What are the landmark papers in scientific fields? On which shoulders does research in these fields stand? Which papers are indispensable for scientific progress?
These are typical questions which are not only of interest for researchers (who frequently know the answers – or are supposed to know them), but also for the general public (e.g., science journalists). Citation counts are often used to identify very useful papers, since they reflect the wisdom of crowd – the many scientists using the published results for their own research. We identified with recently developed methods for the program CRExplorer landmark publications in (nearly) all Web of Science (WoS, Clarivate Analytics) subject categories (WoSSCs). These are publications which belong more frequently than other publications to the top-‰ in their WoSSC across the citing years. We used the WoS custom data of the Max Planck Society’s in-house database derived from the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-E), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) produced by Clarivate Analytics (Philadelphia, USA). All records (especially cited references) for the papers of the document type "article" published between 1980 and 2017 were exported and analyzed separately for each WoSSC. We considered only the 205 WoSSCs with a proportion of at least 30% linked cited references among all cited references. The reason is that only WoSSCs with sufficient references covered by the WoS should be considered in the analyses The 10 papers of each WoSSC which belong most frequently to the top-‰ across the citing years can be found in the table below. A detailed explanation of the methods used for identifying the landmark papers can be found at arXiv. However, one should consider in the interpretation of the results below that only up to ten classic papers are presented and many others follow which are (somewhat) lower ranked.