Using h-cores to study the most-cited articles of the twenty-first century Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2016

start page

  • 243

end page

  • 261


  • 1


  • 108

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0138-9130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1588-2861


  • The aim of this paper is to collect the most-cited articles of the twenty-first century and to study how this group changed over time. Here the term "most-cited" is operationalized by considering yearly h-cores in the Web of Science. These h-cores are analysed in terms of authors, research areas, countries, institutions, journals and average number of authors per paper. We only consider publications of article or proceedings type. The research of some of the more prolific authors is on genetics and genomes publishing in multidisciplinary journals, such as Nature and Science, while the results show that writing a software tool for crystallography or molecular biology may help collecting large numbers of citations. English is the language of all articles in any h-core. The core institutions are largely those best placed in most rankings of world universities. Some attention is given on the relation between h-core articles and the information sciences. We further introduce the notions of h-core scores and h-core score per publication, leading to new rankings of countries. We conclude by stating that the notions of h-cores and h-core scores provide a new perspective on leading countries, articles and scientists.


  • most cited; h-index; cores; indicators; lorenz curve; twenty-first century; h-core scores; rankings; positive reinforcement; science; impact; china; model