E. Garfield. The Russians Are Coming! The Top 50 Soviet Papers Most Cited in the 1973-1988
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The Russians Are Coming!
Part 2. The Top 50 Soviet Papers Most Cited in the 1973-1988
Science Citation Index and a Look at 1988 Research Fronts

Number 25. June 18, 1990

In Part 1 of this essay, we identified the most-cited authors from the USSR in the 1973-1988 ISI® Science Indicators database. Their institutional affiliations and membership in the USSR Academy of Sciences were discussed. In Part 2 we identify the 50 most-cited papers, high impact research centers, journals, and research fronts. As expected, physics dominates the list of most-cited papers. The highest impact Soviet papers were overwhelmingly published in Western journals, and in English. Research-front data indicate Soviet research specialization in crystal studies, applied chemistry, and heart research.

Fifty Citation Classics from the USSR: Physics Dominates

Table 1 lists the 50 papers by Soviet scientists that were most cited in the ISI® Science Indicators file. (Most of the papers identified may be regarded as classics, since most exceed a threshold of 200 citations.) This file, which covers 4.5 million cited papers published between 1973 and 1988, is a subset of ISI's entire Science Citation Index® (SCI®) database. The papers identified in the file were cited at least once. Nearly 3,830,000 papers of the 8,000,000 articles indexed in the SCI files during the same 15-year period were never cited.

Table 1: The 50 most-cited Soviet papers from the 1973-1988 ISI® Science Indicators file.
A=total citations. B=bibliographic data.
Academicians are indicated with an asterisk (*); corresponding members with a dagger (+).

