International Journal of Clinical and Medical Cases

ISSN 2517-7346

Disparate Citation Practices in the Literature of the History of Cancer Metastasis

Wilson I. B. Onuigbo

Department of Pathology, Medical Foundation and Clinic, 8 Nsukka Lane, Enugu, 400001, Nigeria

Corresponding author

Wilson I. B. Onuigbo
Department of Pathology
Medical Foundation and Clinic
8 Nsukka Lane
Enugu, 400001
Tel: 2348037208680

  • Received Date: October 13, 2017
  • Accepted Date: December 26, 2017
  • Published Date: January 04, 2018

DOI:   10.31021/ijcmc.20181103

Article Type:   Opinion article

Manuscript ID:   IJCMC-1-103

Publisher:   Boffin Access Limited.

Volume:   1.1

Journal Type:   Open Access

Copyright:   © 2018 Onuigbo WIB.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Onuigbo WIB. Disparate Citation Practices in the Literature of the History of Cancer Metastasis. Int J Clinic Med Cases. 2018 Jan;1(1):103


Citations found in two historical articles, which appeared in Cancer Research, a top Scientific Journal, were used to show both positive and negative attitudes towards my 21 historical publications written from 1958 to 2005 on cancer metastasis. Furthermore, scientific information concepts are cited critically so as to facilitate the derivation of a hypothesis which should promote the research of Third World scientists.


Research; Journals; Citations; Third world scientists; Hypothesis


As many as 21 scientific papers, which I published personally between 1958 and 2009, are first of all referenced in chronological order so as to exemplify my contributions in the special field of the history of cancer metastasis [1-21]. Thereafter, how American scientists cited them in Cancer Research, a far famed USA Journal, was examined critically.

Critically, a Journal of this prominence was utilized in 2010 by Talmadge and Fidler to review the “historical perspective” of “the biology of cancer metastasis [22].” Incidentally, much as 236 references were gathered and cited by these scientists, not one of my series was included! Note, in particular, that it was Cancer Research itself that published my own historical perspectives on haematogenous spread [8]. In it, I took pains to cite 108 articles written from 1712 to 1900, although I included among them five contemporaneous and four of my own work.

Work of note that appeared also in Cancer Research was from another American, Shimkin [23]. In his own contribution, he significantly included two of my papers in a list of 31 papers that he recommended to those who wish to start to write in this field [3,8]. Moreover, he added that I had “contributed valuable historical essays on several more specialized topics in cancer.”

Cancer is necessarily of worldwide concern as regards both research and citation. Therefore, Eugene Garfield, [24] the guru of scientific information, ought to be cited. What did he aver? When he delivered the 1982 Annual Magnus Pyke Foundation Lecture, he said that “Most scientists in the West are not aware of research going on in Peru, Ghana, Singapore, or other countries collectively called the Third World.” As he continued, “The representation of Third World research in international scientific journals is a neglected aspect of the New Information Order debate. How many research articles from Third World countries are published in journals from the developed countries? And what impact does Third World research have on the international scientific community?”

Community that consists of world scientists should be open to comparative research. To go back to Eugene Garfield, how can Third World Science be boosted? In his view, “Unfortunately, there is too little concern in the wider scientific community and in governmental agencies of the developed nations about the day-to-day problems confronting scientists in the Third World [25]. Aside from neglect, there is prejudice as well.”

Well stated, I think. Indeed, as he also posited, “Despite many problems, researchers in the developing nations manage to produce a significant portion of the world’s scientific output [26]. Imagine what these scientists could contribute to the global community if their difficulties could be reduced.” Accordingly, I would hypothesize that one way of increasing the image of Third World scientists is for their work to be cited more often! In other words, as a matter of public policies, empathetic editors in developed countries should, as it were, even bend over backwards to accommodate their manuscripts!

Manuscripts should, as I see them, be submitted beyond one’s own country. For instance, my papers were published in USA, UK, Switzerland, Denmark, India, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy, and New Zealand [1-4,6-21]. Clearly, USA predominated. Accordingly, I can conclude by hypothesizing again, namely, let one’s citation be enriched by publishing in USA. However, one must carefully aspire to excel by following an acknowledged general principle, namely, “These citations have to be complete, correct and structured, so that all who want to work in the same field can easily find the cited papers [27].”


