The world’s favourite stats papers


Dataviz - Stats - Bayes

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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