Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! 2018-7: Researchers, Subjects, and Regional Rankings

  • Who has the most Highly Cited (Top 1%) papers in the world?
  • Which Asian university is in the top ten of a THE subject ranking?
  • Which university that was top 10 in Asia last year is not even top 20 this year?

(Answers in red below)

(1 December 2018) This really is the last News Flash! of the year.  Clarivate Analytics announced its new list of Highly Cited Researchers, with more researchers than last year and a change in methodology.  Times Higher Education finished rolling out its 2019 subject rankings and we have gone back to review the QS regional rankings that we missed.

Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers

Ruth’s Rankings 34 introduced the list of 3,400 highly cited authors based on Web of Science and Essential Science Indicators (ESI) data.

This year’s list identified 4,058 researchers across the 21 ESI fields and added a new category of 2000 researchers in “cross fields”.  The U.S. and U.K. continue to lead with the number of researchers and China has risen to number three and Australia to number five.

There is no ranking. Inclusion is based on the date of the citations over the past 11 years, from 2006 to 2016, and by field. The researchers are listed alphabetically.  Table 1, Highly Cited Researchers in Australia in Agricultural Sciences, is an example of filtering by subject, resorting and copying into a spreadsheet. Those who have access to Incites can search by time frame, ESI category, and location to find out who is really number one.  From Table 1, Richardson is number one with 10 highly cited articles while the top researcher in Clinical Medicine has over 50.


An added feature is links to the researchers’ identifiers in Publons, Research-ID (CA), ORCID and the researcher’s institutional home page, as shown in Example 1.

Key findings and Methodology and available online and readers interested in more in-depth information can download the Executive Summary.

Times Higher Education Subject Rankings

THE just completed the roll out of its 2019 subject rankings.  We reported the first four,  Business and economics, Education,  Law, ; and Social Sciences, in News Flash!  2018-6.  The methodology is presented for each category.

Here are the rest:

  • Arts & Humanities- (506); Stanford number one, MIT number two; Peking, 23
  • Psychology – (463):  Stanford number one; Melbourne 37; U Tokyo 46
  • Clinical …. health- (721):  Oxford number one, Melbourne number nine, NUS 26 with U Tokyo (34 overall) 11 in research
  • Physical Sciences (963): Princeton number one; NUS 18
  • Psychology (463):  Stanford number one; Melbourne 37, U Tokyo 46
  • Life sciences (751):  Harvard number one, Tsinghua number 10
  • Computer science (684):  Oxford number one; NUS 15
  • Engineering & technology (903): Oxford is number one; NUS is eight

Engineering and technology is one field with sub-categories.

Only NUS is in the top ten in THE’s Engineering rankings while four Asian universities are top ten in Engineering and Technology in QS.  Four are also in the top ten in U.S.News Global with Tsinghua as number one in the world.  In the NTU Performance rankings with emphasis on scholarly papers, eight of the top ten Engineering universities are from Asia, again with Tsinghua as number one.

Even with modified methodology, the top universities in THE’s subject rankings mirror the top universities overall.

QS’s Asia and other regional rankings

We missed the QS 2019 regional ranking published at the end of October.  Asia includes countries in South Asia and East Asia. The number of institutions increased from 400 to 499.  National University of Singapore regained the number one position and NTU slipped back to number 3.  The University of Hong Kong rose to number two. City University dropped from eight to 21. See Table 2 for the top 10 universities in Asia for 2019 and 2018.


BRICS (400) are led by China with seven universities in the top 10 and a total of 112. Russia is second with 101 universities followed by Brazil with 90, India with 84 and South Africa with 13.  Tsinghua is number one.

The Arab Region (122) has 22 universities from Saudi Arabia with three in the top 10 and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals at number one.  One Syrian university is included and four from Palestinian Territory, Occupied.  50 universities have academic and employee reputation scores.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia (301) includes Russia and former Soviet Union countries.  In this ranking, Russia has 87 universities.

Latin America (391) includes 6 universities from Cuba and 6 from El Salvador. The World Ranking has one Cuban university and none from El Salvador.

Unlike some other regional rankings, there is a value add in the QS rankings, which includes universities that did not qualify for its world rankings.  I am still concerned by the high value (50%) placed on reputation rankings.

The next Ruth’s Rankings, scheduled for the beginning of 2019, will feature the ASEAN region.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou

Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! is written by Ruth A. Pagell, emeritus faculty librarian at Emory University.  After working at Emory, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University and then adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii.  She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to ACCESS –