  1. Onuigbo WIB. A historical criticism of tumor metastasis. Journal of the History of Medicine. 1958 Oct;13(4):529-531.(Ref.)
  2. Onuigbo WIB. History and the parasternal lymph-glands. Lancet. 1960 Mar;275(7125):1249-1250.(Ref.)
  3. Onuigbo WIB. Historical trends in cancer surgery. Med Hist. 1962 Apr;6(2):154-161.(Ref.)
  4. Onuigbo WIB. The age-old dictum on the spread of tumours. Centaurus. 1963;8(1):263-268.(Ref.)
  5. Onuigbo WIB. A history of the cell theory of cancer metastasis. Gesnerus. 1963;20:90-95.(Ref.)
  6. Onuigbo WIB. Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866) on cancer cell carriage. Med Hist. 1967 Oct;11(4):406–411.(Ref.)
  7. Onuigbo WIB. Joseph Coats (1846-99) of Glasgow and the theory of cancer metastasis. Scott Med J. 1970 Aug;15(8):281-284.(Ref.)
  8. Onuigbo WIB. A history of hematogenous metastasis. Cancer Res. 1970 Dec;30(12):2821-2826.(Ref.)
  9. Onuigbo WIB. Historical errors in neuroblastoma literature. Indian J Hist Med. 1970 Jun;15:20-22.(Ref.)
  10. Onuigbo WIB. False firsts in cancer literature. Oncology. 1971;25(2):163-167.(Ref.)
  11. Onuigbo WIB. Historical data on the dynamics of lymphatic metastases. Oncology. 1972;26(6):505-514.(Ref.)
  12. Onuigbo WIB. Recognition and treatment of pathologic fractures in the 19th century. Surgery. 1975 Apr;77(4):553-556.(Ref.)
  13. Onuigbo WIB. The origins of the soil theory of cancer metastasis. Mater Med Pol. 1975 Jul-Sep;7(3):254-255.(Ref.)
  14. Onuigbo WIB. Concepts of cancerous pathologic fractures in the 19th century. New York State Journal of Medicine. 1976;76:771- 772.
  15. Onuigbo WIB. Secondary skin cancer in 19th century Britain. British Journal of Dermatology, 1976 Apr;94(4):457-463.(Ref.)
  16. Onuigbo WIB. Historical notes on cancer in married couples. Neth J Surg. 1984 Aug;36(4):112-115.(Ref.)
  17. Onuigbo WIB. Metastases in the abdominal wall after needle punctures: historical study. Italian Journal of Gastroenterology. 1984; 16:309.
  18. Onuigbo WIB. Spontaneous rupture of hepatoma: historical perspectives. Southern Medical Journal. 1985 Nov;78(11):1335- 1336.(Ref.)
  19. Onuigbo WIB. The Paget cell. Mistaken for a parasite in the 19th century. Am J Dermatopathol. 1986 Dec;8(6):520-521.(Ref.)
  20. Onuigbo WIB. Early descriptions of Krukenberg tumors. J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Jan;200(1):111-112.(Ref.)
  21. Onuigbo WIB. History of Medicine: Early description of cancer to cancer metastasis in 1848. New Zealand Medical Journal. 2005 Feb;118(1210).(Ref.)
  22. Talmadge JE, Fidler IJ. AACR Centennial Series: The biology of cancer metastasis: historical perspective. Cancer Res. 2010 Jul;70(14):5649-5669.(Ref.)
  23. ShimkinMB. History of cancer research: A starter reading list and guide. Cancer Research. 1974Jun;34:1519-1520.(Ref.)
  24. . Garfield E. Mapping Science in the Third World. Science and Public Policy. 1983;10:112-127.(Ref.)
  25. Garfield E. How to boost Third World science. The Scientist. 1987 Jun;1(14):9.(Ref.)
  26. Garfield E. Supporting scientist-colleagues in the Third World is in our own best interest. Current Contents. 1988 Apr;11(16):3-7.(Ref.)
  27. Kohler CO. Analysis of citations in Four MIE proceedings. Medical Informatics. 1987;12(1):53-61.(Ref.)