Google Scholar is quite a fantastic tool; I recently (20/5/2021) glanced at my own profile and decided to have a closer look at the 100 of my papers that have been cited most frequently. The list below shows these ‘top 100’; in the 1st column is the reference (title of the article, authors, journal). In the MIDDLE column are the numbers of times each paper has been cited (if you click on it, you see the articles that cited the paper in question), and the far-right column tells you the year of publication.
Here we go:
|Interactions between herbal medicines and prescribed drugs. AA Izzo, E Ernst: Drugs 61 (15), 2163-2175||1608*||2001|
|Influence of context effects on health outcomes: a systematic review. Z Di Blasi, E Harkness, E Ernst, A Georgiou, J Kleijnen: Lancet 357 (9258), 757-762||1564||2001|
|Fibrinogen as a cardiovascular risk factor: a meta-analysis and review of the literature. E Ernst, KL Resch: Annals of internal medicine 118 (12), 956-963||1544||1993|
|The prevalence of complementary/alternative medicine in cancer: a systematic review. E Ernst, B Cassileth: Cancer: Interdisciplinary International Journal of the American Cancer||1173||1998|
|The desktop guide to complementary and alternative medicine: an evidence-based approach. E Ernst, MH Pittler, C Stevinson, A White||854||2001|
|Harmless herbs? A review of the recent literature. E Ernst: The American journal of medicine 104 (2), 170-178||852||1998|
|The desktop guide to complementary and alternative medicine: an evidence-based approach. E Ernst, MH Pittler, C Stevinson, A White||837||2001|
|Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness. BK Vogler, E Ernst: British journal of general practice 49 (447), 823-828||767||1999|
|Leukocytes and the risk of ischemic diseases. E Ernst, DE Hammerschmidt, U Bagge, A Matrai, JA Dormandy: Jama 257 (17), 2318-2324||754||1987|
|The Risk–Benefit Profile of Commonly Used Herbal Therapies: Ginkgo, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, and Kava. E Ernst: Annals of internal medicine 136 (1), 42-53||726||2002|
|Prevalence of use of complementary/alternative medicine: a systematic review. E Ernst: Bulletin of the world health organization 78, 258-266||725||2000|
|The BBC survey of complementary medicine use in the UK. E Ernst, A White: Complementary therapies in medicine 8 (1), 32-36||646||2000|
|The efficacy of “distant healing”: a systematic review of randomized trials. JA Astin, E Harkness, E Ernst: Parapsychology, 433-440||633||2017|
|Toxic heavy metals and undeclared drugs in Asian herbal medicines. E Ernst: Trends in pharmacological sciences 23 (3), 136-139||630||2002|
|Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. E Ernst, MH Pittler: British journal of anaesthesia 84 (3), 367-371||623||2000|
|Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. E Manheimer, A White, B Berman, K Forys, E Ernst: Annals of internal medicine 142 (8), 651-663||600||2005|
|Garlic for treating hypercholesterolemia: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials
C Stevinson, MH Pittler, E Ernst: Annals of internal medicine 133 (6), 420-429
|Bringing medicinal plants into cultivation: opportunities and challenges for biotechnology. PH Canter, H Thomas, E Ernst: TRENDS in Biotechnology 23 (4), 180-185||524||2005|
|St John’s wort: Prozac from the plant kingdom. G Di Carlo, F Borrelli, E Ernst, AA Izzo: Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 22 (6), 292-297||500*||2001|
|Adverse events following acupuncture: prospective survey of 32 000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. A White, S Hayhoe, A Hart, E Ernst: Bmj 323 (7311), 485-486||498||2001|
|Concept of true and perceived placebo effects. E Ernst, KL Resch: Bmj 311 (7004), 551-553||495||1995|
|A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy. E Ernst: British journal of clinical pharmacology 54 (6), 577-582||482||2002|
|Aromatherapy: a systematic review. B Cooke, E Ernst: British journal of general practice 50 (455), 493-496||476||2000|
|The efficacy of ginseng. A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. BK Vogler, MH Pittler, E Ernst: European journal of clinical pharmacology 55 (8), 567-575||476||1999|
|Second thoughts about safety of St John’s wort. E Ernst: Lancet 354 (9195), 2014-2016||475||1999|
|Dietary supplements for body-weight reduction: a systematic review. MH Pittler, E Ernst: The American journal of clinical nutrition 79 (4), 529-536||473||2004|
|Herb–drug interactions: review and assessment of report reliability. A Fugh‐Berman, E Ernst: British journal of clinical pharmacology 52 (5), 587-595||468||2001|
