A sleeping beauty is a paper that slumbers for an extended period of time, attracting few if any citations, until suddenly it awakens and begins to attract many citations. Such a paper is Peter Minkowski’s Physics Letters B article that studied the possibility of lepton family number violation. From its appearance in 1977 until 2003, 26 years later, it received only 17 citations, then it woke in 2004 garnering 46 citations, followed by over 100 in 2005 and amazingly has enjoyed increasing numbers of citations in virtually every year since.

Citation history for INSPIRE record 4994: mu --> e gamma at a Rate of One Out of 1-Billion Muon Decays?

Further information on the citations of Minkowski’s paper can be found at its INSPIRE citation page.

Who knows how many other papers in INSPIRE are similarly biding their time?

Planning to submit a paper to arXiv? Now you can make sure that your references will show up correctly on INSPIRE before you submit your paper to arXiv or a journal. With our reference extraction tool, you can simulate the reference extraction on INSPIRE by uploading a PDF file, giving us the URL to fetch it or just pasting a list of reference in the text box. As a result you get the reference list as it would appear on INSPIRE and you can check and modify the references we would not match correctly to other papers in INSPIRE. Matching to records on INSPIRE works best when you cite:

  • journal article references such as Nucl.Phys. B869 (2013) 598-607;
  • arXiv identifiers, e.g. arXiv:1301.0223 [hep-th];
  • report numbers such as LPT-ENS-12-47; as well as
  • DOIs, e.g. 10.1142/S0217751X13500334.

Creating your reference list with the help of our LaTeX and BibTeX output formats increases the likelihood that references are extracted and linked correctly. If this fails, we most likely don’t have the paper you’re citing in our database. You might then want to suggest us to add it to INSPIRE if the paper is of immediate relevance to HEP.

The tool also works for papers you have already submitted to arXiv if you just provide us with the arXiv identifier. We are constantly working on improving refextract and it should also recognise theses or selected conference series in the future.

If you have more suggestions for useful tools we could provide, don’t hesitate to let us know at feedback@inspirehep.net.

INSPIRE now highlights top cited papers in result lists. Papers that are cited more than 50 times are considered as top cited. They currently make up about 8% of the INSPIRE database. 0,06% of the citeable papers in INSPIRE are even cited more than 1000 times; if you’re interested in more statistics, check out our citation summary for the whole INSPIRE database. The top cited papers are now marked with a little flag next to the “cited by” link in the result list. Depending on how often the paper is cited, the flag will be green (50+), blue (100+) orange (250+), red (500+) or purple (1000+).

Just search “find topcite 50+ and you will see all the topcited papers on INSPIRE. You may also combine a top cite search with any other usual search parameter. e.g. “find t top quark and topcite 500+”.

We are pleased to present the first edition of the annual list of “topcited” papers in INSPIRE. It is more than a single list. We provide, for each year,  both a list of the topcited papers of the year and an all-time topcited list showing the classic papers of our field.

In order to provide meaningful coverage of each subfield of interest to the INSPIRE community, each arXiv category has its own  section. To take hep-ph as an example, one list shows the hep-ph papers which received the most citations  that year,  with citations coming from all papers in the database (e.g., eprints, journal articles, conference proceedings, theses) and the other shows the papers most often cited by hep-ph papers that year; this approach allows one to see  the subfield’s impact on the entire HEP field as well as the trending topics within that subfield.  We do this for all hep* archives as well as the astro-ph, gr-qc,  math (encompassing math-ph and math.*) and nucl* archives. It is important to note, however, that in tracking citations, we focus on our “core” collection, defined as all eprints from the hep*, gr-qc, nucl*, astro-ph.(CO and HE) and physics.acc-ph archives and papers in these subfields from other sources; citations for papers in other subfields are less likely to be comprehensive. Usual caveats regarding references and citations apply.


The large collaborations at the LHC have an unusual intermediate form of publication: the conference note.  These are significant results prepared by the collaboration for major international conferences (not to be confused with proceedings written by a conference attendee).  They are  heavily peer-reviewed within the collaboration, signed by the collaboration as a whole, and often precede submission to a journal.  Moreover, these conference notes typically provide more detail than the documents submitted for publication, which makes them particularly valuable to anyone following the research closely.

However, finding these conference notes has confounded almost everyone that has looked for them.  They are “catalogued” in a maze of wiki pages, plain HTML pages, and various categories in the CERN document server (CDS).  While CDS is based on the same underlying Invenio technology, it lacks much of the functionality that INSPIRE offers.  In particular, there has been no way to easily navigate references, track citations, or generate bibliographic information.

This situation improved dramatically when both ATLAS and CMS agreed to put these conference notes into INSPIRE.  There are already more than 800 conference notes indexed, with many more to come!

