This Year’s Most Cited Articles: Did You Read Them?

Published on:
Dec 22, 2021
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2021 brought a year full of scientific discovery and progress. When thinking back on the year, how many articles do you think you reviewed, read, or skimmed through? How many of them impacted your clinical practice or perhaps gave you a moment of enlightenment?

At Juisci, as we wind down the year and prepare for the new one, we find ourselves reflecting on what research and articles mattered most to clinicians. One way to measure this is to look at how often an article was cited AKA how many times did other researchers find this article so valuable that they had to cite it within their own!

We wanted to find out what the most commonly cited articles were related to COVID-19, neurology, and cardiology. Here’s what we found :)

COVID-19 Conversations

Covid citations

It should be no surprise the most commonly cited articles of 2021 are centered around the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to shape the face of healthcare nearly two years later.

When looking at COVID-19 articles and what is being shared and cited the most, researchers were focusing on current vaccinations being used for the virus. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in one of their February journals about the efficacy and safety of Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine.

This article covers the clinical trial of nearly 30,500 participants in 99 facilities in the United States making it highly pertinent to discussions centering around COVID-19 vaccination. Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine was cited 1,798 times this year. On average, this article was cited over five times per day! 

The second most cited article about COVID-19 in 2021 focuses on long-term effects of COVID-19. Long-term health consequences were followed in 1,733 participants over a six-month period. 

6-Month Consequences of COVID-19 in Patients Discharged from Hospital: a Cohort Study was cited 630 times this year. Since the long-term consequences of COVID-19 were previously unknown, researchers and readers alike have been eager to learn what to look for in their patients and how to best support them. 

Science published an article in February not about COVID-19 vaccines or sequelae, but about immune memory after infection. Authors note exploring immune memory can help with future diagnostics and vaccine developments. Immunological Memory to SARS-CoV-2 Assessed for up to 8 Months After Infection was cited 592 times this year.

Neurology Notations

Neurologie citations

COVID-19 also dominated conversations and citations in speciality circles. 

Nature Medicine published an article in March of this year covering many of the long term sequelae of the virus. Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome was cited 361 times this year making it the second most commonly cited neurology article.

The article reviews data from many self-proclaimed COVID-19 "long-haulers" and their array of symptoms. The article is of specific interest in the field of neurology as headaches and migraines were reported six weeks after infection in nearly 40% of participants.

The now classic symptom of losing smell and taste is also a neurological phenomena and was found to be present in 10% of participants even after six months of infection.

In addition to monitoring symptoms, following any side effects of COVID-19 vaccination has been another heavily researched and cited topic. The New England Journal of Medicine published Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination in June of this year and has been cited 340 times. 

Authors reported findings amongst 130,000+ vaccinated individuals, noting only five who developed venous thrombosis accompanied with thrombocytopenia. Schultz et al concluded these to be cases of rare vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia. 

The most cited article in the neurology field focuses more on research practices in general. The British Journal of Medicine published The PRISMA 2020 Statement: an Updated Guideline for Reporting Systematic Reviews in March which serves as an update to the 2009 statement and was cited 709 times this year (an average of 2.5 times per day). 

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement focuses on advancements and improvements in methods when it comes to systematic review of studies. The statement includes a 27-item checklist making it a great resource for researchers to review and refer to as they work on their systematic reviews.

Cardiology Citations

cardiology citation

Clinicians in the cardiology space were equally as interested in COVID-19 and current research surrounding the virus. Patients with preexisting conditions, including cardiovascular conditions, have been shown to have more complications and a potentially more severe course of infection than those without. 

This fact has led cardiologists to focus on managing COVID-19 symptoms and reviewing data pertaining to available vaccines. 

The most cited cardiac article (cited 361 times) is the same as the most cited neurology article – Nature’s March article reviewing post-acute symptoms related to COVID-19.

One in five patients with COVID-19 reported chest pain and there has been growing evidence of a connection between the virus and myocardial inflammation. Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome reviews the pathology, pathophysiology, and management considerations related to cardiovascular consequences making this piece highly valuable in the cardiac community.

Another COVID-19 related study that was cited 120 times within the cardiology community reviews the effects of one BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccination on patients who previously contracted the virus. 

The goal of the study was to determine if a patient who had COVID-19 and subsequently one vaccination had similar or more antibodies to someone who never had COVID-19 and received two vaccinations.

Authors of Antibody Response to First BNT162b2 Dose in Previously SARS-CoV-2-infected Individuals found a 140-fold jump in antibodies after just one vaccination in those previously infected with COVID-19. The value this data brings is the potential to prioritize vaccines and boosters as well as highlighting the potential use of serology testing prior to vaccination.

Similarly to neurologists, cardiology clinicians have also been focused on research guidelines this year. The second most cited article in the cardiology space comes from Autophagy and reviews the 4th edition of use and interpretation of autophagy assays. 

Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition) was cited 158 times in 2021 and focuses on updated the 2008 guidelines surrounding research in autophagy. 

While not specifically related to COVID-19 it makes you wonder if researchers are citing these guidelines when discussing or developing vaccines or other immune modulators. The guide is detailed and robust, discussing everything from selecting machinery to assess autophagy to how to best critique reports related to autophagy. 

What’s Next?

It’s anyone’s guess as to what 2022 will bring researchers and readers alike. For those of us at Juisci, our goal is to bring you the most prevalent articles without overwhelming you with content.

That’s why we craft digestible daily Juisci ‘shots’ of publications to give you a brief yet comprehensive look at what clinicians around the globe are talking about.

You can find these publication digests as well as engage with peers on our app! You can personalize your own Juisci content so you’re the first to know about publications that have the potential to impact your specific clinical practice.

Download the app today and start the new year with a shot of Juisci.


Happy New Year!


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