The world’s favourite stats papers

Robert Grant's stats blog

People often say that Bland and Altman’s paper where they set out the eponymous plot for comparing two measures in medical statistics is the most-cited stats paper ever. I thought I would poke around on Google Scholar and see what the citations looked like there.

Image Martin Bland (left) & Doug Altman, Cambridge 1981. Photo courtesy of Martin Bland’s homepage at York.

In terms of total citations, and given all the shortcoming of this as a measure of anything, there are two ahead of B&A, and they needn’t feel cheated, as we’re talking about titans of statistics here. Here’s the rankings for the seven papers I could think of testing:

  1. Cox (1972) Regression and life tables: 35,512 citations. 
  2. DLR (1977) Maximum likelihood from incomplete data via the EM algorithm: 34,988
  3. Bland & Altman (1986) Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement: 27,181
  4. Geman & Geman (1984) Stochastic relaxation, Gibbs…

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