839 Shifman M A, Vainshtein A I & Zakharov V I. QCD and resonance physics: theoretical foundations. Nucl. Phys. B 147:385-447, 1979.
730 Shakura N I & +Sunraev R A. Black holes in binary systems: observational appearance. Astron. Astrophys. 24:337-55, 1973.
682 +Polyakov A M. Particle spectrum in quantum field theory. JETP Lett.—Engl. Tr. 20:194-5, 1974.
677 +Polyakov A M. Quantum geometry of bosonic strings. Phys. Lett. B 103:207-10, 1981.
615 Shifman M A, Vainshtein A I & Zakharov V I. QCD and resonance physics: applications. Nucl. Phys. B 147:448-518, 1979.
533 +Chirikov B V. Universal instability of many-dimensional oscillator systems. Phys. Rep.—Rev. Sect. Phys. Lett. 52:263-379, 1979.
503 Linde A D. A new inflationary universe scenario: a possible solution of the horizon, flatness, homogeneity, isotropy and primordial monopole problems. Phys. Lett. B 108:389-93, 1982.
437 +Polyakov A M. Quark confinement and topology of gauge theories. Nucl. Phys. B 120:429-58, 1977.
417 Belavin A A, +Polyakov A M & Zamolodchikov A B. Infinite conformal symmetry in two-dimensional quantum field theory. Nucl. Phys. B 241:333-80, 1984.
399 Altshuler B L, Aronov A G & Lee P A. Interaction effects in disordered Fermi systems in two dimensions. Phys. Rev. Lett. 44:1288-91, 1980.
394 Matveev V A, Muradyan R M & +Tavkhelidze A N. Automodellism in the large-angle elastic scattering and structure of hadrons. Lett. Nuovo Cimento 7:719-23, 1973.
377 +Polyakov A M. Interaction of Goldstone particles in two dimensions: applications to ferromagnets and massive Yang-Mills fields. Phys. Lett.. B 59:79-81, 1975.
369 +Privalov P L. Thermodynamic approach to problem of stabilization of globular protein structure: calorimetric study. J. Mol. Biol. 86:665-84, 1974.
366 Gerr R G, Yanovsky A I & Struchkov Y T. Perfection of the system of crystallographic programs in the laboratory of X-ray structure: analysis of the A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelemental Compounds of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Kristallografiya SSSR 28:1029-30, 1983.
359 Altshuler B L, Khmelnitzkii D, +Larkin A I & Lee P A. Magneto-resistance and Hall effect in a disordered two-dimensional electron gas. Phys. Rev. B—Condensed Matter 22:5142-53, 1980.
337 Varshavsky A J, Bakayev V V & +Georgiev G P. Heterogeneity of chromatin subunits in vitro and location of histone HI. Nucl. Acid. Res. 3:477-92, 1976.
336 +Polyakov A M. Compact gauge fields and infrared catastrophe. Phys. Lett. B 59:82-4, 1975.
331 Linde A D. Phase transitions in gauge theories and cosmology. Rep. Progr. Phys. 42:389-437, 1979.
324 *Ovchinnikov Y A, Abdulaev N G, Feigina M Y, Kiselev A V & Lobanov N A. Structural basis of the functioning of bacteriorhodopsin: overview. FEBS Lett. 100:219-24, 1979.
304 Ivanov V I, Minchenkova L E, Schyolkina A K & Poletayev A I. Different conformations of double-stranded nucleic acid in solution as revealed by circular dichroism. Biopolymers 12:89-110, 1973.
300 +Polyakov A M. Quantum geometry of fermionic strings. Phys. Lett. B 103:211-3, 1981.
296 Novikov V A, +Okun L B, Shifman M A, Vainshtein A I, Voloshin M B & Zakharov V I. Charmonium and gluons. Phys. Rep.—Rev. Sect. Phys. Lett. 41:1-133, 1978.
293 Lvov B V. Electrothermal atomization: way toward absolute methods of atomic-absorption analysis. Spectrochim. Acta Pi. B—At. Spec. 33:153-93, 1978.
292 *Kostyuk P G, +Krishtal O A & Shakhovalov Y A. Separation of sodium and calcium currents in somatic membrane of mollusk neurons. J. Physiol.—London 270:545-68, 1977.
280 Lippmaa E, Magi M, Samoson A, Engelhardt G & Grimmer A-R. Structural studies of silicates by solid-state high-resolution SI29 NMR. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 102:4889-93, 1980.
279 Yagubskii E B, Shchegolev I F, Laukhin V N, Kononovich P A, Karatsovnik M V, Zvarykina A V & Buravov L I. Normal-pressure superconductivity in an organic metal (BEDT-TTF)2l3 [bis(ethylene dithiolo) tetrathiofulvalene triiodide]. JETP Lett.—Engl. Tr. 39:12-6, 1984.
271 *Migdal A B. Pion fields in nuclear matter. Rev. Mod. Phys. 50:107-72, 1978.
269 Shifman M A, Vainshtein A I & Zakharov V I. QCD and resonance physics: RHO-omega mixing. Nucl. Phys. B 147:519-34, 1979.
264 Sun S S, Nesbitt RW & Sharaskin A Y. Geochemical characteristics of mid-ocean ridge basalts. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 44:119-38, 1979.
256 Serbinenko F A. Balloon catheterization and occlusion of major cerebral vessels. J. Neurosurg. 41:125-45, 1974.
252 Shuryak E V. Quantum chromodynamics and the theory of superdense matter. Phys. Rep.—Rev. Sect. Phys. Lett. 61:71-158, 1980.
249 Burstein E A, Vedenkina N S & Ivkova M N. Fluorescence and the location of tryptophan residues in protein Molecules. Photochem. Photobiol. 18:263-79, 1973.
247 Vaskovsky V E, Kostetsky E Y & Vasendin I M. Universal reagent for phospholipid analysis. J. Chromatogr. 114:129-41, 1975.
246 Lubunov V A, Novikov E G, Nozik V Z, Tretyakov E F & Kosik V S. An estimate of the upsilon-E mass from the beta-spectrum of tritium in the valine molecule. Phys. Lett. B 94:266-8, 1980.
246 Rubakov V A. Adler-Bell-Jackiw anomaly and fermion number breaking in the presence of a magnetic monopole. Nucl. Phys. B 203:311-48, 1982.
236 Lim V I. Algorithms for prediction of alpha-helical and beta-structural regions in globular proteins. J. Mol. Biol. 88:873-94, 1974.
235 Shifrrtan M A, Vainshtein A I & Zakharov V I. Asymptotic freedom, light quarks and origin of δt = 1/2 rule in non-leptonic decays of strange particles. Nucl. Phys. B 120:316-24, 1977.
228 Starobinsky A A. Dynamics of phase transition in the new inflationary universe scenario and Generation of perturbations. Phys. Lett. B 117:175-8, 1982.
226 Kukhtarev N V, Markov V B, Odulov S G, Soskin M S & Vinetskii V L. Holographic storage in electrooptic crystals. 1. Steady-state. Ferroelectrics 22:949-60, 1979.
225 Fesenko E E, Kolesnikov S S & Lyubarsky A L. Induction by cyclic GMP of canonic conductance in plasma membrane of retinal rod outer segment. Nature 313:310-3, 1985.
221 Friedenstein A J, Chailakhyan R K, Latsinik N V, Panasyuk A F & Keiliss-Borok I V. Stromal cells responsible for transferring the microenvironment of hematopoietic tissue: cloning in vitro and retransplantation in vivo. Transplantation 17:331-40, 1974.
214 Ativan M F, Hitchin N J, Drinfeld V G & Manin Y I. Construction of instantons. Phys. Lett. A 65:185-7, 1978.
211 Abelev G I. Alpha-fetoprotein as a marker of embryospecific differentiations in normal and tumor tissues. Transplant. Rev. 20:3-37, 1974.
205 Postnov Y V, Orlov S N, Shevchenko A & Adler A M. Altered sodium permeability, calcium-binding and Na-K-ATPase activity in red blood cell membrane in essential hypertension. Pflugers Arch.-Eur. J. Physiol. 371:263-9, 1977.
204 *Kostyuk P G & +Krishtal O A. Effects of calcium and calcium-chelating agents on inward and outward current in membrane of mollusk neurons. J. Physiol.—London 270:569-80, 1977.
201 Bogomolnyi E B. Stability of classical solutions. Sov. J. Nucl. Phys.—Engl. Tr. 24:449-54, 1976.
201 Efros A L & Shklovskii B I. Coulomb gap and low-temperature conductivity of disordered systems. J. Phys. C—Solid State Phys. 8:L49-51, 1975.
201 Kisselev L L. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases: some recent results and achievements. Advan. Enzymol. Relat. Areas Mol. 40:141-238, 1974.
198 +Polyakov A M. String representations and hidden symmetries for gauge fields. Phys. Lett. B 82:247-50,1979.
193 Shashkov A S & Chizhov O S. C13 NMR spectroscopy in chemistry of carbohydrates and related compounds.Bioorg. Khim. 2:437-97, 1976.