|Acupuncture for back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. E Ernst, AR White: Archives of internal medicine 158 (20), 2235-2241||421||1998|
|Prospective studies of the safety of acupuncture: a systematic review. E Ernst, AR White: The American journal of medicine 110 (6), 481-485||411||2001|
|Panax ginseng, JT Coon, E Ernst: Drug safety 25 (5), 323-344||408||2002|
|The role of complementary and alternative medicine. E Ernst: Bmj 321 (7269), 1133||404||2000|
|Review of randomised controlled trials of traditional Chinese medicine. JL Tang, SY Zhan, E Ernst: Bmj 319 (7203), 160-161||388||1999|
|Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome: a critical review and metaanalysis. MH Pittler, E Ernst: The American journal of gastroenterology 93 (7), 1131-1135||384||1998|
|Yohimbine for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. E Ernst, MH Pittler: The Journal of urology 159 (2), 433-436||380||1998|
|Trick or treatment: The undeniable facts about alternative medicine. S Singh, E Ernst: WW Norton & Company||379*||2008|
|Prospective investigation of adverse effects of acupuncture in 97 733 patients. D Melchart, W Weidenhammer, A Streng, S Reitmayr, A Hoppe, E Ernst: Archives of internal medicine 164 (1), 104-105||375||2004|
|Adulteration of Chinese herbal medicines with synthetic drugs: a systematic review. E Ernst: Journal of internal medicine 252 (2), 107-113||374||2002|
|Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: evaluating current evidence and informing future research. HF Coelho, PH Canter, E Ernst. Educational Publishing Foundation 1 (S), 97||362||2013|
|Acupuncture–a critical analysis. E Ernst: J. Intern Med 259 (2), 125-137||357||2006|
|Acupuncture for treating acute ankle sprains in adults. TH Kim, MS Lee, KH Kim, JW Kang, TY Choi, E Ernst: Cochrane database of systematic reviews||353*||2014|
|Kava extract versus placebo for treating anxiety. MH Pittler, E Ernst:Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews||352||2003|
|Methods for causality assessment of adverse drug reactions. TB Agbabiaka, J Savović, E Ernst: Drug safety 31 (1), 21-37||348||2008|
|Efficacy of kava extract for treating anxiety: systematic review and meta-analysis. MH Pittler, E Ernst: Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 20 (1), 84-89||345||2000|
|Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. MH Pittler, E Ernst: Cochrane database of systematic reviews||341||2012|
|A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for neck pain. AR White, E Ernst: Rheumatology (Oxford, England) 38 (2), 143-147||334||1999|
|Cardiovascular pharmacotherapy and herbal medicines: the risk of drug interaction. AA Izzo, G Di Carlo, F Borrelli, E Ernst: International journal of cardiology 98 (1), 1-14||333||2005|
|Ice freezes pain? A review of the clinical effectiveness of analgesic cold therapy. E Ernst, V Fialka: Journal of pain and symptom management 9 (1), 56-59||332||1994|
|Complementary medicine—a definition. E Ernst, KL Resch, S Mills, R Hill, A Mitchell, M Willoughby, A White: The British Journal of General Practice 45 (398), 506||331||1995|
|Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. D Moher, A Liberati, J Tetzlaff, DG Altman, D Altman, G Antes, D Atkins, … Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine 7 (9), 889-896||327||2009|
|Validating a new non-penetrating sham acupuncture device: two randomised controlled trials. J Park, A White, C Stevinson, E Ernst, M James: Acupuncture in Medicine 20 (4), 168-174||324||2002|
|Herbal medicinal products during pregnancy: are they safe? E Ernst: BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 109 (3), 227-235||322||2002|
|Adverse effects of herbal drugs in dermatology. E Ernst: British Journal of Dermatology 143 (5), 923-929||319||2000|
|Plasma fibrinogen—an independent cardiovascular risk factor. E Ernst: Journal of internal medicine 227 (6), 365-372||317||1990|
|Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer: K Boehm, F Borrelli, E Ernst, G Habacher, SK Hung, S Milazzo, … Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews||312||2009|
|Andrographis paniculata in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review of safety and efficacy. JT Coon, E Ernst: Planta medica 70 (04), 293-298||310||2004|
|Different standards for reporting ADRs to herbal remedies and conventional OTC medicines: face‐to‐face interviews with 515 users of herbal remedies: J Barnes, SY Mills, NC Abbot, M Willoughby, E Ernst: British journal of clinical pharmacology 45 (5), 496-500||308||1998|
