Database of World’s Top Scientists Updated

PLOS Biology has published an article by John Ioannidis, Kevin Boyack and Jeroen Baas describing the updating of the standardised citation databases of scientists across all scientific fields. These are based on citations from Scopus and assess the citation impact over scientists’ careers and during the year 2019.

The databases include researchers in the top 2% of their disciplines and the top 100,000 in the composite index.  Files are available for career citations and for 2019.

The databases could become the source of a new ranking indicator. They are more comprehensive and representative than the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers lists which feature in the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The updated database of citations by year include over 160000 researchers. At the moment the USA is clearly the leader for research with 59776 researchers followed by the UK with 13807 and China with 12948. The performance of Russia, India and the Middle East is not very impressive.

The top five researchers over the based on their career achievement are:

  1. Michael Grätzel, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. Walter C Willett, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, USA
  3. Ronald C Kessler, Harvard Medical School, USA
  4. Edward Witten, Institute of Advanced Studies, USA
  5. Zhong Lin Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.

An interesting feature of the database is that it includes evidence about the extent of self-plagiarism. Nearly 5% of researchers in the top 2% of their field dropped out when self-citations were excluded.


  • PLOS Biology
  • Mendeley Data

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