Dentistry and Medical Research

: 2016  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29--30

The lowest epistemologic strength and the highest citation rate: An opinion

Jafar Kolahi 
 Independent Research Scientist, Founder and Managing Editor of Dental Hypotheses, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Jafar Kolahi
No. 24, Faree 15, Pardis, Shahin Shahr, Isfahan - 83179-18981

How to cite this article:
Kolahi J. The lowest epistemologic strength and the highest citation rate: An opinion.Dent Med Res 2016;4:29-30

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Kolahi J. The lowest epistemologic strength and the highest citation rate: An opinion. Dent Med Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jul 24 ];4:29-30
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I recently read an interesting article "The 100 most cited articles in dentistry." [1] In this study, source of data was journal citation report 2010 published by the web of science in the category of "Dentistry, Oral Surgery, and Medicine." The number of citations of the top 100 articles diverse from 326 to 2050. They are from 21 journals of the 77 journals indexed in web of science. The journals with the major number of the most cited articles were the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (20 articles), the Journal of Periodontology (18 articles), and the Journal of Dental Research (16 articles). Majority of the most cited dental articles were clinical studies (66%) and the remaining were related to topics of basic research. Most of these articles were published in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, I was surprised reading the result of the investigation. Nowadays, it is widely believed that evidence-based medicine/dentistry is the most reliable approach in clinical practice and research. Evidence-based approach classifies evidence by its epistemological strength. [Figure 1] summarizes the hierarchy of evidence in the evidence-based approach. Clearly, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and randomized controlled trials can yield the strongest recommendations. The unacceptable point is that among 100 most cited dental articles only 2% were meta-analysis and systematic reviews and 2% were randomized controlled trials. It means that dental research scientist pays the lowest attention to the most valuable evidence. On the other hand, case series (23%) and narrative review/expert opinions (19%) are the most common type of articles among 100 most cited dental articles.{Figure 1}

Why articles with the lowest epistemological strength had the highest citation rate? is the question. Answering this question would be very difficult. Most common area of research among 100 most cited dental articles are periodontology (43%) and implantology (11%). Conduction of clinical trials in these fields may be difficult. However, it is not a reason to pay more attention to case series and narrative reviews/expert opinions.

Other sources of bias would be: Self-citation, language bias, preference of authors to the cite articles from the journal in which they plan to publish their own articles, trend to cite articles from influential researchers, colleagues and reviewers, and tendency of some researchers to cite certain articles only because they have earlier received numerous of citations rather than their quality. [1]

Nevertheless, this lack of correlation between hierarchy of evidence and number of citations in the field of dental science is not acceptable. Researchers, journal editors, and reviewers must pay more attention to the principles of evidence-based dentistry.

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Conflicts of interest

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1Feijoo JF, Limeres J, Fernández-Varela M, Ramos I, Diz P. The 100 most cited articles in dentistry. Clin Oral Investig 2014;18:699-706.