Exoplanets: which institutions are generating the most research?

The top 10 institutions for researching planets outside our solar system

March 27, 2017
Exoplanet

This table shows the top 10 institutions around the world contributing to research into exoplanets, which are planets that orbit stars other than the Sun.

Last month, the field hit the headlines when research published in the journal Nature revealed that scientists had discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star about 40 light years from Earth.

According to Elsevier’s Scopus database, the 10 institutions in the table published the most papers on exoplanets between 2011 and 2015, although they are ranked by field-weighted citation impact (FWCI), which shows how well cited the institution was compared with the average for the subject and year.

As might be expected, the list is dominated by US institutions, although a batch of European institutions also feature.

Two of the top three for FWCI have strong links to Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, which to date has identified more than 2,000 exoplanets. The Nasa Ames Research Center runs mission operations for the telescope and the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory built it. Although the JPL is in essence managed by the California Institute of Technology, it is treated as a separate entity from the university in terms of research publications. 

simon.baker@timeshighereducation.com


Institution

Country

Publications in research area (2011 to 2015)

Citations per publication

Field-weighted citation impact

Nasa Ames Research Center

US

228

31.1

3.75

Princeton University

US

191

26.1

3.42

Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
California Institute of Technology

US

279

18.4

3.37

Harvard University

US

310

32.9

3.2

University of Arizona

US

249

21.4

2.91

California Institute of
Technology

US

233

27.8

2.9

University of Geneva

Switzerland

201

16.5

2.48

National Center for Scientific Research

France

310

19.6

2.35

Aix-Marseille University

France

182

18.1

2.28

European Southern Observatory

Germany

197

12.4

2.01

Source: Elsevier’s Scopus database

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