Three SA academics among most cited academics in the world Three SA academics among most cited academics in the world
Three Stellenbosch University academics have been named Highly Cited Researchers, according to the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list from the Web of Science Group,... Three SA academics among most cited academics in the world

Three Stellenbosch University academics have been named Highly Cited Researchers, according to the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list from the Web of Science Group, released earlier this week.

Professors Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs (Cross-Field), Linus Opara (Agricultural Sciences) and Dave Richardson (Environment and Ecology) are among the world’s most-cited researchers. 

Biggs is the incumbent of the DSI/NRF Research Chair in Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience; Opara of the DSI-NRF South African Research Chair in Po​stharvest Technology, while Richardson is the Director of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology and Professor in the Department of Botany and Zoology.

The highly anticipated list identifies scientists and social scientists who produced multiple papers ranking in the top 1% by citations for their field and year of publication, demonstrating significant research influence among their peers.

The methodology that determines the who’s who of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts from the Institute for Scientific Information at the Web of Science Group.

“Stellenbosch University is extremely proud of these three prolific researchers,” states Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies. “It is not only proof of our academics increasingly receiving recognition from their peers globally, but also indicative of the University – in line with is vision – being globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, amongst others.”

The data are taken from 21 broad research fields within Essential Science Indicators, a component of InCites. The fields are defined by sets of journals and exceptionally, in the case of multidisciplinary journals such as Nature and Science, by a paper-by-paper assignment to a field based on an analysis of the cited references in the papers. This percentile-based selection method removes the citation advantage of older papers relative to recently published ones since papers are weighed against others in the same annual cohort. 

David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information said: “Recognition and support of these exceptional researchers represents an important activity for a nation or an institution’s plans for efficient and accelerated advancement. The Highly Cited Researchers list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that contributes disproportionately to extending the frontiers of knowledge. These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.”

The full 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found here, and the methodology can be found here.

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