, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 329–338 | Cite as

Landmark papers written by the Nobelists in physics from 1901 to 2012: a bibliometric analysis of their citations and journals

  • Zhiwei Zhou
  • Rui Xing
  • Jing Liu
  • Feiyue Xing


We collected 382 landmark papers written by 193 Nobel Laureates in physics from 1901 to 2012 and used bibliometric methods, citation frequencies, impact factor (IF), and tendency of the landmark journals to analyze their contents. The results show: (1) Of landmark papers published during 1980–2009, 74.7 % were cited more than 500 times. Average citation frequencies and proportion of highly cited papers were higher for theoretic discoveries than for experimental methods. However, the proportion of highly cited papers in both domains was lower than for an invention. The average test period for the latter was markedly shorter too. (2) Landmark papers by Nobelists were mainly published in journals with IF from 5.0 to 10.0, but journals below IF 5.0 ranked first among all landmark journals. (3) As to countries where landmark papers were published, the Netherlands ranked at the top of the countries with the most landmark journals, besides the United States and England. In addition, the majority of landmark papers written by non-mainstream countries’ Nobelists were published in foreign journals with IF <7.0. These data indicate some regularity and tendency of landmark papers written by Nobelists in physics.


Nobel prize Citation Distribution Characteristics Bibliometric Analysis 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81172824, 30971465, 30471635) and “211” project grant.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no financial/commercial conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Immunobiology, Institute of Tissue Transplantation and ImmunologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Life Sciences and Technology Base of Basic Science Grade 2011Lanzhou University School of Life SciencesLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of StomatologyJinan University School of MedicineGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Functional Protein Research of Guangdong Higher Education InstitutesJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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