Highly Cited Researchers 2018: Australian growth ‘bucking trend’

Latest edition of Clarivate analysis suggests nation is on upward trajectory

November 27, 2018
Silhouette of man waving Australian flag on hilltop

Australia is bucking the trend among many established research nations by increasing its share of academics being named on a list of the most highly cited academics worldwide.

This year’s group of more than 4,000 scholars making Clarivate Analytics’s core list of Highly Cited Researchers (HCRs) shows that the country has more than doubled its numbers in the last four years from 80 in 2014 to 170 this year.

Researchers are selected for the list if they have consistently published highly cited papers – those that rank in the top 1 per cent by citations – in one of 21 fields analysed across Clarivate’s Web of Science publication database.

Although the US still has by far the most researchers on the list with more than 1,800 across the 21 fields, its share has fallen since the analysis was first published: it had just over half (50.2 per cent) the scholars in the 2014 list but accounts for 44.8 per cent of the researchers this year.

China, meanwhile, continues to rise, although it has not seen as big an increase this year. Its share of researchers on the list is now 6.8 per cent, up from 6.1 per cent last year and 3.8 per cent in 2014. It sits in third place this year, with 276 entries on the list, behind the UK with 370.

Most other established research nations have seen their share of researchers on the list either remain relatively stable or decline, most notably Japan, which has seen its representation almost halve from 3 per cent in 2014 to 1.6 per cent this year. But one exception is Australia, which had 2.5 per cent of scholars on the list in 2014 and 4.2 per cent this year.

“Australian research institutes continue to impress; the number of researchers recognised as highly cited has more than doubled in four years…among those selected in one or more of the 21 fields,” said David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at Clarivate Analytics.

“Australian research institutions appear to have recruited a significant number of HCRs since 2014 as well as increasing their number of homegrown HCRs.”

As well as 4,058 researchers entering the list based on their citation performance in at least one of the 21 individual fields, for the first time Clarivate also selected about 2,000 scholars whose research impact was significant when taken across multiple fields.

Out of the total HCR list of more than 6,000 researchers, some countries had a high share of their entries from this “cross-field” list including Sweden (53 per cent), Austria (53 per cent), Singapore (47 per cent), Denmark (47 per cent), China (43 per cent) and South Korea (42 per cent).  

Meanwhile, Harvard University continues to be the most successful single institution on the expanded list with 186 entries, followed by the National Institutes of Health (148) and Stanford University (100).


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