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Northwestern faculty again named among 'most cited' in the world

Northwestern faculty are among the world’s best in their fields, with their pioneering contributions advancing fundamental and applied science and social science and spurring technological innovation.

Among the important ways they share their knowledge is through journal publication.

This year, once again, Northwestern investigators count among the most-cited researchers in the world, with 24 faculty members appearing on an annual list released by Clarivate, part of the Web of Science Group.

The Highly Cited Researchers (HCR) list identifies scientists and social scientists who have “demonstrated significant and broad influence” as reflected by scholarly publication cited by their peers over the past 10 years. These papers are defined as ranking in the top 1 percent by citations for field and publication year in Clarivate’s Web of Science citation index.  While highly cited researchers included in the list  represent a small fraction of overall researchers, they account for an extraordinary impact, extending the frontiers of their fields and often forging new connections across fields.

Nearly 6,400 researchers worldwide were named to the Highly Cited list this year, with about 4,000 named in specific fields and another 2,500 named for their “cross-field” performance. This cross-field distinction was introduced in 2018 to identify influential investigators, including younger researchers, whose work bridges multiple domains.

Among Northwestern’s most-cited faculty are eight researchers recognized for cross-field expertise that has enabled them to exert an “outsized influence across several fields.” One of those individuals, Mercouri Kanatzidis (materials science and chemistry), was further recognized as an “exceptional” highly cited researcher for appearing in more than one category—a distinction that elevates him into the top 5 percent of the Clarivate list.

The HCR list draws on data and analysis from Clarivate bibliometric experts and covers 21 fields, accounting for papers published and cited between 2009 and 2019. Clarivate Analytics estimates that just 1 in 1,000 researchers achieve designation as highly cited.

“Breakthrough science at Northwestern exerts a huge impact, creating the knowledge and approaches that change research disciplines,” said Vice President for Research Milan Mrksich. “Publication is an important way that our faculty communicate their advances, and make them available to researchers across the globe.”

Mrksich noted that biomedical research, including work that bridges medicine and engineering, remains a Northwestern strength. Such efforts have contributed to the University’s investigations to help fight COVID-19 over the past year as the Northwestern continued its record-setting sponsored funding success to attract more than $887 million in total research awards.

Once again, this year’s HCR list from Clarivate includes several faculty members who are affiliated with Northwestern’s University Research Institutes and Centers, knowledge hubs that attract talent from across the University to pursue discovery at the intersection of various fields.

Following is the full list of faculty with primary Northwestern affiliations as recognized by Clarivate this year for their citation impact. The domain categories, and an individual’s placement within a given category, are determined by Clarivate.


Clinical Medicine


Materials Science

Social Sciences

Space Science

By Matt Golosinski