|Complementary and alternative medicine use in England: results from a national survey. KJ Hunt, HF Coelho, B Wider, R Perry, SK Hung, R Terry, E Ernst: International journal of clinical practice 64 (11), 1496-1502||305||2010|
|Acupuncture for smoking cessation. AR White, H Rampes, E Ernst: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews||304*||2002|
|A review of stroke rehabilitation and physiotherapy. E Ernst: Stroke 21 (7), 1081-1085||298||1990|
|Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of intermittent claudication: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. MH Pittler, E Ernst: The American journal of medicine 108 (4), 276-281||295||2000|
|Adverse effects of spinal manipulation: a systematic review. E Ernst: Journal of the royal society of medicine 100 (7), 330-338||290||2007|
|The safety of massage therapy. E Ernst: Rheumatology 42 (9), 1101-1106||282||2003|
|Life-threatening adverse reactions after acupuncture? A systematic review. E Ernst, A White: Pain 71 (2), 123-126||282||1997|
|Herbal medicines for treatment of bacterial infections: a review of controlled clinical trials. KW Martin, E Ernst: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 51 (2), 241-246||280||2003|
|Alternative and complementary therapies for the menopause. Borrelli, E Ernst: Maturitas 66 (4), 333-343||278||2010|
|Valerian for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. C Stevinson, E Ernst: Sleep medicine 1 (2), 91-99||271||2000|
|Adverse effects profile of the herbal antidepressant St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.). E Ernst, JI Rand, J Barnes, C Stevinson: European journal of clinical pharmacology 54 (8), 589-594||271||1998|
|The possible role of hemorheology in atherothrombogenesis. W Koenig, E Ernst: Atherosclerosis 94 (2-3), 93-107||269||1992|
|Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. DJ Jang, MS Lee, BC Shin, YC Lee, E Ernst: British journal of clinical pharmacology 66 (4), 444-450||263||2008|
|Complementary therapies for depression: an overview. E Ernst, JI Rand, C Stevinson: Archives of general psychiatry 55 (11), 1026-1032||260||1998|
|Quality of herbal medicines: challenges and solutions. J Zhang, B Wider, H Shang, X Li, E Ernst: Complementary therapies in medicine 20 (1-2), 100-106||257||2012|
|Heavy metals in traditional Indian remedies. E Ernst: European journal of clinical pharmacology 57 (12), 891-896||253||2002|
|Heavy metals in traditional Chinese medicines: a systematic review. E Ernst, JT Coon: Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 70 (6), 497-504||251||2001|
|Vitex agnus castus. C Daniele, JT Coon, MH Pittler, E Ernst: Drug safety 28 (4), 319-332||245||2005|
|Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. YD Kwon, MH Pittler, E Ernst: Rheumatology 45 (11), 1331-1337||242||2006|
|The efficacy of herbal medicine–an overview. E Ernst: Fundamental & clinical pharmacology 19 (4), 405-409||242||2005|
|Herb–drug interactions: an overview of systematic reviews. P Posadzki, L Watson, E Ernst. British journal of clinical pharmacology 75 (3), 603-618||241||2013|
|Adverse events of herbal food supplements for body weight reduction: systematic review. MH Pittler, K Schmidt, E Ernst: obesity reviews 6 (2), 93-111||240||2005|
|Randomized, double-blind trial of chitosan for body weight reduction. MH Pittler, NC Abbot, EF Harkness, E Ernst: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53 (5), 379-381||237||1999|
|Massage therapy for low back pain: a systematic review. E Ernst: Journal of pain and symptom management 17 (1), 65-69||236||1999|
|Feverfew for preventing migraine. MH Pittler, E Ernst: Cochrane database of systematic reviews||235||2004|
|Intermittent claudication, exercise, and blood rheology. EE Ernst, A Matrai: Circulation 76 (5), 1110-1114||235||1987|
|Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. P Posadzki, LK Watson, E Ernst: Clinical medicine 13 (1), 7||233||2013|
|Horse-chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency: a criteria-based systematic review. MH Pittler, E Ernst: Archives of Dermatology 134 (11), 1356-1360||232||1998|
|The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating acute dental pain: a systematic review. E Ernst, MH Pittler: British dental journal 184 (9), 443-447||231||1998|
|Complementary therapies for asthma: what patients use. E Ernst: Journal of Asthma 35 (8), 667-671||230||1998|
|87. Acupuncture: does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews. E Ernst, MS Lee, TY Choi: PAIN 152 (4), 755-764||229||2011|
