Most Highly Cited Systematic Reviews in Service Delivery / Health Services Research

A few years ago CLAHRC WM affiliates Ola Uthman and Aileen Clarke published a paper on Citation Classics Among Systematic Reviews.[1] The top seven cited papers were all methodological articles and the leader of the pack is DerSimonian and Laird’s classic 1986 paper with 7,308 citations.[2] The most highly cited clinical article, weighing in at number 8, is a 2002 Lancet paper on statins by Colin Baigent and colleagues.[3] Thirteen of the top 100 cited systematic reviews dealt with health services / service delivery research or with a cognate psychological topic – these are listed in the Table.

18 Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients – A meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA. 1998; 279: 1200-5.
22 Barrick MR, Mount MK. The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job-Performance – A Metaanalysis. Pers Psychol. 1991; 44: 1-26.
23 Davis DA, Thomson MA, Oxman AD, Haynes RB. Changing Physician Performance – A Systematic Review of the Effect of Continuing Medical-Education Strategies. JAMA. 1995; 274: 700-5.
26 Grimshaw JM, Russell IT. Effect of Clinical Guidelines on Medical-Practice – A Systematic Review of Rigorous Evaluations. Lancet 1993, 342: 1317-22.
31 Armitage CJ, Conner M. Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: A meta-analytic review. Br J Soc Psychol. 2001, 40: 471-99.
45 Bero LA, Grilli R, Grimshaw JM, et al. Getting research findings into practice – Closing the gap between research and practice: an overview of systematic reviews of interventions to promote the implementation of research findings. BMJ. 1998, 317: 465-8.
48 Oxman AD, Thomson MA, Davis DA, Haynes RB. No Magic Bullets – A Systematic Review of 102 Trials of Interventions to Improve Professional Practice. CMAJ. 1995, 153: 1423-31.
61 Sheppard BH, Hartwick J, Warshaw PR. The Theory of Reasoned Action – A Meta-Analysis of Past Research with Recommendations for Modifications and Future-Research. J Cons Res. 1988; 15: 325-43.
70 Antman EM, Lau J, Kupelnick B, Mosteller F, Chalmers TC. A Comparison of Results of Meta-analyses of Randomized Control Trials and Recommendations of Clinical Experts. Treatments for Myocardial Infarction. JAMA. 1992; 268: 240-8.
94 Claxton AJ, Cramer J, Pierce C. A systematic review of the associations between dose regimens and medication compliance. Clin Ther. 2001; 23: 1296-310.
96 Hunt DL, Haynes RB, Hanna SE, Smith K. Effects of computer-based clinical decision support systems on physician performance and patient outcomes – A systematic review. JAMA. 1998; 280: 1339-46.
97 Deci EL, Koestner R, Ryan RM. A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychol Bull. 1999; 125: 627-68.
99 Kluger AN, DeNisi A. The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychol Bull. 1996; 119: 254-84.

The top cited HS&DR article in our series (18th overall) is the meta-analysis by Lazarou et al. on adverse drug events among hospitalised patients, published in JAMA back in 1998.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Uthman OA, Okwundu CI, Wiysonge CS, Young T, Clarke A. Citation Classics in Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: Who Wrote the Top 100 Most Cited Articles? PLoS One. 2012; 8(10): e78517.
  2. DerSimonian R, & Laird N. Metaanalysis in Clinical-Trials. Control Clin Trials. 1986; 7: 177-88.
  3. Baigent C, Keech A, Kearney PM, et al. Efficacy and safety of cholesterol-lowering treatment: prospective meta-analysis of data from 90,056 participants in 14 randomised trials of statins. Lancet. 2005; 366: 1267-78.

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