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Let’s hear it for the case report

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j124 (Published 12 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j124
  1. Jonathan Roos, subspecialty trainee in oculoplastics and periorbital reconstructive surgery
  1. Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
  1. drjonathanroos{at}gmail.com

The case report provides a little lantern for future patients, says Jonathan Roos, and helps us to slowly move from ignorance to insight

To date, more than 56 million scientific papers have been published. Astonishingly, printing out just the first page of each would create a stack almost 6 km high—Mont Blanc is only 4.88 km high.

A few years ago Nature commissioned a review that found that only one million of these papers had more than 100 citations.1 The ten top cited publications were about new methods—for example, how to measure protein concentration (305 148 citations), how to sequence DNA (213 005), or how to isolate lipids (45 131). More than a third of our mountainous stack of first pages, however, had never been cited, and around another third had been …

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