The titans: Institutional rankings by output and citations

Data provided by Thomson Reuters from its Essential Science Indicators, 1 January 1999-30 April 2009

September 17, 2009

1 Chinese Academy of Sciences121,222
2Russian Academy of Sciences121,009
3 Harvard University95,291
4 Max Planck Society69,373
5 University of Tokyo68,840
6 University of California, Los Angeles55,237
7 University of Toronto55,163
8 University of Michigan54,612
9 University of Washington54,198
10 Johns Hopkins University54,022
11 University of Illinois 53,217
12 CNRS51,794
13 Kyoto University50,381
14 University of Wisconsin50,016
15 Stanford University48,846
16 University of California, Berkeley46,984
17 University College London46,882
18 University of Pennsylvania46,235
19 University of Minnesota45,034
20 Columbia University43,302
1 Harvard University 2,597,786
2 Max Planck Society 1,366,087
3 Johns Hopkins University 1,222,166
4 University of Washington1,147,283
5 Stanford University 1,138,795
6 University of California, Los Angeles 1,077,069
7 University of Michigan948,621
8 University of California, Berkeley945,817
9 University of California, San Francisco939,302
10 University of Pennsylvania 931,399
11 University of Tokyo913,896
12 University of California, San Diego 899,832
13 University of Toronto861,243
14 University College London860,117
15 Columbia University858,073
16 Yale University833,467
17 Massachusetts Institute of Technology832,439
18 University of Cambridge811,673
19 University of Oxford 766,577
20 University of Wisconsin760,091
In its surveys of scientific impact, Thomson Reuters typically employs measures of weighted influence — such as citations per paper — to compare fairly large and small producers. But rankings by size are always of interest and sometimes instructive, as long as one realises the limitations. The table above ranks institutions across all fields of the sciences and social sciences by paper output and total citations received. In terms of the production of research papers, the Chinese and Russian academies of sciences lead the way. Of course, it should be recognised that these entities include hundreds of research institutions under one designation. The same can be said for Germany’s Max Planck Society and France’s CNRS. What is surprising, perhaps, is that a single university, Harvard, by itself produces more papers than the Max Planck Society.

Another “artefact” is the advantage held by institutions that include medical schools, which typically produce many more papers than institutions without. From the perspective of gross influence, as measured by total citations, 14 of the top 20 are US institutions and three are British, with Germany, Japan and Canada having one each. While the Max Planck Society features in this ranking in second place, the Chinese and Russian academies do not, nor does the CNRS. Again, institutions with medical schools have an advantage in this ranking, since fields such as life sciences exhibit some of the highest average rates of citation. For more information on the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators database, see

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