Supposedly uncited articles of Nobel laureates and Fields medalists can be prevalently attributed to the errors of omission and commission

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Abstract

Several independent authors reported a high share of uncited publications, which include those produced by top scientists. This share was repeatedly reported to exceed 10% of the total papers produced, without any explanation of this phenomenon and the lack of difference in uncitedness between average and successful researchers. In this report, we analyze the uncitedness among two independent groups of highly visible scientists (mathematicians represented by Fields medalists, and researchers in physiology or medicine represented by Nobel Prize laureates in the respective field). Analysis of both groups led to the identical conclusion: over 90% of the uncited database records of highly visible scientists can be explained by the inclusion of editorial materials progress reports presented at international meetings (meeting abstracts), discussion items (letters to the editor, discussion), personalia (biographic items), and by errors of omission and commission of the Web of Science (WoS) database and of the citing documents. Only a marginal amount of original articles and reviews were found to be uncited (0.9 and 0.3%, respectively), which is in strong contrast with the previously reported data, which never addressed the document types among the uncited records.

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