Basic Science Research Trends in Orthopedic Surgery: An Analysis of the Top 100 Cited Articles



Much of current clinical orthopedics traces its origin to basic science investigation of cellular and biochemical pathways, tissue engineering, and biomechanics of bone and joint physiology in animal and cadaveric models.


We sought to describe research trends in highly cited basic science studies in orthopedics.


By searching Web of Science, we identified the 100 most cited basic science orthopedics articles and focused on author position and degree (PhD, MD, or MD/PhD), topic, type of study, country, institution, and citation trends.


These articles were published from 1970 to 2008 (citation range, 330 to 2111), with the majority from the USA (78). While there was no correlation between years since publication and total citations, more recent articles had higher citation rates. There were 38 unique first authors represented, with Caplan, Harris, Mankin, Noyes, and Warren as primary authors or co-authors of four articles each. Twelve journals published these 100 articles, with the majority in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (46) and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (18). Frequent topics included biomechanics (31), healing/regeneration (21), and cellular/molecular biology (13). The Hospital for Special Surgery/Cornell University (10) published the most, followed by the Hospital for Joint Diseases/New York University (6), and University of Pittsburgh (6). No difference was observed in total citations and average citation rate by author degree. Eight articles were contributed from privately owned institutions or industry, with the rest from academic hospitals.


This review may aid those seeking insight into landmark studies and future direction of basic science research in orthopedics.

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Correspondence to Suresh K. Nayar MD.

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Suresh K. Nayar, MD, Eric J. Dein, MD, Johnathan A. Bernard, MD, MPH, Bashir A. Zikria, MD, MSc, and Andrea M. Spiker, MD, declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Nayar, S.K., Dein, E.J., Bernard, J.A. et al. Basic Science Research Trends in Orthopedic Surgery: An Analysis of the Top 100 Cited Articles. HSS Jrnl 14, 333–337 (2018).

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  • basic science
  • bibliometric analysis
  • citation analysis
  • orthopedics