Of these 50 papers, 28 concern physics-related topics. These include research on elementary particles, superconductivity, the electrical conductivity of solids, and low-temperature physics. Fifteen papers are in the life sciences and include studies of the structure, conformation, and activity of protein molecules, chromatin, bacteriorhodopsin, and aminoacyl-tRNA. Other life-sciences papers examine membrane transmission in red blood cells and electrical currents in mollusk neurons. Five chemistry papers are listed—on atomic absorption analysis and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance for the study of silicate structures and carbohydrate compounds. The remaining two papers are devoted to earth and space sciences.

In this small sample of high impact Soviet articles, not surprisingly physics predominates as it did in Part 1, where we examined the most-cited Soviet researchers in 1973-1988.1 This is somewhat atypical because the life sciences tend to dominate undifferentiated lists of high impact publications and researchers ranked by total citations alone. The concentration in physics is borne out in larger samples of Soviet publications; for example, of the 892 Soviet papers cited 50 or more times in the 1973-1988 ISI Science Indicators database, 43 percent are in physics, 32 percent are in the biological sciences, and 19 percent are in chemistry. This is also shown in an even larger study of nearly 140,000 papers from ISI's databases from 1981 through 1985 in a world scientometric study by A. Schubert and W. Glänzel, Information Science and Scientometrics Research Unit, Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, and Tibor Braun, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, L. Eötvös University, Budapest. 2 Pie graphs of the subject distribution of Soviet papers in both studies are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Distribution of main areas of Soviet research.
Data in graph A are derived from 892 highly cited Soviet papers from ISI®'s Science Indicators file, 1973-1988.
Data in graph B are from Schubert A, Glanzei W & Braun T. Scientometric datafiles. A comprehensive set of indicators on 2549 journals and 96 countries in all major science fields and subfields 1981-1985.
Scienlometrics 16:3-478, 1989.

Besides a breakdown by subject area of papers from various countries, the Schubert et al. study also examined their impact, or the average number of citations per paper in specific fields. In terms of publication output, the USSR ranks second to the US in both the physical sciences and chemistry. But the USSR ranks sixth in terms of impact of its physical-sciences publications after the US, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the UK, Japan, and France. In chemistry, the USSR ranks seventh in impact after the US, Japan, the FRG, the UK, France, and Canada. The USSR also ranks 7th in the world in terms of life-sciences publications, and their impact puts the USSR in 16th position—trailing the US, the UK, the FRG, Japan, Canada, France, Australia, Sweden, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, and Norway.2

Top 10 Papers: Particle Physics, Astronomy /Astrophysics

All of the 10 most-cited papers are in physics or astrophysics. Six deal with particle physics and, in particular, the topic of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). This field of research seeks to explain why quarks (regarded as the fundamental constituents of matter) combine to form the observed patterns of elementary particles, such as the proton and meson. The strong interactions between quarks are fundamental as to how atomic nuclei bind together. The QCD theory is particularly attractive to researchers because the mathematics involved is nearly identical to that employed in quantum electrodynamics (QED) and to the unifed theory of weak and electromagnetic interactions. Particle physicists hope that the mathematical similarities between these theories may be an indication that a "unified field theory'' may be close to being realized. Subfields of interest in QCD include gauge theories, Yang-Mills fields, "color," and asymptotic freedom.3

Three of the QCD papers in Table 1—the most-cited "QCD and resonance physics: theoretical foundations," the fifth most-cited "QCD and resonance physics: applications" and "QCD and resonance physics: RHO-omega mixing"—are authored by a trio of scientists from the Theoretical and Experimental Physics Institute, Moscow: M.A. Shifman, A.I. Vainshtein, and V.I. Zakharov. All three physicists rank in the four most-cited Soviet scientists for the 1973-1988 period.

Four QCD papers are authored by academy corresponding member Aleksander M. Polyakov, then at the Chemical Physics Institute, Moscow, and now at the L.D. Landau Theoretical Physics Institute, Moscow. In all, Polyakov has 8 papers among the 50 most-cited papers in Table 1. Polyakov is followed in productivity by Shifman, Vainshtein, and Zakharov, with five; and by mathematician B.L. Altshuler, B.P. Konstantinov Nuclear Physics Institute, Leningrad; physicist A.D. Linde, P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute, Moscow; and P.G.Kostyuk and O.A. Krishtal, A. A Bogomolets Physiology Institute, Kiev, each with two.

The second-ranked paper, "Black holes in binary systems: observational appearance," is by N.I. Shakura, Shternberg Astronomy Institute, Moscow, and corresponding member Rashid A. Sunyaev, then at the Institute of Applied Mathematics, Moscow, and now at the Space Research Institute, Moscow. Black holes are believed to be the aftermath of collapsed stars, where the gravitational forces are so great that even light itself cannot escape. The paper draws attention to the notion that, in binary star systems, the outflow of matter from a visible star to its collapsed companion should lead to an appreciable observational effect and would aid in identifying a black hole.

