Patterns of annual citation of highly cited articles and the prediction of their citation ranking: A comparison across subjects
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High citation is associated with research quality and consequently findings on highly cited articles are useful to increase understanding of the factors that produce high quality research. This study explores highly cited articles in six subjects, focusing on late citation and peak citation years. Longitudinal citation patterns were found to be highly varied and, on average, different from the remaining articles in each subject. For four of the six subjects, there is a correlation of over 0.42 between the percentage of early citations and total citation ranking but more highly ranked articles had a lower percentage of early citations. Surprisingly, for highly cited articles in all six subjects the prediction of citation ranking of from the sum of citations during their first six years was less accurate than prediction using the sum of the citations for only the fifth and sixth year.
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