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Academic listed as one of the world's top social scientists


The University of Wolverhampton is proud to announce that one of its academics has been named as a Highly Cited Researcher  according to the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list from the Web of Science Group, released today.

Professor Mike Thelwall is a computer scientist and mathematician at the University’s School of Mathematics and Computer Science and has been listed as one of the world's top cited social scientists for the third year in a row.


The highly anticipated list identifies scientists and social scientists who produced multiple papers ranking in the top 1% by citations for their field and year of publication, demonstrating significant research influence among their peers.

Professor Thelwall said: "I am overjoyed at this hat trick of years in the top researchers list, which is beyond my wildest dreams. I work with brilliant mathematicians in the Department of Mathematics and Computing for most of my papers, so this is their achievement too."

The methodology that determines the who’s who of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts from the Institute for Scientific Information at the Web of Science Group.

The data are taken from 21 broad research fields within Essential Science Indicators, a component of InCites. The fields are defined by sets of journals and exceptionally, in the case of multidisciplinary journals such as Nature and Science, by a paper-by-paper assignment to a field based on an analysis of the cited references in the papers. This percentile-based selection method removes the citation advantage of older papers relative to recently published ones, since papers are weighed against others in the same annual cohort. 

David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information said: “Recognition and support of these exceptional researchers represents an important activity for a nation or an institution’s plans for efficient and accelerated advancement. The Highly Cited Researchers list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that contributes disproportionately to extending the frontiers of knowledge. These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.”

The key findings for 2019 show:

  • This year the list includes 6,217 Highly Cited Researchers in various fields from nearly 60 nations.
  • The United States is home to the highest number of Highly Cited Researchers, with 2,737 authors, representing 44% of the researchers on the list. Harvard University, home to 203 researchers is the institution that has the highest concentration of Highly Cited Researchers in the world. California is also a hotbed of talent, with Stanford University (103), and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, San Diego and Los Angeles are all home to 50+ researchers each.  
  • Mainland China has seen a huge surge, with 636 researchers named Highly Cited Researchers compared to 482 in 2018. In the main 21 Essential Science Indicator (ESI) categories, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of researchers named since 2014.
  • As China increased its share of Highly Cited Researchers, other nations declined. The number of Highly Cited Researchers based at institutions in the United Kingdom has dropped to 517 this year, compared to 546 in 2018. Numbers of Highly Cited Researchers based in Germany and the Netherlands have also fallen.
  • This year’s list includes 23 Nobel laureates, including three announced this year: Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University (Physiology or Medicine), John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas at Austin (Chemistry), and Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Economics).
  • This year’s list of Highly Cited Researchers also includes 57 Citation Laureates; individuals recognized by the Web of Science Group through citation analysis, who are ‘of Nobel class’ and potential Nobel Prize recipients.
  • A total of 3,517 researchers are celebrated for their performance in the 21 ESI fields, and 2,492 for cross-field performance, for a total of 6,009 unique researchers, as some Highly Cited Researchers appear in more than one field. This is the second year that researchers with cross-field impact – those with exceptional broad performance based on high impact papers across several fields – have been identified.
  • Of the researchers named as Highly Cited in the 21 ESI fields, 185, or 5%, appear in two ESI categories while an exceptional 11 researchers showed exceptional broad performance by being named as Highly Cited in three categories. They are based all over the globe – in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Australian research institutes continue to impress. The number of researchers recognized as Highly Cited has more than tripled in six years, from 80 in 2014 to 271 in 2019, among those selected in one or more of the 21 fields. Australian research institutions appear to have recruited a significant number of Highly Cited Researchers since 2014 as well as increasing their number of homegrown Highly Cited Researchers.


Top 10 nations and regions with the most highly cited researchers were:


Nation or region (Primary)

Total # of HCRs

Percent HCR

United States



China Mainland



United Kingdom

























Table1: The Highly Cited Researchers represent nearly 60 nations, but 85% of them are affiliated to institutions at just ten nations and 72% from the first five, a remarkable concentration of top talent.


Nation or region

Number of HCRs

Harvard University

United States


Stanford University

United States


Chinese Academy of Sciences

China Mainland


Max Planck Society



Broad Institute

United States


University California Berkeley

United States


Washington University St Louis

United States


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

United States


University California San Diego

United States


Duke University

United States


University California Los Angeles

United States


Yale University

United States


Cambridge University

United Kingdom


Columbia University

United States


Johns Hopkins University

United States


University of Oxford

United Kingdom


Cornell University

United States


Tsinghua University

China Mainland


University College London

United Kingdom



Table 2: ‘Home to Highly Cited Researchers’ – affiliations to institutions and organizations as reported by the researcher.

The full 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found here, and the methodology can be found  here.

About the Web of Science Group

Web of Science Group, a Clarivate Analytics company, organizes the world’s research information to enable academia, corporations, publishers and governments to accelerate the pace of research. It is powered by Web of Science – the world’s largest publisher-neutral citation index and research intelligence platform. Its many well-known brands also include Converis, EndNote, Kopernio, Publons, ScholarOne and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).  The ‘university’ of Web of Science Group, ISI maintains the knowledge corpus upon which the index and related information and analytical content and services are built; it disseminates that knowledge externally through events, conferences and publications and it carries out research to sustain, extend and improve the knowledge base.  For more information, please visit


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