Another astrophysics paper, ranked seventh in Table 1, authored by Linde, is entitled "A new inflationary universe scenario: a possible solution of the horizon, flatness, homogeneity, isotropy and primordial monopole problems." Cosmologists debate whether the universe periodically expands and contracts, or expands on forever. Linde's paper puts forward a new scenario for a continually expanding universe, which is free of the shortcomings of the previous version of the theory and provides possible solutions to some of the inherent problems the theory previously had. The paper also provides a possible answer to the magnetic monopole problem in the early universe, which is a central aspect to grand unified theories. By the way, Linde, Shakura, and Sunyaev all appeared in Part l's listing of most-cited Soviet scientists.

The sixth most-cited paper, "Universal instability of many-dimensional oscillator systems," is by B.V. Chirikov, Novosibirsk Nuclear Physics Institute. The article examines the mechanism for a common instability in oscillating systems—the Arnold diffusion—via an experiment with a swinging pendulum that undergoes periodic perturbations. The instability results in a random motion of the system as if the system itself were influenced by a random perturbation, even though the pendulum's motion is governed by purely dynamic equations.

The 10th most-cited paper, "Interaction effects in disordered Fermi systems in two dimensions," is by Altshuler and A.G. Aronov, also of the B.P. Konstantinov Nuclear Physics Institute, and the American P.A. Lee, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey. The article discusses interaction effects in disordered Fermi systems. Of interest to physicists is the behavior and voltage strength of electrical currents that are generated when metal foil and semiconductor surfaces are influenced by magnetic fields. The paper quantizes the characteristics of a Fermi system—electronic density of states, specific heat, and electrical conductivity.

High Impact Research Centers

Table 2 identifies 25 institutions that are among those listed for the 50 most-cited papers from the USSR. The USSR Academy of Sciences is represented by 18 institutes and accounts for 36 papers (72 percent of the total). A nonacademy research institution, the Theoretical and Experimental Physics Institute, appears with six papers. Three papers listed authors from two institutes of the Ukranian Union Republic Academy, while the Estonian Union Republic Academy contributed one paper. Three institutes of die Academy of Medical Sciences account for 4 papers. Nearly all of the institutions in Table 2 are in the Moscow-Leningrad area.

Table 2: Soviet institutions associated with the authors of the 50 most-cited papers
published from 1973 to 1988 from ISI® 's Science Indicators file

Institution Number of Papers
B.P. Konstantinov Nuclear Physics Institute 2
A.F. Ioffe Physical Technical Institute 1
M.I. Kalinin Polytechnic Institute 1
L.D. Landau Theoretical Physics Institute 11
Molecular Biology Institute 3
P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute 2
Nuclear Research Institute 2
Institute of Chemical Physics 1
A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelemental Compounds 1
M.M. Shemyakin Bioorganic Chemistry Institute 1
Shternberg Astronomy Institute 1
N.D. Zelinskii Organic Chemistry Institute 1
V.A. Steklov Mathematics Institute 1
V.I. Vernadskii Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry Institute 1
Nuclear Physics Institute 2
Biological Physics Institute 2
Protein Research Institute 2
Marine Biology Institute 1
Cybernetics Institute 1
A.A. Bogomolets Physiology Institute 2
Physics Institute 1
Central Research Laboratory 1
Ministry of Public Health N.N. Burdenko Neurosurgery Institute 1
N.F. Gamaleya Epidemiological and Microbiological Institute 2
Theoretical and Experimental Physics Institute 6

A study of the 10 highest impact Russian research centers appeared recently in The Scientist® ,4 and the data are reprinted here in Table 3. The list is based on institutional affiliations from all 180,000 cited Soviet publications in the 1973-1988 ISI Science Indicators file. Given the data presented in this essay, it is not surprising that institutes for physics and nuclear research dominate. The highest impact Soviet research institute on The Scientist list—the L.D. Landau Theoretical Physics Institute (15.86)—is also first in terms of the number of articles in this study. Five other institutes appear on both lists: the M.M. Shemyakin Bioorganic Chemistry Institute, Moscow; the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute; the N.D. Zelinskii Organic Chemistry Institute, Moscow; the Theoretical and Experimental Physics Institute; and the A.F. Ioffe Physical Technical Institute, Leningrad.

Table 3: High impact Soviet institutions.
Data are from ISI® 's Science Indicators file, 1973-1988.
Institution citation impact is calculated by dividing number of citations to the institute's papers, SCI® 1973-1988,
by the total number of the institute's cited papers.
All institutes are in Moscow unless otherwise noted.

Rank Institute Number of
Number of
1 L.D. Landau
Theoretical Physics
1,254 19,896 15.86
2 Theoretical and
Physics Institute
1,001 13,324 13.31
3 M.M. Shemyakin
Chemistry Institute
1,203 10,490 8.71
4 P.N. Lebedev
Physics Institute
4,615 32,742 7.09
5 I.V. Kurchatov
Institute of Atomic
1,812 11,246 6.20
6 N.D. Zelinskii
Organic Chemistry
1,408 8,647 6.14
7 Joint Institute for
Nuclear Research
2,729 16,702 6.12
8 A.F. Ioffe
Physical Technical
5,539 28,153 5.08
9 M.V. Lomonosov
State University
16,952 82,080 4.84
10 L.Y. Karpov
Research Institute
2,165 9,964 4.60

Soviet Scientific Publications: Coming out of the Russian-Language Cold

Table 4 lists 32 journals that published the 50 most-cited USSR papers. Only two are Soviet journals. Twelve are from the US, eight each are from the UK and The Netherlands, and one each from Italy and Denmark. Forty-eight of the 50 most-cited USSR articles are in English.

