Most Cited Journal Articles – E-prints – Astronomy
In my post “Journal Articles – E-prints – Astronomy” of June 17, I looked at the fraction of e-printed journal articles for a number of astronomy journals. An interesting question is: what this fraction within the top 100 of most cited articles within these journals? The concept of “most important” or “most influential” articles is clearly a somewhat charged one, but it seems reasonable that the more an article gets cited the more influential it becomes. When you look at articles as forming a directed graph, where the edges represent the relationship “x cites y”, a vertex with a high in-degree becomes more “central”. Anyhow, that will be the subject for a blog by itself!
For a number of astronomy journals I took all the articles that appeared in that journal in a given year, and sorted them by citation. Then, for the top 100, I determined how many of these also appeared as an e-print. This is shown in the figure below.
When you compare the numbers in the above figure with those in my post of June 17, you’ll see that the numbers are much higher. For Monthly Notices of the R.A.S. it is even more than 90%! Monthly Notices is closely followed by The Astrophysical Journal and the ApJ Letters. The fact that most of the highly cited papers first appeared as e-print spawned the question: did they get cited more because they appeared first as e-print? This question lies at the base of the discussion of the influence of Open Access, Early Access and Self-Selection Bias (see the papers The Effect of Use and Access on Citations and Open Access does not increase citations for research articles from The Astrophysical Journal, for example). It will be interesting to recreate some of the diagrams and see if some trends might have changed.