Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Highly Cited Researcher 2015 list be updated?

The primary list will be posted in September 2015. From there we will gather feedback for updating primary and secondary affiliation information. The feedback period will last until Dec 1, 2015. After the feedback period is closed, the list will be locked and will not be updated afterwards.

I am a Highly Cited Researcher on the 2015 list. How do I update my primary or secondary affiliation to show my current position?

To update your primary or secondary affiliation please contact us at Tech Support.
As part of your request be sure to include your full name and your institutional email address as well as one of the following:
  • A press release or webpage from your preferred affiliation.
  • ResearcherID, ORCID, Google Scholar profile that publicly displays your preferred affiliation.
  • A public webpage that describes your institutional affiliation, such as a lab, working group, departmental or faculty website.

I represent a university with which a Highly Cited Researcher is affiliated. How can I request the update of primary or secondary affiliation to show this relationship?

While we would prefer to work directly with researchers to update affiliations, we realize this is not always possible and will accept requests from primary affiliations to update a researcher’s primary affiliation.
Your request on behalf of a researcher to update affiliation must include the following:
  • Researcher’s institution email address.
Requests from institutions also need to include at least one of the following:
  • A public webpage that describes the author’s institutional affiliation, such as a lab, working group, departmental or faculty site.
  • ResearcherID, ORCID, or Google Scholar profile that publicly displays the preferred affiliation.

One of our faculty members was on a prior Highly Cited Researchers list (e.g. 2001 or 2014) but doesn’t appear in the new list. Shouldn't she be on the new list?

Not necessarily, although there are many researchers who, in fact, appear on the both the old and new lists. The period of analysis used for the new list is limited to 2003-2013. Thomson Reuters will retain and provide the old list side-by-side with the new list. In any case, once a researcher is designated as Highly Cited by Thomson Reuters, that researcher is always deemed Highly Cited in our view.

Why does a junior member of our faculty appear on the Highly Cited Researchers 2015 list, but a more senior member does not?

Again, the specific methodology used in generating the new list (see above) can turn up researchers – even so-called junior researchers – who have contributed multiple Highly Cited Papers during 2003-2013, whereas more senior and even more cited scientists may not have been identified because they did not publish as many Highly Cited Papers in this field (as we defined it, see below) during this period. We think the result conforms to what we were trying to achieve – the identification of researchers with substantial contemporary impact as measured by the number of Highly Cited Papers produced, even if those papers, in terms of total citations, do not sum to more than that of other researchers who have longer publication and higher citation records over their entire careers.

I have been named a Highly Cited author in Engineering but my field and departmental affiliation is actually Mathematics. Would you change my designation to Mathematics?

We understand that you identify yourself as a mathematician, but we found your greatest impact, according to our analysis, to be in Engineering as it is defined in Essential Science Indicators. There is no universally agreed field classification scheme, and the use of journals to define fields is approximate at best. The practical advantage of our method is that we can fairly compare individuals against one another in the same consistently defined sphere.

I have a very common name, and some other people with the same name form (surname and initials) actually work in the same field that I do. How did you make sure not to confuse me and my papers with others and their papers in your analysis?

Ensuring correct attribution of papers to authors involved a manual inspection of each Highly Cited Paper. The Highly Cited Papers in an Essential Science Indicators field for a specific name and its variants (such as, for example, surname plus one initial or two) were ordered in chronological sequence, the subject of the papers examined as well as the journals in which they were published, the institutional addresses reviewed, and the co-authorships inspected. Often this was sufficient to resolve questions of authorship for a unique individual. Original papers were sometimes consulted to obtain a full name not present in the Web of Science bibliographic record (papers indexed before 2008). Reference was made to websites of researchers themselves and their curricula vitae if questions remained, which sometimes arose when a researcher changed institutional affiliations several times during the period surveyed. We would like to think our efforts to resolve authorship questions resulted in 100% clean data, but with any such effort, and more than 3,000 researchers, we likely fell short in some few specific instances and will make adjustments where required.

You say you selected top researchers according to specific fields as defined in Essential Science Indicators. But what about researchers who have Highly Cited Papers across several fields, such as Molecular Biology and Genetics, Clinical Medicine, and Psychiatry/Psychology? How did you account for such cross-disciplinary impact?

We analyzed each Essential Science Indicators field separately. If we had attempted to identify researchers across fields we would have faced the problem of determining a cross-field baseline for inclusion in an all-field list. In other words, the percentage of Highly Cited Papers required for inclusion differs across fields. In some fields, the number of Highly Cited Papers required for selection was low compared to others – as much as five to one – and each individual would present a different mix of fields in which they published their Highly Cited Papers and in different quantities, thereby creating an unmanageable number of combinations by which to calculate a baseline for inclusion.

Did you apportion credit for Highly Cited Papers according to the number of authors on a paper? You know, in some fields and especially with some highly cited reports (high-energy physics, for example), papers reflect the work of large teams.

The current process uses the whole counting method for papers and citations.

The issue of whole vs. fractional counting has been likened to measuring participation versus contribution, respectively. The question is a good one but the solution to apportioning credit is not straightforward, and it highlights deep questions about the contemporary meaning of authorship. First, we should recognize that scientists themselves do not explicitly apportion credit on their papers, although there has been discussion about making individual contributions more transparent on papers. The norm – and appearance – is that each author contributed significantly to the publication. How much is left opaque. Let us postulate that fractional credit is better than full credit for each author, i.e., whole counting. In this case a paper with five authors would yield .2 of a paper for each. But, in the absence of specific information on contribution, is not fractional counting just as arbitrary a choice as whole counting? There is more. What does one then do with the citation counts to the paper with respect to each author? Should the total citation count, too, be divided proportionally among the authors? This is an even more perplexing question, calling into question whether contribution may be partial but influence whole. There seems to be a qualitative difference between credit for contribution and credit for impact. Finally, what would appear to be fairer in terms of assigning credit using fractional counting may in fact bias an analysis against papers resulting from teamwork, since some fields, such as mathematics, typically exhibit a very low average number of authors in comparison to, say, biomedical fields. Fractionating credit may undercount contributions from team members and overcount contributions in fields that typically show many single-author publications.

I believe I have a method that produces a result more consistent with the scientific community’s perception of top researchers in a field. Would you take into account my feedback?

We would appreciate your feedback! Please contact us at Tech Support.

I want to talk to someone at Thomson Reuters in detail about the methods used to generate this new list. How may I do so?

Thank you for your interest in our work. We’d be glad to communicate with you. Please contact us at Tech Support.

How do I access the 2014 and 2001 lists of Highly Cited Researchers?

These lists are available as excel files in the archives section of

I am a Highly Cited Researcher from a prior list (e.g. 2001 or 2014). How do I update my primary or secondary affiliation to show my current position?

At this time we are no longer updating information present in prior lists.