Table 4: Journals publishing most-cited papers by the Soviet researchers from Table 1.
A = title of journal.
B = number of highly cited papers from Table 1 published in the journal.
C = 1988 impact factor.

Phys. Lett. B 8 3.51
Nucl. Phys. B 7 6.11
Phys. Rep—Rev. Sect. Phys. Lett. 3 8.23
JETP Lett.-Engl. Tr. 2 1.50
J. Mol. Biol. 2 6.55
J. Physiol—London 2 3.90
Advan. Enzymol. Relat. Areas Mol. 1 8.77
Astron. Astrophys. 1 1.96
Bioorg. Khim. 1 1.05
Biopolymers 1 2.11
Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 1 2.78
FEBS Lett. 1 3.56
Ferroelectrics 1 1.62
J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 1 4.56
J. Chromatogr. 1 1.41
J. Neurosurg. 1 2.16
J. Phys. C—Solid State Phys. 1 1.97
Kristallografiya SSSR 1 0.46
Lett. Nuovo Cimento 1 -
Nature 1 15.75
Nucl. Acid. Res. 1 -
Pflügers Arch—Eur. J. Physiol. 1 3.15
Photochem. Photobiol. 1 2.13
Phys. Lett. A 1 1.36
Phys. Rev. B—Condensed Matter 1 1.36
Phys. Rev. Lett. 1 8.21
Rep. Progr. Phys. 1 3.66
Rev. Mod. Phys. 1 15.12
Sov. J. Nucl. Phys.—Engl. Tr. 1 0.59
Spectrochim. Acta Pt. B—At. Spec. 1 3.46
Transplantation 1 2.98
Transplant. Rev. (now Immunol. Rev.) 1 9.67

In fact, of the 239 journals that published Soviet research in the 1973-1988ISI Science Indicators database, Russian-language journals account for only 18 percent of the papers. The remaining 82 percent appear in Western publications and/or in English translation. During her stay at ISI, visiting information scientist Valentina A. Markusova, chief, Information Department, Far-East Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences Ail-Union Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Moscow, posited two explanations for this. First, publishing one's paper in English immediately brings the work a broad international audience. Also, the time lag between submitting and publishing a paper in the West is much shorter than in the USSR, where it could typically take up to two-and-a-half years for a paper to appear after submission. In the US the lag generally was from 8 to 18 months 10 years ago.5 Presumably this is shorter today due to technological improvements in publishing.

Fourteen physics journals in Table 4 account for 30 of the papers. Twelve life-sciences journals are listed, including such diverse areas as molecular biology, biopolymers, physiology, neurosurgery, and immunology. But only one is a Soviet life-sciences journal, Bioorganicheskaya Khimiya.

Perhaps in recognition of the USSR's lag in domestic publication of high impact life-sciences research, a new monthly, English-language journal of Soviet research, entitled Biomedical Science, was launched. It is a joint venture between the USSR Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society of Chemistry, and the UK scientific publisher Pion. 6

Soviet Research-Front Data—Emphasis on Crystal Studies, Applied Chemistry, and Heart Research

In contrast to the 15 years of data used above, Table 5 lists 59 1988 SCI and Social Sciences Citation Index® research fronts in which Soviet research represents at least 55 percent of all current citing papers. These fronts are only a fraction of the 8,177 in ISI's 1988 research-front database. A research front (specialty) is formed by the connections made by scientists in their referencing patterns. When this method, called co-citation clustering, is applied, the scientific literature orders itself into bibliographically distinct and intellectually coherent units. Articles that are frequently cited together by current papers constitute the "core" of die specialty. The citing articles comprise the research front, which is named from phrases co-occurring in these citing titles.

Table 5: The 1988 SCI® / SSCI® research fronts in which Soviet scientists predominate.
A=research-front number. B=research-frontname.
C=percent of 1988 citing papers published by Soviet researchers.
D=number of citing papers. E=number of core papers.

