European Orthopaedics and Traumatology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 125–130 | Cite as

Association of scientific and nonscientific factors to citation rates of articles of renowned orthopedic journals

  • Mazda Farshad
  • Claudia Sidler
  • Christian Gerber
Original Article



The physician often relies on the prestige of a journal to identify the most relevant articles to be read in his field. This investigation studied associations of scientific and nonscientific criteria with the citation frequency of articles in two top-ranked international orthopedic journals.


The 100 most (mean, 88 citations/5 years for cases) and 100 least (mean, two citations/5 years for controls) cited articles published between 2000 and 2004 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the Bone & Joint Journal (formerly known as JBJS (Br)), two of the most distributed general orthopedic journals, were identified. The association of scientific and nonscientific factors on their citation rate was quantified.


Randomized controlled trials, as well as multicenter studies with large sample sizes, were significantly more frequent in the high citation rate group. The unadjusted odds of a highly cited article to be supported by industry were 2.8 (95 % confidence interval 1.5, 5.6; p < 0.05) if compared with a lowly cited article.


Beside scientific factors, nonscientific factors such as industrial support seem associated to the citation rate of published articles. This, together with publication bias, questions whether scientific facts reach the readers in a balanced fashion.

Level of Evidence 3


Nonscientific factors Citation rates Orthopedic journals Industry 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© EFORT 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mazda Farshad
    • 1
  • Claudia Sidler
    • 1
  • Christian Gerber
    • 1
  1. 1.Balgrist University Hospital, University of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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