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The most cited authors and papers in tobacco control
  1. F Byrne,
  2. S Chapman
  1. School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Simon Chapman
 School of Public Health, Edward Ford building A27, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia;

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In this paper, we present the first attempt at determining which authors of research and commentary of direct relevance to tobacco control have the most cited publications in this field. We examine this from 1980 to 2004 and also for the past decade (1994–2004) in an effort to distinguish the 100 overall most cited authors for these periods. We have also provided a list of the 50 highest citation classics in tobacco control.

Citations are the most common way of measuring the impact in the scientific community of an article, and cumulatively, of a researcher.1–3 However, there can be important differences between evaluating impact and the quality of a paper. The quality of a paper is essentially characterised by the notion of possible value and this cannot be easily measured in an objective and quantitative way.4 Smith has suggested a range of ways in which scientific output might otherwise be evaluated, but all of these outcomes can be less easily measured than by calculating citations.5 While use of databases for citation analysis have been widely criticised,6 they do offer the easiest approach for assembling “ball park” data even when taking into consideration that the databases do not distinguish between positive and negative credits. Authors generally cite exemplary or important articles. While controversial badly flawed articles can also be highly cited in critical articles referring to them, it seldom happens that an author will repeatedly produce such highly cited flawed articles.

The field of tobacco control is very broad and includes basic science on toxicology, pharmacology, and genetics; clinical research reporting on the impact of tobacco use on individuals’ health; epidemiological research on large populations; studies of tobacco use; and matters relevant to policies and programmes designed to reduce tobacco use and the harm it causes. …

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  • A list of exclusion keywords was run in conjunction with the topic search to primarily exclude results concerned with tobacco agronomy.

  • Competing interests: none declared