88-0316 Polarization of waves and gyrotropic cubic photorefractive crystals 100.0 31 3
88-1517 Quasi-classical trajectory coherent states of relativistic spinless particle and periodic magnetic field 100.0 33 4
88-2208 Low-frequency waves, magnetized plasma, and coherent anomalous parametric reflection 100.0 28 3
88-2249 Rare earth ortho ferrites, spin reorientation, and metamagnetic phase transitions 100.0 30 2
88-2360 Electron paramagnetic-res spectra, copper porphyrins, and kinetic stability of tetraphenyl porphine complexes 100.0 30 3
88-2S70 Interhemispheric asymmetry and visual recognition in rats 100.0 22 3
88-2643 Magnetically mixed semiconductors, exchange interaction, and band states 100.0 27 2
88-2851 Navier-Stokes equations and nonlinear Schrodinger model 100.0 22 3
88-2955 Cadmium acetate complexes in aqueous solutions and Nitrilotrimethylenephosphonic acid 100.0 30 4
88-3877 Molecular structure of para-tolyldimethylphosphine sulfide P-CH3C6H4P(S) (CH3)2 100.0 15 2
88-4985 Water transport, electrolyte aqueous solutions, and acetyl cellulose membranes 100.0 26 3
88-5102 Pyridine salts, chemi-luminescent oxidation, and extraction system tin (II)-aqueous solution 100.0 26 3
88-5765 Magnetic semiconductors and crystal structure of germanide Sc3Ni11Ge4 100.0 19 2
88-6021 Malignant arterial hypertension 100.0 33 3
88-6726 Fine grain magnesium alloy during hot deformation and low-temperature superplasticity of metallic materials 100.0 19 2
88-6865 Disordered alloys, short range order, and indirect interaction 100.0 31 3
88-6936 Intensity fluctuations, wave scattering, turbulent atmosphere, and deep-sea drilling data 100.0 49 3
88-6977 Drosophila melanogaster population and level of genetic variability 100.0 15 2
88-6985 Geochemical features and rare metal granites of Ukraine shield 100.0 28 4
88-7022 Orbital ordering crystals and transitional metals pressure 100.0 17 2
88-7030 Polyethylene glycol glycerol water system and copolymers of acrylamide 100.0 26 4
88-7179 Stochastic dynamics, quantum chaos, and nonlinear charge density waves 100.0 29 2
88-7441 Chronic heart failure and postinfarction cardiosclerosis 100.0 26 3
88-7724 Photorefractive crystals, light modulators, and dynamic self-diffraction 100.0 36 2
88-7772 Pharmacological activity and anti-inflammatory action of Voltaren 100.0 16 2
88-7971 Zinc extraction, thiourea cadmium complexes in aqueous solutions, and La2Ti207 (perovskitelike structure) 100.0 18 2
88-7973 Acoustically gyrotropic crystals and anisotropic collinear diffraction 100.0 31 3
88-7528 Amorphous films, electron transitions, negative magnetoresistance, and Hopping conduction 98.3 57 2
88-6568 Inverse problem for a parabolic equation and optimization of regularization methods 98.2 67 7
88-1337 Relaxational transitions and filled poly-flow birefringence 97.8 196 26
88-6580 Dipole interaction, easy plane anisotropy antiferromagnets, and paired spin green function for cubic ferromagnets 97.0 34 3
88-0576 Ferroelectric phase transitions in crystals, soft mode and heat capacity oscillations 96.8 27 5
88-7011 Crystal structure of CaNiAl9 and copper(I) complexes in the butine-2-diol-l,4-CuX-KbR system 96.6 37 2
88-2368 Lipid bilayer, source of phospholipids, and endoplasmic reticulum membranes 96.5 23 2
88-2510 Anisotropic weight spaces and operator approximation of Fourier functions 96.0 37 4
88-0739 Genetic differentiation, salmonid fish, and stabilized selection 95.8 21 3
88-2777 Nematic liquid crystals, flexoelectric polarization, and dielectric mode of electrodynamic instability 95.8 22 2
88-2871 Molecular structure of calcium borohydride complex 95.6 19 2
88-1646 Bound surface waves, acoustic beams, and two-dimensional defect 95.4 21 3
88-8006 Fractal cluster light-scattering properties and percolation transitions in WOj electrochromium films 95.0 19 3
88-0418 Optical solitons, nonlinear Schrodinger equation, and fiber light guides 93.7 36 4
88-7142 Thinking motivation and psychological help 90.9 27 2
88-5707 Tautomerism of azine derivatives and P-IH-N bond spallation 90.6 30 5
88-1140 Free-radical lipid peroxidation of the ischemic myocardium and microsomal oxidation 90.0 62 4
88-7425 Superoxide dismutase activity, rat myocardium, and antioxidant system 89.6 26 2
88-6871 Low flying quadrupole vibrations of superfluid nuclei and cross section for inverse beta decay 89.2 26 4
88-0266 Optica] transitions in noncollinear antiferrodielectrics and dipole interaction 76.0 22 3
88-6960 Kolmogorov turbulence, local wind velocity spectra, and spatial variability 75.8 29 3
88-1008 Vertical Bloch line, domain wall dynamics, and uniaxially anisotropic rare earth ferrite garnet films 68.9 98 13
88-1011 Optical bistable ring cavity, instabilities in liquid crystals, heat bi-stability, and stationary spatial structures 68.0 220 29
88-5783 Thermodynamic systems, silicon dioxide, and methane oxidation 67.6 32 2
88-1579 Multiphoton excitation of SF, molecules and COj laser radiation 64.5 21 2
88-5132 Monomolecular heterolysis, aromatic solvents, industrial organohalide compounds, and dehydrobromation of 7-alpha-bromocholesterol benzoate 64.1 92 11
88-5275 Heart rhythm disorders in acute myocardial infarction 62.1 41 4
88-0021 Multiphonon recombination via deep impurity centers and electron hole liquid in germanium 61.3 41 4
88-0417 Surface acoustic waves, laser irradiation, and growth dynamics of periodic structures 57.1 31 3
88-0819 Semilinear parabolic equations and viscous barotropic gas one-dimensional motion 56.8 35 4
88-4324 Plastic flow at high pressure, charged dislocations, and KC1 crystals 55.2 31 5
88-6868 Interaction of influenza virus proteins and artificial phospholipid Membranes 55.0 23 3


Soviet papers make up 4 percent of all the papers in ISI's research-front database for 1988. In the specialties in Table 5, at least 55 percent of all citing papers are from the USSR and can therefore be considered areas in which Soviet scientists are particularly active.

