times were collected and analyzed.


Among the 15 553 articles published by the five journals since 1949, only 85 articles had been cited more than 100 times. The oldest had been published in 1950 and the latest in 1997. The United Kingdom contributed 28% of the citation classics and the United States or Sweden produced 19%. The most cited article had been cited 979 times. The main topics of articles were metabolism, occupational neoplasms, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders.


Since the 1980s, Scandinavia and the United States have taken the leadership in the publication of citation classic papers. Nevertheless, according to the level of citations, the influence of literature published in occupational medicine journals remains limited.

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