About a year ago I wrote a post on some of the most important historic physics papers. This included such revolutionary papers as Einstein’s initial paper on special relativity, the paper, which introduced the idea of quantum entanglement, the big paper by Hawking on black holes and a few others.
All of these papers are undeniably great, since they introduced revolutionary theoretical ideas, that often turned a new page in the history of physics. However, a paper does not require a “revolution” to be considered influential and highly useful. Many great papers carve their mark in the history of physics through silence ingenuity. And today, through the wonders of online databases, it is easier than ever to track the top papers and their citations. So I thought it would be a good idea to do some research and find out what are the currently mostly cited research papers. Below you can find 2 lists of currently most cited papers and an additional list with the most cited papers of the last 110 years.
Now it is important to point out that, given the number scientific journals and the difficulty of tracking the citations of old papers, it is nearly impossible to find an absolutely accurate list of top papers. Despite these drawbacks, however, there are some reliable databases that track the number of citations for each paper. Among these we can find such sources as the Inspire HEP database, Google scholar and this great paper on the most cited Physical review papers throughout the last hundred years. The top 10 papers from each source are given below.
The first source, Inspire HEP, is an open access digital library for the field of high energy physics. It has been the main research paper database on the subject since 1970s. Each year Inspire publishes lists of top cited papers, both of that year and all time. Here are the top 10 papers of the year 2013.
Google Scholar is a more recent database, or, more correctly, a search engine dedicated to scientific research papers. One of the best features of the Scholar is a rating system that tracks the most cited papers for each category. Here are the 10 top cited physics & math papers from Physical Review Letters.
Last, but not least, we have 10 leading papers from the 110 years of research, as seen on Physical Review journals. In this paper S. Redner analyzes the most impactful and highly cited historic papers. Here are the 10 papers (actually it’s 11, since there seems to be a tie between two of the papers) rated according their number of cites. For some other interesting data, check out the original paper.
|1.||Self-Consistent Equations Including Exchange and Correlation Effects (1965)||W. Kohn, L. J. Sham|
|2.||Inhomogeneous Electron Gas (1964)||P. Honenberg, W. Kohn|
|3.||Self-Interaction Correction to Density-Functional Approximations for Many-Electron Systems (1981)||J.P. Perdew, Alex Zunger|
|4.||Ground State of the Electron Gas by a Stochastic Method (1980)||D. M. Ceperley, B.J. Alder|
|5.||Theory of Superconductivity (1957)||J. Bardeen, L.N. Cooper, J.R. Schrieffer|
|6.||Model of Leptons (1967)||S. Weinberg|
|7.||Linear Methods in Band Theory (1975)||O. K. Andersen|
|8.||Effects of Configuration Interaction on Intensities and Phase Shifts (1961)||U. Fano|
|8.||Disordered Electronic Systems (1985)||P.A. Lee, T.V. Ramakrishnan|
|9.||The Electronic Properties of Two-Dimensional Systems (1982)||T. Ando, A.B. Fowler, F. Stern|
|10.||Special Points for Brilloun-Zone Integrations (1976)||H.J. Monkhorst, James D. Pack|