Topics in physics (20 research fronts) and materials science (13) dominate Table 5.

The major subjects relating to these research specialties are 11 research fronts on the magnetic, electric, and optical properties of different classes of crystals (#88-0316, #88-5765, #88-7022, #88-7724, #88-7973, #88-0576, #88-7011, #88-2777, #88-1011, #88-0021, and #88-4324).

There are 11 research fronts associated with applied chemistry, where in 7 fronts the major activity appears to be on molecular structures and the function of various materials in solution, with special emphasis on cadmium complexes (#88-2955, #88-3877, #88-5102, #88-7030, #88-7971, #88-2871, and #88-5783).

The life-sciences and medical specialties are represented in 11 research fronts, in 4 of which the emphasis is on cardiovascular disease (#88-6021, #88-7441, #88-1140, and #88-5275).

Other scientific fields represented are geology (#88-6985, "Geochemical features and rare metal granites of Ukraine shield"); psychology (#88-7142, "Thinking motivation and psychological help"); and genetics research on fruit flies (#88-6977, "Drosophila melanogaster population and level of genetic variability") and trout (#88-0739, "Genetic differentiation, salmonid fish and stabilized selection").

A research front that is identified here as largely Soviet may well be represented in another and separate specialty that amounts to the Western version of research on the same topic. It should be noted that, in 45 of the fronts, all of the core papers are by USSR authors. Only three research fronts have a 50 percent or less Soviet representation in the core—#88-7425, "Superoxide dismutase activity, rat myocardium, and antioxidant system" (50 percent); #88-1579, "Multiphoton excitation of SF6 molecules and CO2 laser radiation" (50 percent); and #88-1008, "Vertical Bloch line, domain wall dynamics, and uniaxially anisotropic rare earth ferrite garnet films" (46 percent). Only one research front—#88-6871, "Low flying quadrupole vibrations of superfluid nuclei and cross section for inverse beta decay"—has no Soviet-authored core papers.

Personal Commentaries on Soviet Citation Classics

To date 18 Soviet scientists have provided us with personal commentaries on their highly cited works. The publications discussed in the Citation Classic® commentaries are, for the most part, of an older vintage than those identified in this study, so most of the Citation Classic authors do not appear in the top Soviet authors listing discussed in Part 1. The exceptions are the following academicians: physicist Vitalii I. Goldanskii, Chemical Physics Institute,7,8 and molecular biologist Aleksander S. Spirin, Institute of Protein Research, Pushchino-on-Oka. 9

We do not have the space here to highlight specific commentaries, but one can say that of the 18 Soviets who have written Citation Classic commentaries, 8 are academy members. Besides the aforementioned Goldanskii and Spirin, these include the following academicians: theoretical physicist Alexei A. Abrikosov, L.D. Landau Theoretical Physics Institute; 10 oceanographer Leonid M. Brekhovskikh, Institute of Oceanology, Moscow; 11 and molecular biologist Georgi P. Georgiev, V.A. Engelhardt Molecular Biology Institute, Moscow. 12 Corresponding members include immunobiologist Gary I. Abelev, Laboratory of Immunochemistry, Cancer Research Center, Moscow, 13 and physical chemist Boris V. Derjaguin, Department of Surface Phenomena, Physical Chemistry Institute, Moscow. 14 Speaking of Abelev, his most-cited paper in Table 1 is on the same topic as his Citation Classic—alpha-fetoprotein and its relationship to tumors.

While we are on the subject of Citation Classics, I encourage Soviet scientists to write us to nominate authors of highly cited papers (please include up-to-date addresses). If appropriate, we will contact authors directly and invite their commentaries.

Will Perestroika and Glasnost Improve Soviet Science?

This survey of Soviet science has identified the highest impact people, institutes, publications, and research specialties in the USSR. A consistent finding is that physics is "king" of Soviet science. In comparison, life-sciences research occupies a secondary position in terms of the number of publications and impact. A probable reason for this is the negative influence of academician Trofim D. Lysenko (1898-1976), who was supported by Stalin and Krushchev (Lysenko's pseudoscience held sway from the late 1930s until as late as the 1960s). As a result the agricultural and life sciences in the USSR suffered.