For example, you can find the ATLAS conference notes with
find r atlas-conf-*
and the CMS Physics Analysis Summaries (PAS) with
find r cms-pas-*

Now, I can easily track citations to a recent conference note on the Higgs decaying to photons; perform a full text search for the word “asymptotic“; and see which ATLAS conference notes have been cited by CERN theorist Christophe Grojean.

As an author of several of these conference notes, I am particularly excited about the ability to generate standard bibliography entries.  For example, I can easily export a .bib file for all the 2012 ATLAS conference notes.  This will be a huge time savings for the collaborations and a great example of the impact an excellent literature database can have!

Recently we reprocessed the citations of articles in the Journal of Physics. For historical reasons, each letter series of the Journal of Physics (A through G) was treated in SPIRES, and then INSPIRE, as a separate journal. For all the other journals in INSPIRE each letter series is simply treated as a volume of a single journal (for example, Nuclear Physics, Physical Review and Physics Letters). Because special exceptions had to be made in the database for how we handled the Journal of Physics, it was difficult to guarantee that searches, citation counts and even the display of the publication note always worked correctly.  INSPIRE contains almost 13,000 J.Phys. articles with over 100,000 citations. The re-indexing was completed a while ago but during clean-up you may have noticed a temporary fluctuation in the citation counts. However, everything is fixed now and our entries are much more consistent. In the process we saw citations to J.Phys. articles rise by several thousand.

As we consolidate the move from SPIRES to INSPIRE we will continue to examine things that, though they once made sense in SPIRES, no longer need to be done the same way. One particularly important issue is the eprint number. In SPIRES, depending on where in the record it was stored, an eprint number could be written: hep-th/9711200, hep-th 9711200, hepth-9711200 or even arXiv:hep-th/9711200. Cleaning up this is sure to net some long-hidden citations!

Following many requests for more citation metrics, we have now introduced a second page of the Citesummary on INSPIRE where you can find additional columns excluding self-cites and citations to the Review of Particle Physics. You can access this extended Citesummary page via a link at the bottom of the first Citesummary page. Furthermore, we have provided some more detailed explanations of the various citation metrics; you can find them here or via a link on the Citesummary page.

Try the new metrics and tell us how you like them or if you would like some additional metrics at feedback@inspirehep.net.  
We are working on expanding our horizons in regard to citation counts. In addition to the SPIRES tradition of tracking citations to arXiv eprints and published journal articles, we are now starting to track citations to report numbers and conference proceedings, for example http://inspirehep.net/record/183109
This is a complex task and will take a bit longer. We will be able to offer a better service of citation analysis and interlinking to and from additional material, such as unpublished papers which did not appear on arXiv, theses and experimental notes.

As this work is ongoing you might be interested in the current citation stats of INSPIRE. We can currently track over 700,000 citeable papers out of 960,000 records overall. Of these 0.06% have over 1,000 citations, 0.24% have over 500 citations and 3.3% have over 100 citations.

Interested in more stats? Check here! Interested in searching for highly cited papers? Just use topcite, e.g. find topcite 5000+ or combine it with another search parameter, e.g. find t top quark and topcite 1000+ 

By the way – our algorithms are not perfect, yet, and can miss citations especially when figures or tables appear in the middle of reference lists, so you can help us by correcting references and citations yourself on INSPIRE. For details, please see: http://inspirehep.net/info/faq/references_citations Please note that we’re a bit slow at the moment as we’re still completing the back office transition to INSPIRE, so it may take a few weeks for us to process your corrections but rest assured we will get to them.

Citations are of interest to the HEP community as a way of finding new papers on a topic of interest. It is therefore natural to want to find the latest citations of your own papers in order to learn of the latest developments in your field. In SPIRES this was almost impossible to do, as you had to look for new citations of each of your papers. INSPIRE is more sophisticated and allows you to do second-order searches that let you find papers citing a particular set of papers, for example those written by an author of interest: find refersto author e.witten.1 or in Invenio form refersto:author:e.witten.1

Every INSPIRE search has a link at the bottom that enables you to track the result in an RSS feed. You can then get daily RSS updates through, e.g. Google Reader or the built-in RSS readers of Internet Explorer and Firefox.  Doing this, you’ll be able to easily keep track of new citations to an author as they appear. As an aside, note that we have used the INSPIRE author identity, E.Witten.1, rather than just a name to make sure the search is unique.

This will work for searches beyond “author”. For example you could find the papers citing work done by your institution: find refersto aff “princeton u.” and then narrow that down to only citations of your institution by another institution: find refersto aff “princeton u.” and af oxford u. You basically have the full power of INSPIRE searching at your disposal.

While implementing some improvements to our citation algorithm we introduced a bug which led to overcounting citations for about 2% of our records. We are in the process of fixing this now and are reindexing the citation data. This has caused some citation counts to drop initially. Numbers are going slowly up again and citation counts should be correct before the weekend.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.