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The Journal of Clinical Pathology at 70: Who’s citing who? Where has the journal been cited?
  1. Tahir S Pillay
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tahir S Pillay, Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0007, South Africa; tspillay{at}

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As the Journal of Clinical Pathology celebrates 70 years of existence, it is appropriate to reflect back on the journal contributions to pathology and laboratory medicine. In a previous editorial,1 we looked back at the most highly cited papers in the Journal of Clinical Pathology (JCP) since inception. In this editorial, I have examined where the journal has been cited using data extracted from the Thomson-Reuters database as at June 2017 (table 1figure 1).

Table 1

Journals with the most JCP citations—the highest 10

Figure 1

Journals where JCP citations have appeared (data from Web of Science). The length of the arc is an indication of the numbers of citations.

The most highly cited paper in the journal is a paper describing the rapid and precise method for the determination of urea. In the clinical laboratory, urea is one of the most commonly measured analytes. In addition, urea measurement is also important in food science and environmental monitoring. The formation of urea is the major route for the removal of surplus nitrogen and in the kidney, urea contributes to the medullary hypertonicity that enables the kidneys to concentrate urine. Urea is classically used as an index of renal function, although it is not very useful. The methods for measuring urea depend on the formation of ammonia after degradation. Ammonia can react with a number of compounds to generate a colour reaction. Ammonia can react with phenol and hypochlorite to produce a blue colour (Berthelot reaction). The reaction is enhanced with sodium nitroprusside. The publication by Fawcett and Scott exploits this original discovery by adding an adaptation using urease.2 The paper has been cited more than 1700 times and continues to be cited, even in 2017 (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Annual citation count of Fawcett and Scott: a rapid and precise method for the determination of urea. J Clin Pathol (1960) 13, 156 (from Web of Science).

The journal with the highest number of citations to the Journal of Clinical Pathology is PLOS ONE (table 1) which is interesting, considering that PLOS was established only in 2006.

Considering that the major content in the journal is histopathology and haematology, the journal cited the most by authors (table 2) is the American Journal of Surgical Pathology, followed by Blood. Oncology journals also feature in this list again reflecting the content of many paper in the journal.

Table 2

Journals that have been cited in the JCP—the highest 10

In a future issue, we will also analyse another highly cited paper by Bosch et al on the relationship between papillomavirus and cervical cancer.3


View Abstract


  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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