According to Soviet science historian Zhores A. Medvedev, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK, even though the influence of "Lysenkoism" has dissipated, the long-term effects of politicization are still with Soviet science:

The improper teaching of biology in universities and in high schools had been standard for nearly 30 years. Today, this has changed. However, it is less Lysenkoism and more the political system under which Soviet science operates which is now the major factor in the lagging of their life-science research behind the West. For example, Soviet microbiology and genetics research has conducted world-quality work, but bureaucratic structures that are in place for acquiring experimental equipment, money, and capable university graduates trained in modern techniques are the hindrances.15

Secrecy is another problem that has plagued Soviet science and prevents Soviet scientists from reaping the benefits of scientific and technological advances. In a recent interview, academician Vsevolod Avduyevskiy, chairman, Soviet National Commission for the Promotion of Conversation, stated that pervasive secrecy has prevented people working in one section of industry from learning about the results of the research in another, thus slowing the incorporation of innovative technologies. Military-derived technology that could benefit the civilian production sector is not transferred because of security concerns. These technologies include the finishing of parts, welding, reinforcement of surfaces, the growing of crystals, as well as the use of flexible, automated production lines. 16

This situation has lowered morale among Soviet scientists. Academician Roald Z.

Sagdeev, former director, Space Research Institute, points out that, before perestroika, researchers in the military sector were pampered while scientists in civil research were ill-equipped and badly paid, with few chances for promotion or international recognition. But restructuring is making things worse, according to Sagdeev. Instead of bringing all scientists up to the military standard, Sagdeev asserts, all scientists are instead being lowered to the civilian standard. 17

In an effort to capture the societal and economic benefits of scientific research, Soviet research institutes are now being encouraged to build bridges to industry. One example is the setting up of a joint company by the American think tank/consulting firm Arthur D. Little, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the USSR Academy of Sciences. The joint company will scout out basic Soviet technologies, have Western companies develop them, and grant product licenses to companies that will produce the end products. The most promising areas are in materials science and lasers. 18

Another new step in Soviet science reform involves funding allocations. Instead of being channeled through the academy institutes, much of the funding is now awarded directly to projects by committees representing science and industry. Last year 6,200 projects competed for funding, and some 3,800 succeeded. According to Sagdeev, however, a large part of the money is still spent on unprofitable ventures. 17

This two-part essay provides a citationist overview of Soviet science and has commented only on the highest impact Soviet researchers and their papers. We have also briefly noted certain factors that may have had a hand in deterring Soviet science from reaching its fullest potential. It's true that Soviet science is beset with many problems, but Gorbachev's reform efforts give both Soviet and Western scientists hope. Perhaps the most positive hope for the immediate future is the increased number of travel exchanges between Soviet and other scientists and the proliferation of electronic media such as the fax machine and personal computers.

We are fully aware that a large volume of Soviet journals and other low-impact foreign journals are not included in the ISI databases. But our coverage of these countries gives us a reasonable perspective on their best unclassified research. As the language barrier goes down, there will be better representation in the future.


My thanks to C.J. Fiscus and Peter Pesavento for their help in the preparation of this essay.

©1990 ISI


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  2. Schubert A, Glanzel W & Braun T. Scientometric datafiles. A comprehensive set of indicators on 2649 journals and 96 countries in all major science fields and subfields 1981-1985. Scientometrics 16:3-478, 1989.
  3. Quantum chromodynamics. McGraw-Hill encyclopedia of science & technology. New York: McGraw Hill, 1987. Vol. 14. p. 547-52.
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  8. ------------ Citation Classic. Commentary on Atomic Energy Rev. 6:3-148, 1968. Current Contents/Engineering, Technology & Applied Sciences 17(30):12, 28 July 1986 and CC/Physical. Chemical & Earth Sciences 26(30): 12, 28 July 1986.
  9. Spirin A S. Citation Classic. Commentary on Biokhimiya (USSR) 23:656-62, 1958. Current Contents/Life Sciences 29(21):21, 26 May 1986.
  10. Abrikosov A A. Citation Classic. Commentary on Sov. Phys. JETP 5:1174-82, 1957. Current Contents/Engineering, Technology & Applied Sciences 16(48): 18, 2 December 1985 and CC/Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences 25(48): 18, 2 December 1985.
  11. Brekhovskikh L M. Citation Classic. Commentary on Waves in layered media. New York. Academic Press, 1960. 561 p. (Thackray A, comp.) Contemporary classics in physical, chemical, and earth sciences. Philadelphia: ISI Press, 1986. p. 154.
  12. Georgiev G P. Citation Classic. Commentary on Nature 200:1291-4, 1963. Current Contents/Life Sciences 29(51-52):25, 22-29 December 1986.
  13. Abelev G I. Citation Classic. Commentary on Advan. Cancer Res. 14:295-358, 1971. Current Contents/Life Sciences 30(26): 18, 29 June 1987.
  14. Derjaguin B V. Citation Classic. Commentary on Acta Physicochim. URSS 14:633-62, 1941. Current Contents/Engineering, Technology & Applied Sciences 18(32):20, 10 August 1987 and CC/Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences 27(32):20, 10 August 1987.
  15. Medvedev Z A. Personal communication. 20 April 1990.
  16. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Secrecy hampers technology transfer. Daily Report. Soviet Union. FBIS-SOV-90-035. 21 February 1990. p. 116.
  17. Russian science. Rockets into ploughshares. Economist—London 314(7647):132, 24 March 1990.
  18. Selling Russian science. Laser-for-burger swaps. Economist—London 314(7644):98-100, 3 March 1990.


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