Citation classics in epilepsy

Maryann Wilson, Andrea Nani, Andrea Eugenio Cavanna



BACKGROUND: The impact of a scientific article is proportional to the citations it has received. In this study, we set out to identify the most cited works in epileptology in order to evaluate research trends in this field. METHODS: According to the Web of Science database, articles with more than 400 citations qualify as "citation classics". We conducted a literature search on the ISI Web of Science bibliometric database for scientific articles relevant to epilepsy. RESULTS: We retrieved 67 highly cited articles (400 or more citations), which were published in 31 journals: 17 clinical studies, 42 laboratory studies, 5 reviews and 3 classification articles. Clinical studies consisted of epidemiological analyses (n=3), studies on the clinical phenomenology of epilepsy (n=5) – including behavioral and prognostic aspects – and articles focusing on pharmacological (n=6) and non-pharmacological (n=3) treatment. The laboratory studies dealt with genetics (n=6), animal models (n=27), and neurobiology (n=9) – including both neurophysiology and neuropathology studies. The majority (61%) of citation classics on epilepsy were published after 1986, possibly reflecting the expansion of research interest in laboratory studies driven by the development of new methodologies, specifically in the fields of genetics and animal models. Consequently, clinical studies were highly cited both before and after the mid 80s, whilst laboratory researches became widely cited after 1990. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that the main drivers of scientific impact in the field of epileptology have increasingly become genetic and neurobiological studies, along with research on animal models of epilepsy. These articles are able to gain the highest numbers of citations in the time span of a few years and suggest potential directions for future research.


Epilepsy; bibliometrics; citation classics; impact.

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