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Most cited paper ever

The most cited work in history, for example, is a 1951 paper describing an assay to determine the amount of protein in a solution. It has now gathered more than 305,000 citations — a recognition that always puzzled its lead author, the late US biochemist Oliver Lowry. “Although I really know it is not a great paper … I secretly get a kick out of the response,” he wrote in 1977./nThe colossal size of the scholarly literature means that the top-100 papers are extreme outliers. Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science holds some 58 million items. If that corpus were scaled to Mount Kilimanjaro, then the 100 most-cited papers would represent just 1 centimetre at the peak. Only 14,499 papers — roughly a metre and a half’s worth — have more than 1,000 citations (see ‘The paper mountain’). Meanwhile, the foothills comprise works that have been cited only once, if at all — a group that encompasses roughly half of the items. Source: Nature.com

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