The BMC-series 10 most highly accessed articles of all time

As we continue our 15th birthday celebrations, we take a look back at the ten articles published in our first 15 years that have been accessed the most by our readers.

  1. A new growth chart for preterm babies: Babson and Benda’s chart updated with recent data and a new format (> 281,000 accesses)

As other articles in this list demonstrate, one of the best ways for a manuscript to become popular is by providing a useful resource in the daily lives of scientists and clinicians. This work by Tanis Fenton of the University of Calgary, published in BMC Pediatrics in 2003, certainly fits that description.

Updating the Babson and Benda “fetal-infant growth graph”, widely used since the seventies to track growth rates of preterm infants, Fenton’s work updated the data behind the graphs and enabled their use with the fetus as young as 22 weeks.

  1. QMachine: commodity supercomputing in web browsers (> 256,000 accesses)

That this article, published in BMC Bioinformatics only in June of last year, is already so popular demonstrates how much demand there was for software like this allowing complex bioinformatics tasks to be performed without the need for expensive specialist hardware. Sean Wilkinson and Jonas Almeida’s open source, freely available software is clearly having quite the impact on the bioinformatics field.

  1. Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education (> 216,000 accesses)

A key trend over the last 15 years has been the rise of wikis, blogs, podcasts and other web-based tools for clinical teaching and collaboration. No wonder then that this 2006 BMC Medical Education article, discussing how to effectively deploy these tools, has attracted so much interest.

  1. Genome-wide identification of mitogen-activated protein kinase gene family in Gossypium raimondii and the function of their corresponding orthologs in tetraploid cultivated cotton (> 203,000 accesses)

Not even a year old (having been published in BMC Plant Biology in December 2014), this is already one of our most downloaded articles. Why? Because of the possibility this work raises of significant improvements in stress tolerance for future plant-breeding programs, something clearly exciting many plant biotechnologists.

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades play a crucial role in plant growth and development as well as their response to external stresses. By providing the first comprehensive identification, expression patterns and response to various stressors of MAPKs in the cotton plant, the work of Xueying Zhang and colleagues at the Nanjing Agricultural University lays the foundation for the next generation of crop improvements.

  1. Relationship between commuting and health outcomes in a cross-sectional population survey in southern Sweden (> 179,000 accesses)

Many of us face substantial daily commutes to work, a problem which has perhaps only worsened over the last 15 years. Unsurprisingly then, this 2011 BMC Public Health article on potential negative health effects of commuting received plenty of attention. Sleep disturbance, stress, exhaustion and sickness absence from work were all linked to longer daily commutes.

  1. The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass (> 169,000 accesses)

“Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth” was the provocative conclusion of this 2012 BMC Public Health study. Sarah Catherine Walpole and colleagues made the argument that when estimating human impact on the planet we should consider not just how many individuals there are; in an era of increasing obesity, we should also consider how big they are.

  1. Porn video shows, local brew, and transactional sex: HIV risk among youth in Kisumu, Kenya (> 168,000 accesses)

While significant advances have been made in tackling the HIV epidemic over the last 15 years, the importance of educating young-people in safe-sex practices has not diminished. As this 2011 BMC Public Health study demonstrated, this is far from an easy task. Through in-depth interviews with 150 Kenyan adolescents the work found stark evidence that forced sex, gang rape and multiple concurrent relationships often characterised sexual encounters.

  1. Relationship between Organizational Culture, Leadership Behavior and Job Satisfaction (>168,000 accesses)

The past 15 years has seen an increasing emphasis on the importance of organisational culture in the delivery of quality health-care. Yafang Tsai, in this 2011 BMC Health Services Research paper, found that organisational culture and leadership behaviour had a significant impact on the job satisfaction of hospital nurses in Taiwan.

  1. A qualitative study of nursing student experiences of clinical practice (> 166,000 accesses)

This 2005 Iranian study, published in BMC Nursing, has perhaps attracted so much attention because of its strong findings that nursing students felt their clinical training was inadequate. Students interviewed reported feeling considerable anxiety over what they perceived as their incompetence for many parts of the job.

As one nurse was quoted as saying: I remember one of the patients asked me what my diagnosis is. I said ‘I do not know’, she said ‘you do not know? How can you look after me if you do not know what my diagnosis is?’”

  1. A tale of three next generation sequencing platforms: comparison of Ion Torrent, Pacific Biosciences and Illumina MiSeq sequencers (> 159,000 accesses)

When the BMC-series launched in July 2000 the first working draft of the human genome had just been announced. Fifteen years on, we live in the era of the $1000 genome. As affordable genome sequencing has spread, the question of which sequencers to use has become ever more pressing for laboratories around the world. Understandably then, this 2012 BMC Genomics paper has been an invaluable resource for many in the field.

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