Image via Author

A scientific paper co-authored by a University of Virginia researcher has been named one of the most cited scientific papers of all time by Nature. The respected journal highlighted work by the School of Medicine’s Wladek Minor for its influence on researchers using it as a reference to extend on their own experimental endeavors.

As of October 9, the paper is said to have been cited a grand total of 28,647.

Co-written with Zbyszek Otwinowski of Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas, the paper describes “the processing of X-ray diffraction data collected in oscillation mode,” according to Nature. It’s listed as the 23rd-most cited work in history.

Nature created a ranking of the top 100 most cited works to acknowledge the sources most often used to support key ideas and findings. The journal recruited the help of Thomson Reuters to make the list from its databases covering the social sciences, arts and humanities, conference proceedings and some books that consist of papers published from 1900 to the present day.

The results were surprising, considering that many of the world’s most famous papers didn’t make the cut. A total of 12,119 citations were necessary to rank in the top 100. The vast majority that were recognized by Nature describe experimental methods or software that have become integral in their industries, which explains why the most cited work is a 1951 paper detailing an assessment to determine the amount of protein in a solution

In response to his work’s top performance on Nature‘s list, Minor told the university, “I didn’t expect this number of citations, but I knew what we were doing was very important, yes, and it would have an impact. But, you see, it’s very, very difficult to predict what will be deemed important.”

For example, he said, “We have papers we published two years ago, let’s say, which have 80 citations now and I absolutely didn’t realize this would happen. And there are other papers that I was convinced would have hundreds of citations and, instead, they have 50. … So it’s really very difficult to predict.”

An incredible achievement not many people can boast of, Minor proves that there are some exceptionally talented researchers on UVa Grounds.