Open Access

Nutrition & Metabolism Classics: a disconnect between highly cited and highly accessed articles

Nutrition & Metabolism201411:13

DOI: 10.1186/1743-7075-11-13

Received: 7 March 2014

Accepted: 13 March 2014

Published: 19 March 2014

Abstract

Nutrition & Metabolism has grown considerably in the ten years since its first article was published. To see how papers published in the journal had an impact we have identified some of the most popular articles in order to measure their influence, observe which fields are important to our readers, and try to explain what made these articles Nutrition & Metabolism “Classics”.

To find out which of the published articles had a significant impact on the scientific community, we first looked at the articles that were highly cited. We used two sources to obtain citation numbers, Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar. Thomson Reuters indexes only selected journals in Web of Knowledge and provides Impact Factors via its annual Journal Citation Report, which has included Nutrition & Metabolism since 2006. In contrast, Google Scholar has no editorial restrictions on indexing and includes all articles published since the journal launched in 2004, therefore giving a more comprehensive and non-selective overview of citations. We selected the top 10 highly cited articles in each indexing service (Tables 1 &2). It is interesting to note that the top 10 highly cited articles, with two exceptions, were different in these two databases. A reason is that nine of the eleven highly cited articles in Google Scholar are from 2004–2005. Therefore, for an appropriate comparison, we identified highly cited articles in Google Scholar published since 2006 (Table 3). By comparing the number of citations for the same article across both indexing services we have been able to identify several articles that appear to have been cited almost exclusively by articles in journals that are themselves indexed in the Web of Knowledge. Given the stringent criteria required to be indexed by Thomson Reuters, this may well be a sign of quality. Unsurprisingly, most articles receive a greater number of citations in Google Scholar. An interesting feature of this analysis was that 60% of the highly cited papers in Thomas Reuters were research articles. In contrast, 50% of the highly cited papers according to Google Scholar were review articles. In general, review articles are the most highly cited articles in a journal, so we were pleased to note that a significant number of our research articles topped the rankings in both these indexing services. Overall, the variability in the list of high-impact articles identified by these two services highlights the inconsistency of different indexing services, and provides further evidence that the citation indexing is an imprecise measure of article quality and its impact on research.
Table 1

Highly cited articles in Google Scholar (retrieved 30 January 2014)

Title

Year published

Article type

Citations

Link

Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia

2005

Review

400

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​5

Uric acid: a new look at an old risk marker for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: The urate redox shuttle

2004

Review

299

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​1/​1/​10

Chocolate and prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review

2006

Review

206

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​2

Cancer as a metabolic disease

2010

Review

159

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​7/​1/​7

The role of glucocorticoid action in the pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome

2005

Review

142

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​3/​

Effects of curcumin on retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetes

2007

Research

138

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​4/​1/​8

Dietary protein intake and renal function

2005

Review

128

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​25

Diet induced thermogenesis

2004

Review

127

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​1/​1/​5

Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction

2005

Review

121

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​31

Role of a critical visceral adipose tissue threshold (CVATT) in metabolic syndrome: implications for controlling dietary carbohydrates: a review

2004

Review

116

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​1/​1/​12

Table 2

Highly cited articles according to Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge (retrieved 16 January 2014)

Title

Year published

Article type

Citations

Link

Chocolate and prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review

2006

Review

79

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​2

AICAR inhibits adipocyte differentiation in 3T3L1 and restores metabolic alterations in diet-induced obesity mice model

2006

Research

62

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​31

Cancer as a metabolic disease

2010

Review

63

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​7/​1/​7

Effects of curcumin on retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetes

2007

Research

56

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​4/​1/​8

The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer

2007

Research

52

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​4/​1/​5

The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus

2006

Research

48

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​36

Curcumin and resveratrol inhibit nuclear factor-kappaB-mediated cytokine expression in adipocytes

2008

Research

45

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​17

Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: time for a critical appraisal

2008

Review

42

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​9

Comparison of isocaloric very low carbohydrate/high saturated fat and high carbohydrate/low saturated fat diets on body composition and cardiovascular risk

2006

Research

41

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​7

Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: a review

2008

Review

35

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​1

Table 3

Highly cited articles in Google Scholar published since 2006 (retrieved 30 January 2014)

Title

Year published

Article type

Citations

Link

Chocolate and prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review

2006

Review

206

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​2

Cancer as a metabolic disease

2010

Review

159

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​7/​1/​7

Effects of curcumin on retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetes

2007

Research

138

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​4/​1/​8

Conjugated linoleic acids as functional food: an insight into their health benefits

2009

Review

100

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​6/​1/​36

The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer

2007

Research

98

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​4/​1/​5

The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus

2008

Research

96

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​36

Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: time for a critical appraisal

2008

Review

93

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​9

Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: a review

2008

Review

88

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​1

Curcumin and resveratrol inhibit nuclear factor-kappaB-mediated cytokine expression in adipocytes

2008

Research

87

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​17

Further surprises came when we analyzed highly accessed articles. They were all review articles except for one commentary (Table 4), and only 50% of the highly accessed reviews were also highly cited according to Google Scholar (Table 1), supporting the conclusion that our articles are also being accessed regularly by individuals who are not actively involved in writing scientific articles: the general public. The three most highly accessed reviews cover the topics of low-carbohydrate diets, fructose and the impact of high protein on kidney function, respectively, and these subject areas were replicated throughout the top 10. They are clearly of interest to the general public; searching the article titles using the search engine Google revealed that all continue to be discussed and cited in online conversations, maintaining a steady stream of accesses and ensuring the articles continue to be referenced and explored long after they were published. We think this in part due to their open-access status. The benefits of open access are two-fold: encouraging public interest in the biology behind nutrition, and giving interested parties, including clinicians, access to peer-reviewed information on nutrition and diet.
Table 4

Highly accessed articles (retrieved 21 January 2014)

Title

Year published

Article type

Online accesses

Link

Ketogenic diets and physical performance

2004

Review

195075

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​1/​1/​2

Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia

2005

Review

179076

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​5

Dietary protein intake and renal function

2005

Review

168257

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​25

Diet induced thermogenesis

2004

Review

98261

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​1/​1/​5

Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: a review

2008

Review

88793

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​1

Chocolate and prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review

2006

Review

72872

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​2

Cancer as a metabolic disease

2010

Review

69036

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​7/​1/​7

A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes

2005

Research

64754

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​2/​1/​34

Very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass

2006

Commentary

63580

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​3/​1/​9

Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: time for a critical appraisal

2008

Review

63361

http://​www.​nutritionandmeta​bolism.​com/​content/​5/​1/​9

Nutrition & Metabolism strives to serve the academic and clinical communities and the public by publishing the highest quality research across all areas of nutrition in an accessible, open-access format. Ten years after we published our first article, the journal continues to expand and improve. In spite of the weaknesses highlighted above, we remain particularly proud that the journal Impact Factor has increased consistently since 2009. Beyond the simple matter of citations, Nutrition & Metabolism has always been a forum for controversial and groundbreaking studies, and we aim to encourage debate amongst our readership. We believe that publication is just the start of an article’s life, and greatly appreciate the numerous letters, commentaries and reviews we receive each year.

This evaluation indicates that Nutrition & Metabolism has published research and review articles across a broad range of subjects that are appreciated and cited by authors. Further, many of its articles are also of interest to the general public. We are gratified that Nutrition & Metabolism is responding to the interests of both the academic community and the public at large. With your support we will continue to provide this service to the best of our abilities.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
(2)
BioMed Central

Copyright

© Hussain et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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