The SLAC SPIRES yearly list of most frequently cited papers in 2005 is now available. I commented recently on what this was likely to show, quantifying the intellectual collapse of string theory since 1999.
There are exactly three post-1999 particle theory papers among the top 50 in the list. Two of these are about flux compactifications and have moved up significantly since last year reflecting the increasing popularity of landscape studies. At number 18 (up from 29) is the KKLT paper from early 2003, and at number 34 (up from 54) is an earlier paper from 2001 by Giddings, Kachru and Polchinski. The only non-landscape post-1999 paper to crack the top 50 is the 2002 Berenstein, Maldacena and Nastase paper on PP waves (which is part of the AdS/CFT story). It just barely makes it at number 49 (down from 32 last year).
The highest ranked post-2003 paper is the Arkani-Hamed and Dimopoulos 2004 paper on split supersymmetry. It’s at number 106, with a total of 103 citations.
There’s also a new 2005 All-time topcited list. Maldacena’s AdS/CFT paper from 1997 remains very near the top, with 3881 citations. There is nothing post-1999 on this list, which includes the top 186 papers. If recent trends continue indefinitely, it seems entirely possible that no post-1999 particle theory paper will ever make this all-time top-cited list, allowing historians of science to conclusively pinpoint the death of particle theory as having coincided fairly precisely with the end of the 20th century. This is optimistically assuming people lose interest in the landscape. It is also possible that landscape studies will come to dominate the field, with landscape papers then climbing up into the all-time topcited list. This doesn’t really change the conclusion about the death of particle theory.