Differences in Highly Cited and Lowly Cited Manuscripts in Plastic Surgery

Academic Article


  • © 2020 Background: There is a paucity of research comparing journal articles that accrue numerous citations with those that accrue few citations over time. Understanding differences between journal articles can help direct investigators in designing and conducting their research. Methods: Using advanced bibliometric tools, we queried four plastic surgery journals (Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, Annals of Plastic Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Microsurgery) for primary research articles published between 1998 and 2008 accruing zero or one citations with at least a 10-y lag time. Forty-seven articles were identified as low citation and were compared with an equal number of articles in the same journals that accrued the highest number of citations in the same period as high citation (HC). The data were analyzed using Student t-tests, Wilcoxon rank sum tests, chi-square tests, and Fisher exact tests. The level of significance was established at P < 0.05. Results: When compared with the HC cohort, the low citation articles were more likely to be nonclinical (P < 0.001), have no plastic surgery authors (P = 0.0026), and focus on the field of microsurgery (P = 0.003). The HC cohort was more likely to have higher sample sizes (P = 0.0339), focus on aesthetic/cosmetic surgery (P = 0.003), have a higher number of other disciplines included on authorship (P < 0.001), references (P = 0.0451), manuscript pages (P < 0.001), and words in the abstract (P < 0.001). Conclusions: A small number of articles published in four plastic surgery journals were uncited during a 10-y period. There are qualitative and quantitative differences between highly and lowly cited articles in the plastic surgery literature. Investigators should consider these differences when designing and conducting studies.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Boyd CJ; Patel JJ; Soto E; Kurapati S; Martin KD; King TW