The Most-Cited Institutions Overall, 1999-2009

August 2009
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In August 2009, ScienceWatch presented a listing of the top 20 institutions which, as of the second bimonthly update of Essential Science IndicatorsSM (January 1, 1999-April 30, 2009) attracted the highest total citations to their papers published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over all 22 fields in the database. These institutions are the top 20 out of a pool of 4,050 institutions comprising the top 1% ranked by total citation count over all fields.

The 22 fields are as follows:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Biology & Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Computer Science
  • Economics & Business
  • Engineering
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Geosciences
  • Immunology
  • Materials Science
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology & Genetics
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Neuroscience & Behavior
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Physics
  • Plant & Animal Science
  • Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Social Sciences, general
  • Space Science

Table 1The top 20 institutions over all fields consist of 14 US-based universities, three UK-based universities, and one each in Canada, Japan, and Germany. These institutions all produce a high volume of papers resulting in extremely high citation counts—the top six institutions have over one million citations to their credit, and cite counts for the remaining 14 are all well over a half-million.

Leading the way, as it does for nine of the 22 fields, is Harvard University, with 95,291 papers cited a total of 2,597,786 times up until the end of April 2009. Harvard's citation strengths lie in biological and health sciences: the top five fields in their the citation record are Clinical Medicine, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Biology & Biochemistry, Neuroscience & Behavior, and Immunology. Harvard ranked at #1 in the Special Topics analysis on Underage/College Drinking, and the #1 researcher in this topic, Henry Weschler, is affiliated with Harvard. Pioneering Alzheimer's researcher Dennis Selkoe [see also ¦ see also] hails from this institution and has spoken with ScienceWatch on numerous occasions about his research. Other top scorers for Harvard include Stanley Korsmeyer, Martha Shenton [ see also ¦ see also], Ronald Kessler [ see also ¦ see also], and top diabetes researchers David Nathan and JoAnn Manson. Harvard also ranks highly in the physical sciences; the institution is in the top 20 in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Economics & Business, Geosciences, Environment/Ecology, Mathematics, and Computer Science as well.

The Max Planck Society ranks at #2 overall, with 69,373 papers cited 1,366,087 times. This institution, with its many component facilities, is a heavy hitter in the physical sciences, with the fields of Physics, Chemistry, and Space Science among its top-cited fields. In fact, the Max Planck Society is the top-ranking institution overall in Physics and Space Science, and ranks at #2 overall in Chemistry. Ferenc Krausz and Manfred Reetz have both spoken with ScienceWatch about their highly cited work. Molecular Biology & Genetics and Biology & Biochemistry round out the top five fields for the organization, which ranks at #2 overall in both fields.

Ranking at #3 is Johns Hopkins University with 54,022 papers cited a total of 1,222,166 times. In the Special Topic on Epigenetics, Johns Hopkins was the top-ranked institution, and two of its top researchers, Stephen Baylin [see also], and John Herman, ranked at #1 and #2, respectively, in this topic. Other prominent Johns Hopkins researchers featured in ScienceWatch include Bert Vogelstein [ see also], Rafael Irizarry, Valina Dawson, David Ginty, Frederick Nucifora, Keerti Shah, and Charles Bennett.

Coming in at #4 is the University of Washington, with 54,198 papers cited a total of 1,147,283 times. ScienceWatch featured Washington's Department of Earth and Space Sciences, and Minze Stuiver, one of the 20 most-cited scientists in Geosciences and lead author of the most-cited paper in Geosciences, "INTCAL98 radiocarbon age calibration, 24,000-0 cal BP" (Stuiver M, et al., Radiocarbon 40[3]: 1041-83, 1998). G. Alan Marlatt, one of the top 20 researchers in the Special Topic of Underage/College Drinking, is also affiliated with the University of Washington.

The first of five California universities on the list, Stanford University, ranks at #5 with 48,846 papers with a total of 1,138,795 cites. The #2 ranked researcher in the field of Mathematics, Robert Tibshirani, hails from Stanford, and is a pioneer in microarray research. David Donoho [see also], another high-ranking Mathematics researcher, has also been featured in ScienceWatch. Stanford was also among the top five institutions in the Special Topic on High Temperature Superconductors.

The second Californian university ranks at #6: the University of California, Los Angeles, with 55,237 papers cited 1,077,069 times. One of the 20 most-cited researchers in Space Science and the #1 researcher in our
Special Topic on Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, Edward Wright, [see also], is from UCLA's Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Other UCLA researchers who have been featured in ScienceWatch include Alexander Young, Adam Aron, and Stephen Marder.

The remaining California institutions are the University of California, Berkeley at #8 (46,984 papers cited 945,817 times), the University of California, San Francisco at #9 (36,106 papers cited 939,302 times) and the University of California, San Diego at #12 (40,789 papers cited 899,832 times).

Sandwiched between all these California institutions is the University of Michigan at #7, with 54,612 papers cited a total of 948,621 times. By far the largest contribution to this cite count comes from Michigan's work in Clinical Medicine—their record in this field includes 16,314 papers with 324,701 total citations.

Rounding out the top 10 is the University of Pennsylvania, with 46,235 papers cited a total of 931,399 times. Penn is in the top 1% for institutions in 20 of the database's 22 fields. Distinguished Penn researchers who have been featured in ScienceWatch include Mitchell Lazer, Mirjam Cvetic, Mauro Guillen, and Wafik El-Deiry.

The remaining institutions on the list include the sole entries from Japan (the University of Tokyo at #11) and Canada (the University of Toronto at #13) and the three UK-based institutions (UCL at #14, the University of Cambridge at #18, and the University of Oxford at #19). Four US institutions make up the rest of the list: Columbia University at #15, Yale University at #16, MIT at #17, and the University of Wisconsin at #20.

Scientists from these institutions who have been featured in ScienceWatch include Masataka Sata, Minoru Kanehisa, Makoto Fujita, and Nobutaka Hirokawa from the University of Tokyo; Frances Shepherd, Charles Boone, and Geoffrey Ozin from the University of Toronto; Jonathan Edwards and Uta Frith from UCL; Richard Friend, John Robertson, Julie Ahringer, and Christopher Dobson from the University of Cambridge; Columbia University's Jeffrey Lieberman; Yale University's Lena Alexopoulou; and Lisa Randall, David Bartel, the Haploview team, and Mark Daly from MIT.


The data and citation records included in this report are from Thomson Reuters Web of ScienceTM. Web of ScienceTM is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.