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Smithsonian Scholars Named 2018 Highly Cited Researchers

Nine Smithsonian scholars are included in Clarivate Analytic’s 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list, an annual list of influential researchers across 21 fields. These Smithsonian scholars join some 4000 researchers from other institutions who appear in the top 1% of scholars in their respective disciplines, based on citations to their publications dating between 2006 and 2016. The Smithsonian Libraries tracks the research output of the Smithsonian Institution and makes it publicly available through Smithsonian Research Online and the newly launched Smithsonian Profiles.

Smithsonian representatives to the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers are:

Emmett Duffy in Panama
Smithsonian biologist Emmett Duffy works on a boat in Panama’s Bocas Del Toro Research Station. (Photo by Sean Mattson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Emmett Duffy, Director
Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network

Joe Wright, Staff Scientist
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Daniel Eisenstein, Professor of Astronomy
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Lars Hernquist, Mallinckrodt Professor of Astrophysics
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Dimitar Sasselov, Phillips Professor of Astronomy and
Director, Harvard Origins of Life Initiative
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

David Latham, Senior Astronomer
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Matthew Holman, Astrophysicist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

David Charbonneau, Professor of Astronomy
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Guillermo Torres, Astronomer
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


Some of these scientists have been named in past years’ Highly Cited Research list and while citation counts may have come under scrutiny as a reliable method of scientific research evaluation, it should be clear from the large body of literature and citing references that these scientists are leaders in their respective areas of expertise.

The publication statistics are somewhat difficult to compare across disciplines. For example each of Duffy’s and Wright’s (Environment/Ecology) body of works in the 10 year period were cited by as many as 6000 different articles with each paper being cited over 70 times on average. One third to one half of articles by Duffy and/or Wright were identified as open access (OA).*

3-D Map of the Sky
This is a still image from a video fly-through of the SDSS-III galaxies mapped in Data Release 9. (Credit: Miguel A. Aragón (Johns Hopkins University), Mark SubbaRao (Adler Planetarium), Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University), Yushu Yao (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC), and the SDSS-III Collaboration)

A look at the productivity of the Space Science scholars shows the differences in publication patterns between disciplines. Most Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) scholars co-author more papers in a 10 year period than life scientists (as much as twice as many). And some Smithsonian researchers in the Space Science category saw their papers cited by more than 10,000 subsequent articles. Likewise, most papers authored by SAO researchers are open access with as many as 80% of their papers being freely available for readers.

Another thing worth noting about SAO staff is that three quarters or more of their co-authored papers tend to appear in one of 6-8 journals which are core to the profession. In the Environment/Ecology discipline (Duffy and Wright) the publications are much more widely distributed among a variety of scholarly journals.

Counting citations is a tricky business but when dealing with such highly cited authors, it is clear that the high number of citations reflects a decade of quality research. And assuming that any given article is read far more times than it is formally cited, this shows a very extensive reach of Smithsonian research.

Congratulations to all 9 Smithsonian scholars!




*In this context, open access is understood as being published in a journal which does not require payment from readers, instead relying on either revenue paid by authors or sponsorship of the journal’s organization.

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