Skip to main content

The Most Highly-Cited Universities and Countries

Publish or perish.

That's the mantra many young researchers live by as they compete to establish their early scientific career. But not all publications are treated equally in the world of academia.

Some journals are considered more prestigious than others, and some papers are cited much more widely than others — a quantitative measure of a paper's influence.

And when there's a way to quantitatively evaluate a group, rankings will inevitably emerge. Each year, Thomson Reuters releases a report on the "World's Most Influential Scientific Minds" primarily based on the number and impact of a researcher's academic publications.

While the report focuses on individual researchers, the data also reveal where the highest concentrations of influential researchers work. Several big academic names make an appearance, but there's also a few surprises.

For the latest report, Thomson Reuters used data from the past 11 years to compile a list of researchers with the highest number of "hot papers" and "highly cited papers" over that period. A hot paper is defined as having more citations than 99.9 percent of all papers within its field, while "highly-cited papers" have more citations than 99.0 percent of all papers within a field.

3,200 researchers made the cut by having "the greatest number of highly-cited papers in one of 21 broad fields, 2002-2012."

By Country

The list of researchers is available online at, and you can narrow your search by the researchers' names, institutions (including locations), and fields.

USA reigns supreme with over half of the highly-cited researchers having a primary institution in the country. The United Kingdom came in second with over 300 highly-cited researchers.

The graph below charts the rest of the countries based on each researcher's primary institution.

Data courtesy of

By Institution

Two researchers from the Max Planck Society, Lutz Bornmann and Johann Bauer, went a step further and ranked specific institutions by the number of researchers who made the list.

First, they ranked the researchers just by their primary institution, and I've reproduced their rankings in the chart below. The University of California System is well ahead with 179 researchers; a significant amount of this ranking can be attributed to the sheer size of the system relative to other institutions, however. Harvard and Stanford round out the top three.

Data courtesy of

Cash for Rankings?

Bornmann and Bauer found an interesting wrinkle in the data, however, if they included any secondary institutions as well. The rankings remained largely the same with one notable exception: The King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia skyrocketed to second place with 163 researchers.

Bornmann and Bauer note that this can likely be attributed to King Abdulaziz University's policy of offering part time adjunct professorships to highly-cited researchers around the world. The well-paid, one-to-two week appointments help to significantly boost the university's rankings on such lists without permanently hosting such researchers.

This policy was notably reported a few years ago in a Science Magazine article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee.


When narrowing the list to just physics researchers, there's a few changes. Although the United States still ranks number one with roughly half of all physics researchers based there, the country rankings jump around after that.

China and Japan both have 14 researchers listed, boosting their rankings, while the United Kingdom drops in the rankings (8 researchers). And previously lower-ranked countries such as Austria (6 researchers) and Spain (5 researchers) feature a number of highly-cited physicists.

The University of California system had 14 highly-cited physicists, still the highest number for a single institution. Other high-ranking institutions include the Chinese Academy of Sciences (6), Stanford University (5), and Oak Ridge National Lab (4, which ties with several other institutions).

You can search through the data yourself at


  1. Despite of the fact that, it simple to discover incredible researchers in many nations yet they come up short in their up bringing. These sort of things essentially comes from the political inclusion and limiting them now became a crucial thing.
    If you wish to know more you can check here.

  2. The real surprise is that countries other than US and UK aren't doing better when you look at the pro-rota positions per population and the amount of money being spent in each country. A better measure would be a ratio of (US cited Researches/ Another country cited researches * Dollars spent on research)- in other words how well you're doing per buck !

  3. Online Distance Learning is because they insincerity manage to compensate for the related fee of registering with a established school. We are talking of fees like accommodation and transportation. With distance education, every one of these fees is removed.

  4. Creating blunder have to comply with you that any of us do not do that after we generate. It is very required for you simply because we have been related to the actual writing in addition to we have to comply with your better jot down in addition to comply with your position revisions EssayPenguins is not fraud which will be extremely required for you. Thanks a whole lot partner intended for providing you your better post.

  5. I really have tried out searching every possible combination to get into the college and all is vain unless you dont have a proper guide. get that guide and find out the top journalism colleges in Pune

  6. In case if you don’t have a degree but experience in a relevant field, you should enroll in a life experience degree program to have degree in the area of interest you desire. You only need to show your working experience and certificates (if any).

  7. Though there are pros and cons to everything including virtual education. However, in a broader perspective, it can be seen as an advancement in the field of education. For example, people in the Gulf region are enrolling for Psychology Courses In Dubai and are claiming to lead that domain with latest learning. Hence a ranking on online universities should also be published.

  8. The list of World's Most Influential Scientific Minds should also include those students who have taken psychology courses in dubai , beacuse these are the ones who the behind those influential minds. And secondly, i have a firm belief in the mantra to publish or perish.

  9. The Most Highly-Cited Universities include only those universities which offer you that traditional approach to education. Those universities which offers you an option to grow you career with fast degrees. Fast Online Degree has helped me in gaining expertise which otherwise would have taken up days and months.

  10. People are now taking interest in online education and also converting their experience into a relevant degree by taking online life experience degree. This has really benefited many people who want to establish a successful career. 

  11. When you will buy a degree online you will notice great change in your educational career.

  12. Furthering his education was an achievement with the said university. But what about those who take it for-granted and buy custom assignments for their university subjects?


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?