|The effectiveness of spinal manipulation for the treatment of headache disorders: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. JA Astin, E Ernst: Cephalalgia 22 (8), 617-623||228||2002|
|Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. MH Pittler, K Schmidt, E Ernst: The American journal of medicine 114 (8), 665-674||227||2003|
|Complementary medicine: what physicians think of it: a meta-analysis. E Ernst, KL Resch, AR White: Archives of internal medicine 155 (22), 2405-2408||226||1995|
|A brief history of acupuncture. A White, E Ernst: Rheumatology 43 (5), 662-663||225||2004|
|Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. R Guo, MH Pittler, E Ernst: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews||221||2008|
|Prevalence of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients/consumers in the UK: systematic review of surveys. P Posadzki, LK Watson, A Alotaibi, E Ernst: Clinical medicine 13 (2), 126||220||2013|
|Herbal medicines for asthma: a systematic review. A Huntley, E Ernst: Thorax 55 (11), 925-929||218||2000|
|Plasma viscosity and the risk of coronary heart disease: results from the MONICA-Augsburg Cohort Study, 1984 to 1992. W Koenig, M Sund, B Filipiak, A Doring, H Lowel, E Ernst: Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology 18 (5), 768-772||215||1998|
|Alternative therapy bias. E Ernst, MH Pittler: Nature 385 (6616), 480-480||214||1997|
|Systematic review: hepatotoxic events associated with herbal medicinal products. MH Pittler, E Ernst: Aliment Pharmacol & Therapeutics 18 (5), 451-471||212||2003|
|Anthocyanosides of Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) for night vision—a systematic review of placebo-controlled trials. PH Canter, E Ernst: Survey of ophthalmology 49 (1), 38-50||210||2004|
|Prevalence of complementary/alternative medicine for children: a systematic review. E Ernst: European journal of pediatrics 158 (1), 7-11||210||1999|
|Homeopathy for postoperative ileus?: a meta-analysis. J Barnes, KL Resch, E Ernst: Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 25 (4), 628-633|
What my analysis of these data suggests is the following:
- Only relatively few articles (n=8) are in the ‘top 100’ that I published before I took up the Exeter post starting full-time research into so-called alternative medicine (SCAM).
- Despite the fact that in any such analysis older papers are at a significant advantage over newer articles, the vast majority of these 100 papers are relatively recent.
- Very few of our clinical trials are in the ‘top 100’, even though I did publish well over 50 during my career.
- Systematic reviews dominate by far and amount to 49 of the ‘top 100’.
- Even some of my ‘letters to the editor’ did make it into the ‘top 100’.
- Six of the 100 papers are surveys.
- As to the SCAM topics, most articles are on herbal medicine (n=39), followed by acupuncture (13), manual therapies (4), and homeopathy (2).
- A total of 21 of the papers have their main focus on safety issues.
- The vast majority of the papers are co-authored by more than one member of my team.
- A total of 22 articles were produced in collaboration with researchers who were not members of my team.
- Seventeen papers were single-author papers by myself.
- Even though I certainly did publish a lot in journals specialized in so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), only very few of these articles made it into this list.
There are many things that I find interesting in all this. Perhaps just a few points:
- The two SCAM areas in which I have published many articles and do get a lot of flack for what I have written are homeopathy and chiropractic. Surprisingly, not many of these papers are in the ‘top 100’. I am not sure whether this is meaningful and if so how I should interpret this.
- The fact that hardly any papers published in SCAM journals made the ‘top 100’ is interesting but not surprising. It means that researchers who want to see their work cited – and who doesn’t? – should avoid such journals (there are, of course, other reasons as well for avoiding such journals).
- The fact that even ‘letters to the editors’ can get cited so frequently seems unexpected but I find it encouraging.
- Collaboration with researchers who are not from one’s own team can be, in my experience, cumbersome but it is worth it and often fruitful.
- If you asked me, is there a correlation between the quality of a paper and the frequency with which it is cited, I’d have to say NO.
- If you asked me, is there a correlation between the importance of a paper and the frequency with which it is cited, I’d have to say NO again.